About 300 people showed up for the protest on the other side of the street from where Saturday’s “The Night Before” fundraiser for the Motion Picture & Television Fund was being held at the Beverly Hills hotel. While Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Douglas gave TV interviews at the hotel with a pre-arranged list of talking points (below), celebs like Lea Thompson, David Carradine, and David Lander picketed alongside family of patients as well as caregivers at the MPTF’s acute care hospital and long-term care nursing home facing closure. (more below video)
A few networks like ABC were there to film statements by Lilly Tomlin (who was late) and the other celeb protesters. Then Katzenberg’s press conference time was suddenly pushed up, and all of the camera crews ran inside to hear what he and Michael Douglas had to say. The camera crews only returned later to film the protesters marching in the dark and grab some quick sound bytes from David Carradine and those celebs still available. The police demanded that the amplified portion of the protest — heard by the party guests gathered poolside — end at 8 PM even though the organizers had paid for the proper Beverly Hills permit to use amplification equipment and a time to stop wasn’t specified. Many of the limos pulling into the party rolled down windows to give the picketers the thumbs up. “I am hopeful there is an awareness growing for the tragedy that is taking place at the MPTF,” one of the protest’s organizers told me.
Katzenberg’s “The Night Before” Oscars party raised $6 million for the MPTF, which equaled last year’s total despite the economic crisis. So by those standards it was a great night for the financial troubled MPTF facilites.
I’ve obtained the list of talking points given to Jeff Katzenberg and Michael Douglas to say before the cameras:
MPTF CHARITY AND SERVICES
Over $15 million in residential subsidy for the 215 residents living on the Wasserman Campus in independent/assisted living and memory care.
Over $ 2 million dollars in financial assistance to 1100 industry workers impacted in 2008 by the WGA strike and general economy.
Over 5000 people supported by social services including crisis counseling and Elder Connection services helping their aging parents.
Financial support for Tuition Assistance at the Samuel Goldwyn Children’s Center.
Community Care Teams to assist seniors and their families in providing support for their ongoing care needs.
In addition, MPTF continues to provide outpatient health care at six health centers in Southern California. And MPTF services include outpatient surgery, lab, radiology, GI lab, physical and occupational therapy and pharmacy.
The Saban Health & Wellness Center is serving over 500 industry veterans and campus residents in proving their quality of life both physically and mentally.
In other news, Los Angeles journalist Andrew Gumbel who also has been following the MPTF story is reporting that the Motion Picture and Television Fund may have spent $20 million a year on what it describes as “professional fees”. His article is quite speculative, and I can’t vouch for its accuracy. He claims “some of that money — about $5.5 million according to the Fund’s tax returns — goes to pay the hundreds of doctors within the MPTF network who are not direct employees. But what about the $1.1 million listed in the 2007 tax return as ‘consulting fees’? Or the stunning $13.7 million listed as ‘management fees’?” He also quotes sources that “at least some of that money went to the Camden Group, the private medical consultancy whose reports paved the way for the decision to close the nursing home and hospital.”
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