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Thu May 22, 2014, 08:21 AM

Inside a Hollywood Hit Job: How James O’Keefe Tried and Tried to Sting His Latest Victim

Caitlin Dickson

Sting artist James O’Keefe says anti-fracking filmmaker Josh Fox is one of his latest victims. But Fox says his own secret tape reveals O’Keefe’s true methods.


On Wednesday, conservative activist and renegade filmmaker James O’Keefe made his Cannes Film Festival debut with a new, secretly recorded 20-minute video that he says exposes the hypocrisy of two environmentalist documentarians and two Hollywood actors. At the end of the clip, after Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Mariel Hemingway, and Ed Begley Jr. appear to have unwittingly agreed to accept financing for an anti-fracking film from Middle East oil interests, O’Keefe claims he’s caught other allegedly altruistic actors and filmmakers in his trap, teasing a clip of a phone conversation with filmmaker Josh Fox.

But this time, O’Keefe wasn’t the only one making secret recordings. Left a bit paranoid by years of vicious—and often surreptitious—attacks from the natural gas industry and its supporters following the premiere of his 2010 Oscar-nominated anti-fracking documentary, Gasland, and its 2012 sequel, Gasland II, Fox taped his interaction with one of O’Keefe’s minions and documented the elaborate lengths they went to entrap him.

It all started last December, when Fox began receiving emails from an unfamiliar group called Beacon International, claiming to represent overseas donors interested in funding his next anti-fracking film. Naturally, he was dubious. After scouring the Internet for information on the company and finding only a bare-bones website that “basically looked like a joke site put up overnight,” Fox concluded that the emails were a scam and decided to ignore them. But they kept coming. In early March, Fox returned to his Brooklyn apartment from out of town to discover about a dozen Beacon International business cards plastered to his front door and shoved in his mailbox. After much deliberation with fellow filmmakers Steven Tabakin and Margaret Whitton over whether to respond to these mysterious financiers, Fox decided to make a call. He asked Tabakin to be in the room with him, and he turned on his recorder.

“I should not be able to detect this,” Fox told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “The only reason I was able to detect this is because I’m used to it. Like, why am I recording phone calls? It’s crazy.”

Less than three months later, Fox’s paranoia would pay off.

more
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/22/inside-a-hollywood-hit-job-how-james-o-keefe-tried-and-tried-to-sting-his-latest-victim.html

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Reply Inside a Hollywood Hit Job: How James O’Keefe Tried and Tried to Sting His Latest Victim (Original post)
DonViejo May 2014 OP
djean111 May 2014 #1
TexasProgresive May 2014 #22
Trajan May 2014 #26
markpkessinger May 2014 #39
Octafish May 2014 #2
Enthusiast May 2014 #7
navarth May 2014 #12
JohnnyRingo May 2014 #23
Sheepshank May 2014 #34
bvar22 May 2014 #40
Jefferson23 May 2014 #3
marmar May 2014 #4
Scarsdale May 2014 #15
aquart May 2014 #30
DetlefK May 2014 #5
surrealAmerican May 2014 #20
Warpy May 2014 #29
maindawg May 2014 #6
Enthusiast May 2014 #8
LeftinOH May 2014 #9
Cleita May 2014 #11
aquart May 2014 #31
markpkessinger May 2014 #37
Cleita May 2014 #10
navarth May 2014 #13
JackInGreen May 2014 #16
starroute May 2014 #14
Scarsdale May 2014 #17
calimary May 2014 #41
starroute May 2014 #19
jberryhill May 2014 #33
blackspade May 2014 #18
Downwinder May 2014 #21
Xyzse May 2014 #24
KansDem May 2014 #25
MohRokTah May 2014 #28
markpkessinger May 2014 #38
MohRokTah May 2014 #27
dhill926 May 2014 #32
Sheepshank May 2014 #35
MinM May 2014 #36

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:32 AM

1. Yes, this was entrapment, but what, exactly, is wrong about using, say, an oil company's money to

 

make a film that is against oil? Seems like a good thing, to use their own money against them.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:04 AM

22. "Middle East oil interests"

It is conceivable that Mid Eastern oil producers would like to see the North American oil and gas boom from fracking shut down.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:55 AM

26. It's all about the money, eh?

 

So you don't mind doing business with your corporate overlords?

