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Do Causes and Oscars Mix?

April 12, 1993

An open letter to Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Richard Gere and Marsha and Robin Williams:

Having lost one close friend and about to lose another to AIDS, I have no quarrel with your message, but you are absolutely wrong in believing you have either the right or responsibility to espouse your causes during the Oscar telecast ("Our 23 Seconds at the Oscars," April 5).

The show belongs to the winners , and not just Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Emma Thompson and Marisa Tomei. It belongs to those people equally responsible for the creation of a film: the sound crew, art department, costumers; people who toil in anonymity for years, decades or entire careers in hope of one day knowing that brief, shining moment when their work is publicly recognized with an Oscar.

If you feel a so-called duty to espouse your beliefs on television, take your considerable wealth and buy air time. Feel free to build an AIDS hospice. Spend every waking hour sending happy thoughts to foreign countries. But remember that Oscar and Oscar night belong to Oscar. To think otherwise is arrogant and rude.

RUS STEDMAN

Encino

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