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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Martin Sheen didn't mean to condemn Zero Dark Thirty; he just really doesn't like torture

Illustration for article titled Martin Sheen didnt mean to condemn emZero Dark Thirty/em; he just really doesnt like torture

After stirring considerable controversy among those who had reserved opinions on Zero Dark Thirty until hearing what Ed Asner and Martin Sheen think, Martin Sheen has distanced himself from the recent, Ed Asner-led statement of opposition to the film that was circulated among Oscar voters, calling on them to condemn it. “It’s my own fault,” Sheen tells the New York Times of his apparently accidental inclusion in the bid by Asner and fellow actor David Clennon to get Academy members to join them in snubbing it. Sheen clarifies that he’d agreed to have his name affixed to the statement without fully understanding that it would condemn the movie, rather than condemning actual torture, which will persist until Ed Asner finally gets around to writing an angry letter about that.


As recompense, Sheen reportedly reached out to Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal by passing them a handwritten note at the Golden Globes, commending them for bringing the issue to the foreground in the first place, and adding he was “very moved and troubled by it.” (“Do you like torture? Check yes or no,” it probably also said.) Anyway, the Times followed up on Sheen’s clarification by contacting Clennon, who in turn claimed that his and Asner’s own intentions were never to prevent anyone from seeing Zero Dark Thirty, but simply to oppose the film’s “encouragement of the tolerance of torture” through scenes that fudge the truth as a means of achieving the filmmakers’ own agenda. Asner, Clennon, and Sheen then returned to working on their movie where they stage a fake trial to blame the government for 9/11.

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