Sheesh ... way too cynical ...

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Thu May 22, 2014, 03:06 PM

39. In one sense, you are right . . .

. . . But I think what O'Keefe was trying to do was to imply any or all of the following:

  • that since the oil industry can be seen as a competitor of the natural gas industry, the acceptance of funding for a film from a party that has a financial stake in the fracking debate discredits any value the film might have from a standpoint of investigative journalism; and/or

  • that it is hypocritical for a filmmaker who purports to care about the environment to accept funding from a party with a financial stake in an industry that is itself an environmental hazard; and/or

  • that Fox is somehow on the side of keeping America dependent upon foreign energy, as opposed to energy independence, and therefore represents a viewpoint that is un-American or unpatriotic.


The thing is, but for O'Keefe's deception, there would be a degree of truth in the first two points above. It is always legitimate at least to question the motives and/or objectivity of a film that purports to be an exposé when the production of that film has been financed in any way by parties with a vested interest in the subject the film explores. Such financing doesn't necessarily negate the truth that the film presents, but it does cause the question to be asked, and quite legitimately so. That said, however, Fox's film didn't actually receive that financing, the party offering it was fictitious in any case, Fox did not actually to do anything other than meet to talk about the possibility of such funding for one or more of his projects, and thus it cannot be said that vested interests actually had any influence of the content of the film in question.

As to the point about hypocrisy, again it's all kind of moot since there was no agreement, and neither the party nor its funds actually existed. All it really proves is that, as documentary filmmakers, Fox and his wife are always pretty desperate for funding (as are virtually all documentary filmmakers), and thus were (indeed, by their own admission), a little too eager to bite when the bait was dangled in front of them. That doesn't actually prove they are hypocrites -- it proves they were desperate to fund their projects.

As for the third point above, the response should be, of what value is 'energy independence' if the cost of attaining it is to foul our water and despoil the environment? And further, it should be noted that setting this up as an either/or choice between the oil and natural gas industries is, in fact, a false dilemma. Opposition to one doesn't imply opposition to the other.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:32 AM

2. Professional Smear Artistes.

And when O'Keefe and his minions destroyed ACORN, no one in authority cough Oval Office stood up to them.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:05 AM

7. +1 a whole fucking bunch.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:26 AM

12. this.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:05 AM

23. Yeah, why didn't the president step in?

You'd think any president would be eager to make a move that can be seen as silencing the media. Taking the bait on that would obviously be a boon for re-election.

I doubt Brietbart's snake handlers would make a big deal about it.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #23)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:56 AM

34. ...and the expected cherry picked talking points.

 

Obama//www.wnd.com/2008/12/84434/
Michelle Obama’s old law firm is representing ACORN’s board in an internal embezzlement case
<<<<snip>>>>
The Obamas met at Sidley Austin when Barack interned there after his first year at Harvard Law School. After law school, Barack represented ACORN in a voter registration case.
Offering private legal support


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now
On June 14, 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its findings which showed that ACORN evidenced no sign that it, or any of its related organizations, mishandled any federal money they had received
<<<<snip>>>
In response to an inquiry from a Housing and Urban Development Department lawyer, David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote a five-page memorandum concluding that the law does not prohibit the government from paying ACORN for services already performed
Directing gov't investigation clearing ACORN

http://bizblogger.blogspot.com/2008/10/obama-defends-it-was-acorn-who-was.html
“Obama: So there’s been fraud perpetrated probably on ACORN, if they paid these individuals and they actually didn’t do registrations, but this isn’t a situation where there’s actually people who are going to try to vote, ‘cause these are phony names, and it’s doubtful Tony Romo is gonna show up in Ohio to vote, so this is another one of these distractions that gets stirred up in the course of a campaign."

