Disney has banned its film company subsidiary from distributing controversial director Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which criticises President George Bush's handling of the September 11 terrorist attacks and connects the Bush family with Osama bin Laden's.

Disney chief executive Michael Eisner said yesterday the company "did not want a film in the middle of the political process where we're such a non-partisan company and our guests, that participate in all of our attractions, do not look for us to take sides".

Moore, behind the Oscar-winning Bowling For Columbine documentary that challenged America's gun culture, claimed The Walt Disney Co was worried the documentary would endanger tax breaks the company received from Florida, where Bush's brother Jeb is governor and where Disney World is located.

But Jeb Bush said: "What tax break? We don't give tax breaks, that I'm aware of, to Disney.

"I appreciate the fact that Disney creates thousands and thousands of jobs in our state."

Moore said he officially found out on Monday that Miramax Films, owned by Disney, would not be allowed to distribute the film, but his agent learned this a year ago.

"They had told my agent last year -- Eisner himself told my agent, Ari Emanuel -- that there was no way they were going to release this film, and he told him why. Because he did not want to anger Jeb Bush in Florida," Moore told The Associated Press.

"He wasn't going to let a little documentary upset the Bush family."

But Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein wanted to go ahead with the film, and spent �4 million finishing it, Moore said.

"Harvey thought he'd change their minds. We went ahead and made the movie anyway," he said.

Moore said only when it was announced that Fahrenheit 9/11 would make its world premiere as one of 18 films screening in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins on May 12, did Disney "finally decide to deal with it".


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