CNN Films has pulled the plug on a high-profile documentary project focusing on Hillary Clinton, Politico reports. The move comes after director Charles H. Ferguson stepped down from the project today after finding potential sources reluctant to participate — partly in response to pressure from the Clinton camp.
CNN Worldwide spokesperson Allison Gollust told the website: "Charles Ferguson has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton. Charles is an Academy Award winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision. … [W]e won’t seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film."
"In a blog post on Huffington Post, Ferguson said that pressure from Clinton aides and supporters, as well as the Republican National Committee, cast a chilling effect on potential sources and interview subjects," Politico adds.
Ferguson reportedly wrote in the blog post: "When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons, or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration. Not even journalists who want access, which can easily be taken away."
Politico adds: "Ferguson explains that after signing his contract with CNN Films, he began receiving pressure from Clinton press secretary Nick Merrill and Clinton aide Philippe Reines, ‘who contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them, and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor.’"
The report notes that Ferguson and CNN also received pressure from the Republican National Committee, "which voted to ban CNN from hosting or sponsoring Republican primary debates, and from Clinton supporters like Media Matters For America chief David Brock. (NBCUniversal, which is currently at work on a fictional miniseries about Hillary Clinton, was also banned from debates by the RNC)."
Ferguson wrote in his blog item: "After approaching well over a hundred people, only two persons who had ever dealt with Mrs. Clinton would agree to an on-camera interview, and I suspected that even they would back out.
"This, of course, was the real consequence, and probably the real intent, of the announcements by the RNC, Philippe Reines, and David Brock. Neither political party wanted the film made."