Ashamedly, this had escaped my attention. I had planned to keep up with Johns troubles, but it had slipped my mind until a friend showed me this Facebook Page created by some French fans of his. It’s happening this week. They’ve taken Big John to the Gulag. For one full fucking year. And y’know, for me this shit won’t stand. Aside from being my favourite film maker, John is also a fellow Irishman and was a supporter of the Nationalist people during the conflict in Northern Ireland. I really admire this principled, intelligent and incredibly talented man. It’s no longer a case of just pining for his movies and lamenting the void left since this shit started. Or a case of petitioning for some sequel. The man is going to fucking jail.
John suspected foul play and sabotage by producer Charles Roven, during the filming of Rollerball, so he hired a P.I. used by many stars including Courtney Love, Kevin Costner and Tom Cruise. When John took a phonecall enquiring as to whether or not the P.I. may have been involved in criminal activity, he suspected the call was a fishing journalist trying to nail a story. It was, in fact, the FBI. You might call that entrapment. Or guilt by association. Tom Cruise, associate of the investigator walks free. So does Kevin Costner, who actually sexually accosted a woman in Scotland. An even better example – child rapist Roman Polanski can live the high life in Europe, as a free man? And yet Mr. McTiernan has his life dragged through the sewer over nothing?! Gail McTiernan puts it best: “The Federal Government has now imprisoned a man, with no prior criminal record, for saying a single false word on the phone (the answer of “yep”) to a stranger’s voice he could not have possibly known or verified was law enforcement.”
And so, the war for Mr. McTiernan’s dignity begins.
As a start, anyone reading is encouraged to head on over to this Facebook Movement. This isn’t one of those useless online petitions. It has a following of over 5,000 (so far) and indirect contact with John McTiernan himself through his wife, Gail, who offers updates whenever possible. It has also attracted support from some big stars. Including acknowledgement from Samuel L. Jackson on Twitter. The latest names to offer support.
Robert Davi joins, and sends an impassioned message of support.
Dear friends , I have always been outspoken when it comes to certain things not particularly in step with Hollywood mainstream. So this may be no different but I wish to opine!! As you may know I was a character in the first Die Hard. It is during that experince I had met and worked with John McTiernan. Then subsequently he asked me to play a role in Hunt for Red October but I was unavailable at the time. We had met over the years at a few functions but never “hung out”. I say this because my wanting to speak out is not a friend supporting someone out of loyality. No, that is not my motivation . My motivation stems from several things. First , it seems to me that he has already suffered enough in regards to the offense. We live in a time when corrupt politicians , rapist, thieves, drugdealers , business tycoons,murderers and a host of other criminals seem to get away with a lot less. It is almost ABSURD that this has been taken to the lengths it has . Secondly, , I do not hear the outpouring of support from Hollywood. Where are the voices of support ? I mean, was’nt there a HUGE OUTCRY for Roman Polanski ??!! and is THIS not a LOT less “controversial “? This kind of thing “wiretaping” has gone on for a long time in all kinds of business,politics and personal life . I am not condoning it but it is a fact. The Government has used illegal wiretaps for petesake and if we knew how many times it would be shocking., well maybe not. Could it have been that JM was in fear of his life had he spoken up ? OR threatened ? and even if it is not the case ,,, there are so MANY spiney threads of deception in LALA land it boggles the MIND. Could one possibly be afraid of being Blacklisted ? OF COURSE ,, it has and still does occur!!! I have seen this for 40 years in this town the BIG FISH eat the little fish ! The ups and downs of
Robert Davi (Big Johnson).
Alec Baldwin joins. Sends message of support.
“Aside from being an extraordinarily gifted film director, John McTiernan is an admired industry colleague who has overseen films that have employed thousands of motion picture professionals.
What is happening to John is wrong. His sentence is a travesty. And I encourage everyone who reads this to e-mail your reps in Congress to ask that John be set free.
And the latest. A message from behind the fence, from the McTiernan family itself.
