04.22.12

Susan Sarandon: The Government Hacked My Phone

At a Tribeca Film Festival forum with Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon says the government’s been tapping her phone. Meanwhile, Moore suspects Fox News may be doing the same. Lloyd Grove reports.

Actress Susan Sarandon has had her phone tapped by the government and was recently denied a security clearance for a visit to the White House. Director Michael Moore might have been tapped, he says, but he really suspects that Fox News has been hacking phones in the United States.

Those were a couple of the claims made by the two celebrity activists Sunday during a Tribeca Film Festival panel about documentary filmmaking and others subjects, such as Moore’s intense dislike of Davis Guggenheim’s much-applauded 2010 education documentary Waiting for “Superman.”

“We know we were under surveillance,” Sarandon said in answer to a question from the audience during a Q&A with Moore. “I’ve had my phone tapped,” she went on, noting that she gleaned the disturbing evidence from two Freedom of Information Act requests. “I was denied a security clearance to go to the White House and I don’t know why. Do you know why?”

Moore—the director of such popular documentaries as Fahrenheit 9/11Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story, each giving a left-leaning critique of, respectively, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care American-style, and the 2008 financial meltdown—said about being spied upon, “I never think about it,” though he wouldn’t be surprised if “somebody, somewhere” has subjected him to surveillance. “As it should be,” he joked.

“I’ll make a prediction about the phone hacking thing and Murdoch,” Moore added. “It’s going to be discovered that it’s been going on here,” not just in Britain, where phone hacking by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has become a major political scandal. Moore mentioned Fox News—of which he is a longtime antagonist—as a likely culprit.

Meanwhile, in answer to a question about whether he would “like to follow in the footsteps of Guggenheim” and direct a documentary about education, Moore said, “I would not…I hated that film.”

He said he ended up disliking Waiting for “Superman,” after initially enjoying the movie, because “it said the teachers and the unions are the problem. But they’re not the problem.”