If you happened to catch the new documentary Al Franken: God Spoke at last spring’s Tribecca Film Fest, than you are among the privileged few who got to see a slightly different cut of the film with an extra scene in which the film’s subject, political satirist Al Franken, gets the better of conservative pundit Ann Coulter in a 2004 debate. Apparently, Coulter has refused to sign a release for the scene, forcing the producers to remove the scene from the film.
Al Franken: God Spoke premiered in New York City this week and will make its way across the country over the next two months. You can find more release information at the film’s website.
The scene in questions features a segment of a debate where the two were asked by the debate moderator which historical figure they would like to be. Coulter responded first, saying that she wished she could be Franklin Roosevelt, so she could prevent his New Deal economic recovery program. Franken reposted with the observation that he would have liked to been Hitler so he could have prevented a little thing called the Holocaust.
In an interview over at CHUD, Devin Feraci spoke to the film’s directors Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus, who confirmed that the scene was squelched by Coulter’s camp, though they accept some blame for the footage being initially included in the film.
“We went under the unthinking presumption that it was a public event and we could shoot it,” Doob told Faraci. “It was really, in fact, a miscommunication in our office. To use that footage we had to have permission from Ann Coulter.” The filmmakers have replaced the scene with one of Coulter and Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly discussing Franken.
The film’s distributors have asked critics not to mention the missing scene in their reviews. Of course, there’s nothing stopping the rest of us from writing about it and leaving you readers up to draw your own conclusions about Ann Coulter…