Protesters: 'The Hurricane' trashes good people -- Please don't give it an Oscar!

HOLLYWOOD, March 1, 2000 -- Picketers appeared outside the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screening of "The Hurricane" Wednesday to protest the film's distorted depiction of the murder case against Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

The picketers represented the families of the Lafayette Grill murder victims and of the late Lt. Vincent DeSimone, the chief investigator of the 1966 Paterson, N.J. murders for which Carter was twice convicted. The families are in New Jersey and were not able to personally attend the protests.

The film depicts Carter as the innocent victim of a racist justice system. However,the families [not to mention the prosecutors) are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Carter was one of the two killers. They are disturbed at seeing Carter receive standing ovations around the country because of the way he is falsely portrayed in the movie.

The demonstrators held up signs that said "Hurricane Murders the Truth ... Please! NO Oscar for a film that trashes good people.:" They gave out flyers to hundreds who attended the screening and put the flyers on cars parked in the garage and on nearby side streets. They also held up protest signs on busy, four-lane Wilshire Boulevard in front of the Academy.

They were met by courteous security guards and treated with respect by most Academy members. A few African-Americans treated them with disdain, however, and one shrieked that they were racists. [See Racism Page.]

"We're here for the victims," the protesters said. "We're here for the families of the victims, here to beg you, the Academy members, to read the brochure and not let Rubin Carter sully the good name of the Oscars by coming up on the stage with Denzel."

Additional protests are planned for New York next week.

Edward Lozzi (photo), a Hollywood public relations executive who grew up in New Jersey and has known the DeSimone family for decades, volunteered to organize the Hollywood protest and was one of the participants.

Lozzi got involved in the case after attending this year's Golden Globes ceremony. He was seated two tables away from Denzel Washington and watched Washington drag Carter onto the stage and declare, "This man is love." Soon Lozzi realized that the Carter case was the same one he had heard so much about in DeSimone's home decades earlier. He tracked down Jim DeSimone, the detective's son, and learned that the film had trashed the memory of DeSimone's dad -- whom Lozzi had liked and respected. He immediately volunteered his services to help the families spread the word about the film's hurtful inaccuracies.s

Demonstrators hand out flyers at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

A security guard peeks at the protestors from a theater doorway.

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