Producer says powerful people tried to nix Chappaquiddick flick
So the producer of the new film about Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal says some “very powerful people” tried to kill his movie.
What a surprise – NOT!
“Unfortunately,” Byron Allen told Variety last week, “very powerful people tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie. They went out of their way to try and influence me in a negative way.”
Byron Allen is a TV comedian from the 80’s who has become a successful Hollywood mogul. He just bought what’s left of The Weather Channel for $300 million. By the way, he’s also black, so you would think that alone would endear him more than somewhat to the Kennedys, given their commitment to racial justice, which is quite exaggerated by the way.
But Byron Allen gets cut no slack, because he dared to tell the real story of how Ted Kennedy, driving drunk, killed a young woman in 1969 by drinking off a bridge on Martha’s Vineyard. Among the crimes Teddy could have been, but wasn’t charged with, include manslaughter, drunk driving, vehicular homicide and driving without a license. Instead, he was allowed to plead guilty to a single count of leaving the scene of an accident.
There was no autopsy, for obvious reasons. A few months after her death, the Kennedys blocked the exhumation of Mary Jo Kopechne’s body. A decade later, the National Enquirer bought a story from a Washington Post columnist alleging that Mary Jo was pregnant at the time Ted Kennedy killed her.
That story was told in a book by an heir to the supermarket tabloid. The Enquirer story itself has never been printed, but it is on the public record that Mary Jo was drunk at the time of her death, and was not wearing underwear.
Kopechne was, as producer Allen told Variety, “one of the original #MeToo victims.”
As were, I would add, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Mimi Alford, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Pam Kelley, the blue-dot Au Bar woman and a whole host of other females who consorted, in one way or another, with the Kennedy men.
The new movie comes out Friday, and I assume Allen will be making the media rounds this coming week. I’m trying to book him on my radio show, and I want to ask him about the identity of those “very powerful people.”
The number-one suspect has to be former Sen. Chris Dodd, Teddy’s old drinking buddy who went on to become CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Hollywood’s chief lobbying group.
Dodd, you may recall, was the other half of Teddy’s infamous “waitress sandwich” at La Brasserie restaurant in DC back in the 1980’s. But that wasn’t their only drunken adventure together.
According to the late Carrie Fisher, in 1985 she unwisely agreed to to go on a blind date with Dodd. After Dodd arrived, blind drunk, he was soon joined by an equally loaded Kennedy, who promptly asked Carrie if she would have sex with Dodd.
“No, that probably won’t happen,” she recalled her telling the crapulous solons. “Thanks for asking, though.”
Drunk as a skunk, Teddy wouldn’t take no for an answer. It’s a family tradition.
“Would you,” he asked Princess Leia, “have sex with Chris in a hot tub?”
She shook her head. “I’m no good in water.”
So you can understand why Dodd would want to protect the memory of his esteemed colleague.
Dodd retired from his $3.5-million job at the MPAA at the end of last year, but I emailed the group Friday and asked for an on-the-record comment from Dodd on whether or not he’d spoken to Allen about the embarrassing new film.
There was no response from Dodd or the MPAA.
Of course, killing negative media coverage of the family is nothing new. The family almost prevented the publication of the ultimate Chappaquiddick book by Leo Damore, “Senatorial Privilege,” (now reissued by Regnery under the title “Chappaquiddick, with a new foreword by me). They also tried mightily to stop “The Senator,” yet another embarrassing tome by a former aide to Fat Boy.
This is how they operate, or did. In the 1950’s, the Kennedys threatened to sue a columnist who said that the actual author of JFK’s “Profiles in Courage” was Ted Sorensen. (It was.) They assigned a shameless coatholder named Ben Bradlee to write that the rumors about JFK’s first marriage in 1947 were false. (They weren’t.) The old man Joe Kennedy bragged he bought the cover of Time magazine for his son JFK in 1957.
In 1985, the Kennedys spiked a 27-minute ABC News documentary about the unanswered questions surrounding the death of Marilyn Monroe, and the role that Bobby Kennedy played in her passing. One of the reporters on the story was Geraldo Rivera, and he ended up fired for insubordination. That’s how he ended up opening Al Capone’s vault – unemployment.
A decade later, on his own TV show, a Kennedy cousin explained to Rivera what had happened to his network career.
“Quite honestly,” Kerry Kennedy McCarthy, one of Joe’s nieces, told him, “you were a victim of the family…. The family had become used to hearing the truth about Jack – but when it was Bobby….”
But times have changed. Two weeks ago, Chris Kennedy finished third – third! – in the Democratic primary for governor of Illinois. He became the third of RFK’s children to lose a race for governor. The times they are a-changin’ – thank goodness.
And now this new movie about Teddy’s biggest scandal is about to come out. Producer Byron Allen will no doubt be making the TV rounds – at least on the networks that the Kennedys no longer control. One of which is the Fox News Channel.
Hey, Byron Allen, if Fox books you, I know you should request as your interviewer.