‘Selma’ Director: Ex-LBJ Aide’s Criticism Of My Film Is ‘Jaw Dropping’

The director of “Selma” pushed back this week against a screed attacking the film by a former assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, calling the views “jaw dropping and offensive.”

Former Johnson aide Joseph A. Califano Jr. blasted the Martin Luther King, Jr. movie an op-ed in the Washington Post on Friday, claiming it unfairly portrayed his onetime boss in an negative light.

“The movie should be ruled out this Christmas and during the ensuing awards season,” he wrote, saying that the historic civil rights march in the film was actually “LBJ’s idea.”

Director Ava DuVernay was not convinced by his argument. Replying to a critic’s tweet mentioning the Califano op-ed on Sunday, DuVernay took the ex-official to task:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: