French unpardonable

Jack Valenti is steamed over French film exec Daniel Toscan du Plantier’s claim that the Northridge earthquake proves God was on the side of the French in the recent trade talks (Daily Variety, Jan 21).

Du Plantier was quoted in French newspapers as saying, “With the earthquake that touched Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, where one finds a number of studios, one knows that God, who manifests himself rarely, is at work, and he has chosen the side of the cultural exception.”

Du Plantier admits he made the comment, but later claimed he was speaking off the record, according to the Intl. Herald Tribune.

Valenti, who heads the Motion Picture Assn. of America, fired off a letter to du Plantier Friday questioning how could such a “literate, prestigious man of the cinema speak so callously about a tragedy of such immense and frightening dimensions.”

“How could you announce in so casual a tone that God has inflicted a violent calamity on innocent people because God seemingly shares your views about a controversy which seems so small and so unimportant in the face of this unspeakable sadness?” asked Valenti.

The MPAA head said he “cannot but believe that the vast majority of Frenchmen … are appalled at what you said.”

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