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2009/12/08/DOJ-Defends-ACORN-Funding-Ban-While-Gutting-It Breibarts constant whine that DOJ and by extension Obama is making prosecution of ACORN voter registration fraud, embezzlement and de-funding too difficult.

After looking up the history of ACORN, it becomes very apparent that the Right and more specifically Issa, was making a long term, multi-pronged and concerted attack on the organization. From DOJ and state investigations, to the media lies to O'keefe continued stings. Clearly the public had been fed propogandized Right Wing redacted and edited news. The RIGHT was forming the narrative that they knew would engineer the suppression of Dem votes, so they had plenty of incentives to work hard at disbanding the organization. Congress holds the purse strings, they were convinced..or at the least finally had the means by which they could pretend to be convinced on ACORN wrong doing. Certainly actual missteps from the organizerss and volunteers of ACORN hurt them and put the final nail in the coffin. I believe Obama did what he could and at some point realized the huge, long term effort of legal and media based harassmentt and misinformation had tipped the scales.

In practical and realistic terms, how in the hell was he supposed to counter funding deregulationn of Congress?




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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Thu May 22, 2014, 03:17 PM

40. I'm still pissed about how FAST the Democratic Party Leadership threw ACORN...

..to the wolves,
but circled the wagons to protect an international LIAR and Laughing Stock like Clapper.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:35 AM

3. Highly recommend. n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:35 AM

4. O'Keefe is what settles at the bottom of a fishtank.

nt


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Response to marmar (Reply #4)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:33 AM

15. No talent grifter

O'Keefe is full of his own sense of accomplishment. He seriously thinks he is good at this? His pimp costume was so absurd, it looked like it was borrowed from the museum of Hollywood costumes. He is a strange looking character, but since his Daddy protects him, he seems free to get involved in this nonsense. Poor little rich kid, no talent whatsoever. James, try getting a legitimate job.

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Response to marmar (Reply #4)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:17 AM

30. Nah. There's nutritional value in that stuff. Catfish eat it.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:40 AM

5. Could Josh Fox sue O'Keefe for defamation? Or harassment? Or financial damages?

1. After all, the central claims in O'Keefe's movie are outright lies and the evidence is edited records.

2. A dozen business-cards were shoved into his mailbox, which seems a bit over-the-top for me. And Fox received multiple unsolicited emails.

3. And now that Josh Fox was wrongly depicted as a hypocrit in O'Keefe's movie, he might have problems working in his field.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #5)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:45 AM

20. I think the term we're looking for here is "libel".

O'Keefe is publishing accusations that he knows are false in order to cause harm.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #5)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:07 AM

29. And stuck to his front door

alerting thieves that he was out of town.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 08:46 AM

6. Placing items in a mail box is against the law

 

Okeefe will not be satisfied until he is doing hard time.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #6)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:06 AM

8. He's working on behalf of corporate America, he'll never do time.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:08 AM

9. O'Keefe's scams are rather transparent-

Really - It's surprising that *anyone* falls for his schtick. The ACORN "sting" was particularly laughable.

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #9)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:18 AM

11. That one was more than laughable. It was tragic. n/t

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #9)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:18 AM

31. But it was allowed to work.

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #9)

Thu May 22, 2014, 02:10 PM

37. It may have been laughable, but it is no laughing matter . . .

. . . because, laughable though it was, it had its intended effect, and inflicted the damage it was intended to inflict.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:17 AM

10. Hopefully, that POS will be put on the boat to oblivion sooner rather than later. n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:28 AM

13. More fun and games from James 'Booger' O'Keefe.

I'm not going to come out and say that I hope he gets sent to jail and is forced into an unwanted romance. I'm not going to say it.

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Response to navarth (Reply #13)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:37 AM

16. Can we please not compare this Sack of Shit

to my favorite Nerd from Revenge of the Nerds? Dudley Dawson was AWESOME. O'keefe is a stain.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:31 AM

14. The real question is who's funding him now

If he's branched out from his usual conservative and small-government backers and the Breitbart crew to take money from heavy-duty energy interests, that would be an interesting story in itself.

