This week, the Smithsonian Institution and conservative commentator and Fox News personality Oliver North were once again at odds over his use of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to film a documentary.
North hosts the series “War Stories” on the Fox News Channel and is filming a documentary on the history of nuclear weapons. The show’s producers had requested the opportunity to film North speaking in front of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in August 1945. The Enola Gay is housed at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
An exclusive deal between the Smithsonian and the Showtime Networks, Inc. allows the joint venture to vet any requests for filming at Smithsonian facilities that go beyond “incidental usage.” The Smithsonian initially denied North’s request which provoked an angry public response by North. Apparently all of the bad publicity caused the Smithsonian to reconsider and they announced in February that North would be allowed to film at the Udvar-Hazy Center after all.
However, this week the Smithsonian sought to limit the use of the material that North would film at the Udvar-Hazy Center and he was denied access to the facility.
In an online column, North talked about filming for his series in Vietnam last summer. “As it turns out, it was easier to deal with Ho Chi Minh’s proteges than our own Smithsonian Institution. At least the commies kept their word. Not so with the Smithsonian.”
Read North’s full commentary.
Read a Washington Post article on the North versus Smithsonian fight.