Arena Cinema in Hollywood is an independent theater, which advertises itself as ‘showcasing the best in Independent Film’, and screening ‘these hard-to-find indie gems you search for and yearn to see that aren’t getting the big screen love anywhere else’… great! But wait a minute! On Wednesday night, I visited their website and saw they had programmed three screenings of ‘Soaked In Bleach’, on Friday and Saturday, and I was determined to attend one on Friday. But the controversial movie, directed by Benjamin Statler and reporting about Kurt Cobain’s death through the eyes of private detective Tom Grant was probably too hot to handle for Hollywood, when I went back to their page on Thursday, the screenings had disappeared.
I checked a few conversations online and I discovered that a few people had encountered the same problem elsewhere in the US.
‘Tom, our theatre alerted us that Courtney’s attorneys are trying to stop the showing of this film. They said they fear it won’t be shown again this weekend,’ wrote someone, ‘Before we even got to watch it though, a man entered the theater and told us that Courtney had put out a Cease and Desist order in and her lawyer had been in touch with the theater. They played the film anyway! Many of the people in the theater walked out looking stunned’, wrote another person, ‘I’m in Tulsa. I actually just found out that our theater here, that showed the film, is, so far, the only one who DID NOT receive the order. They are still gonna show it through Saturday. But a lot of other places have received the Cease and Desist order from her Lawyer’, replied another woman.
Circle Cinema, a theater in Oklahoma even wrote this on its Facebook page: ‘Apparently several theatres showing SOAKED IN BLEACH have received cease and desist letters from Courtney Love’s attorney. Good news, we haven’t. See you at the shows!’…
May be Courtney does not care about Oklahoma that much but visibly it is happening in many places and I wanted to be sure it was also the case in Hollywood so I decided to call the theater. A guy picked up the phone and he visibly didn’t want to answer my question about the movie, he just told me he couldn’t speak about it. Then I asked him ‘did you receive threats?’ and he replied ‘we are not allowed to discuss it’.
This is unbelievable! I have no doubt Courtney Love is a very powerful person, and this scandalous event proves it one more time, but what does she want to accomplish at the end? The more you censor a movie, the more it becomes interesting and intriguing, and I am even more eager to see it now. Plus does she think she can stop the truth to come out because she has managed to cancel a few screenings? The movie is available worldwide on Vimeo on demand, and she can’t stop this, can she? Does Courtney Love know she looks terribly bad now? It looks like damage control to me, and I wonder why she attacks theaters and does not sue Statler or Grant? But may be she can’t because she knows that they are telling the truth and she would lose? I will watch ‘Soaked in Bleach’ at home, Courtney doesn’t own the internet yet.
An update: Tom Grant just confirmed the story:
‘As many of you have already assumed, it’s true. Courtney’s lawyers had legally threatened the owners of each and every theater that had advertised they would be screening “Soaked In Bleach.”
Unfortunately, the threat worked on one of the theaters. Did you get that? Just ONE of the theaters. All of the other theaters that were scheduled for screening read the threatening letter then moved ahead.
I support and stand behind the theaters that are screening or are going to be screening “Soaked in Bleach.” I view this as the support of “Freedom of Speech.” Watch the film, then YOU decide..
You see, there are many business people in this world who CANNOT be intimidated. I’m sure they are now very happy they didn’t fold. I would like to express my gratitude and admiration for the courage they have displayed as an example to the rest of us all.
As you can see and read from posts online, “Soaked in Bleach” was a HUGE success at each theater where it was screened so far.
I mentioned earlier that I was at the Crestwood Theater in Westwood Village last night with Benjamin Statler, Sarah Scott and August Emerson. As the film concluded, the audience reaction was overwhelming. The ovation was not anticipated, and a second round began as the credits started rolling!
We went there with the expectation of possible heckling or other disturbances. It turned out to be just the opposite. Along with so many others who wanted to express their appreciation after the film, I had one young lady come up to me to talk, but she could not stop apologizing. She told me she had been a huge fan of Courtney’s. She added that she had sent me several sarcastic comments on Facebook and other social media, using several different account names. After watching MOH and now “Soaked in Bleach,” she felt and acted ashamed as she apologized to me.
I assured this very sweet young lady, “It’s ok. This has been happening for years. We know that people who have never really seen the facts normally react like you did. You don’t need to feel bad at all. It’s no big deal.”
That didn’t seem to help her much. She still apologized several times. It was a moment that will remain etched in my mind. It was more than a text message—it was a human being standing in front of me face-to-face, saying things that were so meaningful and powerful, even though she didn’t need to say anything.
“Soaked in Bleach” may have made an impact on this young woman, but she certainly made an impact on me!
Unfortunately for me, it seems that the threat worked on the theater where I was planning to see the movie! May be it is because she has more connection in Hollywood? Who knows? But I salute all the other theaters which went on with the screenings.