New White House 'Butler' Film Criticizes Reagan

Friday, 16 Aug 2013 09:28 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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A biographer of former President Ronald Reagan said some scenes in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" may amount to what he describes as "Hollywood malpractice" if they turn out to be based on anything other than facts.

Paul Kengor, who wrote two books about the late president: "The Crusader" and "God and Ronald Reagan," took particular issue with a scene in which Nancy Reagan invites White House butler Cecil Gaines and his wife to a dinner party only for the couple to feel out of place, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"The screenwriter and makers of this film better have some hard evidence for this," Kengor told the publication. "I hope they have at least some quotes somewhere from the butler saying he felt like a prop. If they don’t, then they should be ashamed of themselves. If they don’t, then this is Hollywood malpractice."

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Other biographers of the nation’s 40th president have also slammed the film, which opened widely on Friday and is based on the story of Eugene Allen, an African American who worked at the White House for more than three decades, from 1952-1986. He is named Gaines in the film, a role that is played by Forrest Whitaker.

Kengor also told the Reporter that the film appears to depict President Reagan as racially insensitive and indifferent to apartheid.

“Ronald Reagan was appalled by apartheid, but also wanted to ensure that if the apartheid regime collapsed in South Africa that it wasn’t replaced by a Marxist-totalitarian regime allied with Moscow and Cuba that would take the South African people down the same road as Ethiopia, Mozambique, and, yes, Cuba,” Kengor said. “Clearly, blacks in South Africa lost rights under apartheid, but Communism was a far greater infringement . . . In Communist nations, people were literally lined up and slaughtered — and starved — on mass scales. Has everyone forgotten this?”




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