Dearest Friends of Free John McTiernan:
It is with much sadness that I tell you, as you know, that my husband self surrendered and gave up his seven year battle to keep his freedom. It was a day of high emotion, especially on my part. I promised him that I would not stop fighting this injustice and would get him home as soon as I can. While his fight may be over for now, mine has truly just begun.
The Federal Government has now imprisoned a man, with no prior criminal record, for saying a single false word on the phone (the answer of “yep”) to a stranger’s voice he could not have possibly known or verified was law enforcement. Given the years of calls from fans or journalists, sometimes parading as some form of law enforcement, the responses to the caller that evening at dinner, were a courteous gesture. Everyone presumes the FBI comes to your door, black suits, badges showing. The FBI Manual certainly says the credentials must be shown so the person knows to whom they are speaking. But that didn’t happen this time. Not giving the call another thought, John was shocked when two weeks later that phone call resulted in a federal felony charge. He pled guilty upon advice of counsel and later withdrew the guilty plea when he realized he had a defense to the false statement charge. The Court denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with McTiernan. After the win, the Government quadrupled the charges and took away his chance for a fair trial. He filed a conditional guilty plea and then appealed again to the Ninth but a panel of a different political ilk sided with the Government. His request to be heard by the United States Supreme Court was denied.
He’s since filed a habeas motion as it has been discovered that the alleged wiretap of Charles Roven (co-producer on Rollerball) never occurred, that Atlas (a Roven company) was a client of Pellicano, and that Pellicano former employees have never seen the alleged summaries of wiretapped calls. In addition, the hard drive given to defense attorneys that was to prove where evidence against John came from was in such a condition that the defense expert witness concluded “recovery…and verification of any content would be impossible.” The “summary of wiretapped calls evidence” against McTiernan has never to this day been delivered to our defense lawyers . The pending habeas petition could have been decided before he ever set foot near a federal prison as his sentence is questioned by the newly discovered information. The Government has stalled his case with years of delays in filings, and filed their reply to the habeas just two days ago; a month late. That month was crucial to him and would have given time for his lawyers to file a response. Now with John in custody, the delays as a tactical strategy are sure to continue.
It is not okay to treat people in this manner. Many will say that he treated Chuck Roven badly. Well, actually, no. His film, and it’s crew were in peril. As director, his job was to protect the people and the project. In a moment of bad judgement, he sought whatever information he could find. He also fired the guy when he realized he was talking of nonsense. His learned nothing, and no one was harmed. It’s much like arresting the naive guy for buying oregano when he thought he was buying marijuana. Do you still send him to prison?
I am grateful that the judge called today to ensure his health issues would be addressed. I am hopeful in the coming weeks she will put her blindfold back on and listen to the merits of John’s case. The path is bound to be rocky and I ask for your continued support and good thoughts.
We appreciate all of the tremendous support his fans and colleagues have shown. To see so many artists offer their support has been very touching. That the true chain of events is coming out is most welcome. This last month has been a very hard one. This Facebook page has been a source of smiles throughout this month….our hardest yet. We are so touched by the wonderful words, videos, artwork, and support. It is truly a shining example of humanity in a world where caring for one another is becoming a lost art.
When I told McT that his French fans had started a fantastic support page, he smiled and asked, “The French?” and I responded “Yes, really.” He grinned and said in his sexiest French accent, “But of course!” Then quietly added, “They’re wonderful aren’t they?” “Yes my love, but of course,” was my reply.
Vive la France! I hope we are back soon!
And so, the war against this injustice has only just begun. Like the Facebook Page. Spread it anywhere and everywhere. This is a simple matter of publicity and exposure. A lot of people have forgotten about McTiernan, less still know of his troubles and injustices. Updates to follow. The next step? Possibly finding a mail address, so that people can find out how to contact this legend if they want to send a letter of support. One final positive note, the FJMC movement offers this update;
Exclusive news from Free John Mctiernan! The director isn’t giving up hope of getting