The water in Flint, Michigan is still poisoned with toxic levels of lead, and has been since April 2014 following the local government’s decision to change the water supply. It took the country years to care or even notice, and criminal charges against the involved officials were only filed in 2016 (none of the cases have yet gone to court.) The government of Michigan has claimed ‘official immunity’ to deter lawsuits, despite its gross negligence. In early December 2016 Congress approved a $170 million spending bill to repair and upgrade Flint’s water system and help with healthcare costs. But many public health experts estimate the true cost of fixing the system and its resulting fallout will be much, much higher.
Up to 12,000 children have had consistent exposure to Flint’s water and the detrimental effects — including slowed growth, lower IQ and learning problems — will last a lifetime.
And yet, Lifetime has opted to cash in on the tragedy with a film starring… Cher. Variety reports that the network’s plan has been in the works at least since last Spring.
“In addition to starring, Cher will also serve as executive producer with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, and Katie Couric, who are all producing. Bruce Beresford will direct, and Barbara Stepansky is writing. The telepic — which was first announced last spring — has not been officially greenlit yet, but is expected to begin production this spring, according to Deadline, which first broke news of Cher’s casting. Sony Television is the studio.
Unlike other Lifetime TV movies, the project is expected to be a hard-hitting fact-based drama. It will explore the events that led to the toxic crime and will shed light on politics of the poor management and the human element of residents who suffered and were ignored. Cher will play a local Flint resident whose family is impacted by the water crisis.”
For the record, Flint’s racial makeup is 57% African American and 37% white.
Many Black Americans on Twitter were incredulous as we are, questioning why Lifetime would seek to cash in on a tragedy that is still ongoing, and cast a white woman in the lead to depict a crisis that has disproportionately affected black lives.
but where the hell is the clean water though
— Asha (@asha7777) January 6, 2017
so y’all gonna waste money to film this movie.….when Flint still doesn’t have water.….instead of using the money to dona- pic.twitter.com/REUUeKUlVh
— keisha | #BetoForTexas (@SOYKElSHA) January 6, 2017
the Flint water crisis that’s still happening or.…..?
— Melissa Lynnette (@MelissaLynnette) January 6, 2017
— Marisa (@marisa_maeee) January 6, 2017
.… WYD ???
— 💱PsychoSloth💱 (@Triple_Claw) January 6, 2017
instead of making a damn movie about it, how about taking the production $$ and FIXING IT
— TheFloof (@omgwtfbrb1min) January 6, 2017
so you’re making a movie while the people of Flint STILL don’t have water.
— mom (@Mayyy_co) January 6, 2017
White People: Instead of actually helping, we should make a movie. pic.twitter.com/e6Agd3VOz5
— jonathan (@iamjonatao) January 6, 2017
— 🎀🎀 (@QueenBlaqu) January 6, 2017
Even non-blacks chimed in to express confusion.
got to love the US. No actual clean water for the residents of flint, but a movie is out.…
— CMDR Damo (@dcb72) January 6, 2017
US in a nutshell. Great at movies, not so great at welfare of the people.
— Zug-man (@zugerd) January 6, 2017
don’t you need an ending to the crisis for a complete movie? There’s the motivation to fix it!
— John Phillips (@MrJan25) January 6, 2017