The toast was brief and bittersweet: ‘To Andrew!”
Friends and fans of the late Andrew Breitbart — conservative blogger, provocateur, jester, Tea Party hero — gathered in Georgetown Monday for the Washington premiere of “Hating Breitbart,” a new documentary about the Internet media phenom.
“They called him a racist, they called him a sexist, they called him a bigot, they called him a homophobe,” director Andrew Marcus told the audience. “Andrew’s response to this was not a civil response. . . His response was, ‘f--- you.’” The crowd burst into applause.
The filmmaker met Breitbart in 2009 while filming Tea Party protests around the country. Marcus was fascinated by Breitbart’s ability to connect with the crowds and pitched a documentary — a cross between U2’s “Rattle and Hum” and “This Is Spinal Tap,” in his mind. “You’re a rock star who doesn’t take himself too seriously,” he recalls telling Breitbart. The two spent more than two years criss-crossing the country together until Breitbart’s sudden death from a heart attack in March. He was 43.
“I think it’s an important story about the effect that one person can have in a very short period of time to change the way an entire culture looks at something like the media,” said Larry Solov, president of Breitbart News Network and Andrew’s lifelong best friend. “And, frankly, the media was more interesting, in most ways, to Andrew than politics.”
Breitbart insisted that liberals controlled the establishment media outlets, so he declared war using the Internet as his battleground. The film includes his promotion of James O’Keefe’s anti-ACORN sting, his Shirley Sherrod smear and his one acknowledged journalistic scoop: Publishing Rep. Anthony Weiner’s lewd pictures, which resulted in the congressman’s resignation. Only one area was off- limit to the filmmakers: Breitbart’s wife and kids.
The documentary was originally scheduled to open Friday in a limited national release, but producers delayed it one week while appealing the Motion Picture Association of America’s “R” rating for the many f-bombs on screen. (A MPAA rep told us the appeal is subject to the release date and rules of the ratings system.)
Marcus told us that Breitbart saw a copy of the film about two months before he died. His death “changes the impact and the meaning,” of the film but not the narrative: “Andrew’s story was about the war he engaged in, and I felt really compelled to get that out.”
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