Former Flint resident and film director Michael Moore tried to play celebrity peacemaker Wednesday by merely calling for Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrest in the Flint water crisis instead of singer and actress Cher’s suggestion of execution by a firing squad.
Moore started a petition on his website to call for the arrest of the Republican governor on charges of corruption and assault. He described the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s slow action on the issue “premeditated” without providing any evidence.
Flint residents have been plagued by water issues since April 2014, when they began receiving drinking water drawn from the Flint River. Immediate concerns over odd tastes, smells and coloring gave way to more serious worries late this summer when rising levels of lead were detected in the blood of many of the city’s children.
“Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan,” Moore writes in an open letter to Snyder. “And for that, you have to go to jail.
“To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven't figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.”
Snyder’s spokesman David Murray said the fiery rhetoric doesn’t help the situation.
“It’s disappointing to see such inflammatory comments at a time when the administration is working very closely with our partners in Flint and Genesee County to address health and safety issues,” Murray said. “The state is committed to making sure Flint residents have clean, safe water.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit started an investigation into Flint’s contaminated water in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Flint’s Democratic lawmakers have criticized Snyder’s response to the crisis but have not suggested a crime was committed.
Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint Tuesday and apologized last week for the bungled environmental oversight of the city’s water after his appointed task force held the state Department of Environmental Quality “primarily responsible” for failing to ensure safe drinking water in Flint. It blamed the DEQ’s passive culture and led to the resignation of its director, Dan Wyant.
Actress and singer Cher responded to Snyder’s emergency declaration Tuesday by calling him a “murderer” and declaring in a hashtag: “#FIRINGSQUADWORKSFORME”
Moore was slightly more charitable.
“You have destroyed a generation of children — and for that, you must pay,” Moore wrote toward the end of his website letter to Snyder, former chairman and CEO of Gateway Inc.
“It is time for you to go to prison. Out of mercy, I’ll ask that you have in your cell your own personal Gateway computer.”