Michael Moore appeared on Real Time With Bill Maher Friday to slam the Michigan government, especially Governor Rick Snyder, for their handling of the Flint water crisis. “This was a hate crime,” the Flint-born filmmaker said. “This was a hate crime based on the race hatred of this particular party.”
“This is not a lead issue, this is not even an infrastructure issue,” Moore continued. “This was a decision made by a Republican governor to give the rich in Michigan a billion dollar tax break, and when they had a billion less dollars budget it was like ‘What are we going to do? We got to cut back on services. Anybody got any ideas? Yeah, let’s take Flint off the drinking water from the Great Lakes and make them drink from the Flint River, so we can save money.”
Moore went on to accuse politicians of covering up that Flint’s water wasn’t safe to drink. “Within a few months they realized they were poisoning people and the word came down, ‘Don’t say anything. Doctor the books.’ And they let people continue to drink this water and did nothing about it,” Moore said. “And I think that’s a crime; they did it because it’s a black city, it’s a poor city, they wouldn’t do this to Bloomfield Hills or Ann Arbor or Grosse Pointe.”
Maher countered that similar disasters have occurred in predominately white cities, but Moore noted that in those cases, local government moved quickly to remedy the problem; in the case of Flint, nine months passed while state politicians were “hoping nobody would pay any attention because these are just a bunch of black people, poor people, they have no lobbyists, they have no money in this.”
Moore wasn’t just critical of Republicans: He said it was “shameful” that President Barack Obama came to Flint and took a much publicized drink of Flint tap water, a stunt that Moore says deflected attention from the crisis.
In the Overtime portion of the episode, Maher also asked Moore whether he’d be open to making a film about the media’s role in swaying election results as well as the future of documentaries in general.
Moore then revealed that he and Maher are working on – but can’t get made – a secret project called The Kings of Atheism, a riff on the Kings of Comedy films where Maher and three other comedians – Maher mentioned Sarah Silverman, Ricky Gervais and Seth McFarlane – would bring their anti-religion routines to Bible Belt venues. Moore is on board to direct the film, if it ever gets made.