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Screenwriter: Don’t Donate To Dems

August 29, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In an open letter to Hollywood, ``Basic Instinct″ screenwriter Joe Eszterhas urged colleagues to withhold donations to the Democratic Party until ``veiled threats″ of censorship are clarified.

Eszterhas wrote Tuesday in his full-page Daily Variety letter that he ``likes pushing the envelope and Joe Lieberman frightens me.″ He was referring to the vice presidential candidate’s efforts against what critics consider excessive sex and violence in movies and television shows.

``Let’s make Joe Lieberman accountable for his rhetoric,″ Eszterhas wrote. ``Not a penny more until he ‘clarifies’ his positions to the satisfaction of our creative freedom. Let’s not let him dodge the issue.″

Gore spokesman Douglas Hattaway said Gore and Lieberman ``are not advocating censorship, and all they have proposed is voluntary guidelines for the industry and tools for parents such as the V-chip.″

Lieberman spokeswoman Kiki McLean said, ``When an industry puts out quality product he’s there to praise it, but when there are products that are not necessarily good for our kids and our families, he’s not going to be shy to challenge the industry. He’s somebody who believes strongly in the First Amendment and has always had an open dialogue about what we can do voluntarily to help our families do better.″

Lieberman himself, in a speech Tuesday to a union gathering in Anaheim, repeated a phrase he often uses, that no parents ``should be forced to compete with popular culture to raise their children.″

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