Five Michigan officials were charged in June with involuntary manslaughter over the Flint water crisis. For Melissa Mays, a Flint resident and activist, more people need to be held accountable.
“The state government, they’re the ones that decided to switch our water, that decided not to treat our water, because we weren’t important,” Mays said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. “They’re the ones that covered it up when people started dying.” Noting that charges have now begun to be pressed against state officials, she added, “We’re waiting on the governor to be charged, because he singlehandedly took over our city like a dictatorship, and he is responsible for what’s been done to the residents of Flint, the permanent damage and those that have lost their lives.”
Mays is one of the real-life activists on whom Lifetime’s upcoming movie “Flint” is based. The film tells the story of the residents of the city who drew national attention to the health crisis there linked to municipal water that became tainted with lead following changes to the water supply under the government of Gov. Rick Snyder.
Executive producer Neil Meron said that the goal of the film was to keep attention on a situation that is far from resolved.
“We wanted to shine a spotlight on the situation,” Meron said. “I think it’s incredibly timely in terms of how people from the community can band together and change. I think it’s something that’s going on today in other aspects of society in terms of the town-hall meetings, the impact with the health-care act.”
Mays said that it’s important for viewers to understand that there are still issues with Flint’s water supply.
“Today has been 1,190 days since we had clean water in Flint,” she said, adding, “One of the things we hope this does is let people know that it’s not over. It’s not even close to over.”
Mays also brought along several bottles of Flint tap water, inviting reporters in attendance up on stage to drink or smell it. “It opens the sinuses,” joked star Betsy Brandt.
No one took Mays up on the offer.
“Flint” premieres Oct. 28 on Lifetime.