Michael & Us

February 01, 2005 2 min read

Davison High School in Davison, Mich., has called off this year’s induction into its Hall of Fame, after a campaign to nominate the left-leaning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore became controversial in the community.

Mr. Moore was nominated for his former high school’s Hall of Fame for the fifth time. But rather than entertain that possibility, the selection committee canceled the contest this month.

Mr. Moore directed the 1989 film “Roger & Me,” about General Motors’ withdrawal from the city of Flint, Mich., and last year’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which evoked strong reactions, pro and con, with its harshly critical portrayal of President Bush. He won an Oscar for the 2002 documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” which examines gun violence in the United States.

Director Michael Moore

“Would you want him as a role model? Would you want your son or daughter to be like him?” committee member Don Hammond said of the director. “The word to describe Michael Moore is embarrassing.”

But Ryan Eashoo, a 1997 graduate of Davison High who is campaigning with fellow fans to get Mr. Moore nominated, says the selection committee blacklisted the filmmaker.

“We don’t appreciate his being disenfranchised before he’s nominated,” said Mr. Eashoo.

“This was supposed to be a positive thing for the Davison community, and it has become controversial,” Marilyn Minto, the chairwoman of the selection committee, said in a statement. “It’s not the intent of the Hall of Fame to create a divided community.”

Mr. Eashoo, 25, set up a Web site to get more signatures for the petition to nominate Mr. Moore, who graduated from Davison High in 1973. Mr. Eashoo has spent $600 and 80 hours on the campaign, he says.

So far, Mr. Eashoo has collected 1,200 signatures and still hopes to reach his goal of 2,000 by the Feb. 1 nomination deadline originally set for this year’s award. The committee does not know if it will entertain future nominations to the Hall of Fame.

Mr. Eashoo wants to nominate Mr. Moore because “the guy’s a voice to people who don’t have a voice,” he said. “For the most part, probably 85 percent of the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The committee almost inducted the filmmaker last year, on the condition that his family would accept the award, which it would not agree to. The group didn’t want Mr. Moore to attend a ceremonial dinner, worried about what he might say or do, Mr. Eashoo said. “They think they’ll lose a lot of their right-wing funding,” Mr. Eashoo said.

A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2005 edition of Education Week