CNN Films canceled a planned documentary about Hillary Clinton on Monday after the project’s director abruptly dropped out of the project and said the Clinton camp had pressured people not to talk to him.
Charles Ferguson, who had been tapped earlier this year to direct the film, wrote in a piece published on The Huffington Post that he decided to scrap the documentary because potential interview subjects refused to be interviewed.
He blamed pressure from Clinton aides and supporters as well as the Republican National Committee, which banned CNN from hosting any 2016 presidential primary debates over the film — which had been set to air next year. (The RNC also voted to boycott NBC, which is planning a fictional miniseries about Clinton.)
“When I approached people for interviews, I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film,” Ferguson wrote. “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.”
He said he received a phone call from Nick Merrill, Clinton’s press secretary, even before the film was formally announced, who “interrogated” him. He also said that Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton adviser, had called CNN officials and complained about the film.
Merrill and Reines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ferguson said he had requested interviews with more than 100 people — both Democrats and Republicans — and in the end, only two people who had “ever dealt” with Clinton agreed to talk to him.
“And I suspected that even they would back out,” Ferguson wrote.
He added, “Neither political party wanted the film made. After painful reflection, I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud. And so I’m cancelling.”
He called the decision to can the project “a victory for the Clintons and for the money machines that both political parties have become.”