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Response to starroute (Reply #14)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:39 AM

17. $$$

Whoever is backing him is certainly NOT getting their money's worth! They must not have seen the asinine pimp video. Maybe his family is hoping if they give him money, he will eventually get a real job? Fat chance, he wants easy money.Maybe he should run for office on the gop ticket, naturally.

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Response to Scarsdale (Reply #17)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:24 PM

41. Welcome to DU, Scarsdale!

Glad you're here! I'm afraid, though, that they ARE getting at least some of their money's worth. If the intent to suppress independent documentary filmmakers' efforts to produce investigatory films, they've succeeded. And it's a shame, too. People cave too easily to this stuff. I am waiting for this little putz and his ilk to "investigate" their way around their own jail cells. There are many vermin who walk the earth since that king-of-vermin, andrew breitbart first started trying to pad his own ego within the Bizarro World of the radical wrong.

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Response to starroute (Reply #14)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:44 AM

19. Some people are already trying to dig into this

This was posted a few days ago at Pastebin, where Anonymous likes to put their stuff. It starts with O'Keefe's own announcement -- which makes it clear that he's trying to pitch opposition to fracking as a national security issue -- then comments on their own research, which doesn't seem to amount to much so far. Clearly O'Keefe's backers have covered their tracks very well.

http://pastebin.com/nYcRAJZg

Steve Sanchton is a completely fictitious name, don’t waste time Googling, what you will find is one of us (Houdini) picking random fights online using his name. . . .

Someone using this name and phone was in Manhattan meeting with anti-fracking people in early February, we’re working on a positive ID. Might have been O’Keefe, might have been John Howting, people are looking at videos of them this weekend. . . .

Don’t bother with the domain registration, here’s the latest and we went back through the history. They proxied it when they got it, there is no trail here.

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Response to starroute (Reply #19)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:32 AM

33. On the domain name

 

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:40 AM

18. As Josh Fox notes...

This will have a chilling effect, which is the whole point.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 09:46 AM

21. Someone should get a big defamation claim against O’Keefe.

Granted he hasn't got any money. Turn the claim over to the collection industry for collection. They would hound him for the rest of his life and his estate after that. Kill two birds with one stone.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:34 AM

24. Good for Mr. Josh Fox

Perhaps it is time to sue the guy for libel, as some other poster here aptly mentioned.

Since that is absolutely right, he would edit the hell out of clips, which is wrong.

I can only thank Mr. Fox for documenting this as proof.
Hopefully there will be others.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:37 AM

25. How can anyone take this guy seriously?

His big "take down" of ACORN was a farce. I mean, this is how he dressed:



C'mon! Give me a break! If this guy entered my office I'd laugh his clown-ass out the door!

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Response to KansDem (Reply #25)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:58 AM

28. They never dressed that way when they went into the offices.

 

That was a costume for introductory footage.

It was a scam bottom to top.

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Response to KansDem (Reply #25)

Thu May 22, 2014, 02:15 PM

38. No, that isn't how he dressed . . . .

The ACORN video was doctored to make it appear as if this was how he was dressed. The point was to make it appear as if it should have been obvious to ACORN workers that he was a pimp, thus trying to cast those ACORN workers in the worst possible light.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 10:57 AM

27. I love it when the stinger gets stung by his own target.

 

O'Keefe is scum. It's good to see his expose' getting exposed for what it is.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 11:24 AM

32. um, so how does this shitstain….

get something screened at Cannes?
This is the DU member formerly known as dhill926.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 12:00 PM

35. Isn't O'Keefe on some sort of parole for a similar scam....

 

On a congresswoman's tapping phone lines? I thought part of the plea deal was to stop the dishonesty of his tactics. It's how he avoided jail time a couple of years ago.

eta http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/regret-the-error/161452/star-ledger-corrects-story-that-sparked-james-okeefe-lawsuit/
details on the phone thingy...but no info on the probation.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Thu May 22, 2014, 01:39 PM

36. This guy should be in the 'Can' not at Cannes.

Okay that's lame but the point is valid. After the crap O'Keefe pulled in New Orleans...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101663521

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101659191

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