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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

JFK Jr. Meets Oliver Stone

I'm glad he walked out, but why on earth did he go?

San Francisco Chronicle, April 8, 2002

The challenge for John was even more difficult. Could he promote George even when it meant compromising his sense of dignity, his feel for what was appropriate and what wasn’t? A case in point: That fall Michael Berman decided that John should interview Chelsea Clinton. One presidential kid talking to another—a surefire crowd pleaser. But John flatly refused. Hillary Clinton had once asked his mother for advice on raising a child in the White House, John explained. His mother’s response: Never let Chelsea talk to the press. And now Michael wanted John to defy his mother’s wishes? Not a chance.

Then there was the Oliver Stone fiasco. Our second issue would hit the stands in November, just before Stone’s film Nixon opened. An established director making a movie about a political legend, Stone was a natural George story. Not to mention that he had directed the conspiracy—theory film on the assassination of John’s father. Eric wanted John to interview Stone so badly he was practically hopping up and down. For the first time, John would publicly discuss the conspiracy theories swirling around his father’s death. What editor wouldn’t kill to publish that?

But there was one problem: John didn’t want to do it. He had made a conscious decision not to live his life haunted by his father’s assassination, trying to answer un-answerable questions. He’d never even seen JFK. On the other hand, John recognized that this story was manna from heaven for George, and in those early days he was bending over backward to try to do what we, the ostensible pros, thought he should do. In the end, against his better judgment, he agreed to interview Oliver Stone, but he refused to do it alone.

So he and Michael flew to L.A. for a get-to-know-you dinner at Rockenwagner, a res-taurant in Santa Monica. They agreed that if John was uncomfortable at any point in the conversation he would get up and go to the rest room. Things did not go well. As they started their main course, Stone asked John’s opinion of the second-gunman theory. What did John think? Lee Harvey Oswald couldn’t really have killed John’s father alone, could he? Shot him from that far away, then shot him again? There had to have been a conspiracy.

John excused himself, stood up, and walked away. As planned, Michael changed the subject. After John returned, dinner ended as soon as they could politely bring it to a close.

Back in New York, we met in John’s office and tried to come up with a replacement interview fast. John apologized to Eric, who could not mask his disappointment, but refused to contact Stone again. As John spoke, conflicting emotions flickered across his face, revealing his distaste for Stone, his guilt over letting us down, and his self-recrimination for doing something he didn’t feel comfortable with. He shuddered as he said, “I just couldn’t sit across a table from that man for two hours. I just - couldn’t.”

Previous Blog Posts on Oliver Stone's Politics

Relevant Links on Oliver Stone's Politics

Over the past several months, I have shown in multiple blog posts how Oliver Stone's documentary series, JFK Revisited and JFK: Destiny Betrayed, misleads viewers. In fact, despite months of work, there are still many more misleading segments that need to be addressed. It's no wonder that the fact checkers of Netflix nixed the airing of the films.

There is a choice between four hours of tendentious nonsense (JFK: Destiny Betrayed) and two hours (JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass). As a handy guide for viewers, here are all those posts in order of their appearance in JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, preceded by some general critiques.


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