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Manila Bans Claire Danes’ Movies

September 29, 1998

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Manila’s city council on Tuesday banned all movies of Claire Danes, saying it was insulted after the Hollywood actress reportedly called the metropolis smelly, rat-infested and weird.

``She is declared persona non grata. All her films will be banned,″ said councilor Kim Atienza, the principal sponsor of the resolution and a son of Manila’s mayor.

``We are a very hospitable people, but we cannot accept irresponsible sweeping statements from irresponsible actresses,″ he said. The resolution passed 23-3.

Danes, who appeared in the movies ``Romeo and Juliet,″ ``Little Women,″ and ``The Rainmaker,″ was in Manila for several weeks early this year to shoot scenes for the movie ``Brokedown Palace.″ Most of the sequences shot in Manila were done inside a dilapidated psychiatric hospital.

Atienza had said the councilors were willing to forgive comments Danes made in Vogue magazine in April describing Manila as a ``ghastly and weird city.″ He said those could be chalked up as ``mere irresponsible statements of youth.″

But he said the actress went ``overboard″ in a recent interview with Premiere magazine by saying Manila ``smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewerage system and the people do not have anything _ no arms, no legs, no eyes.″

``Definitely her statements insult us and make us lose visitors. That is unacceptable,″ Atienza said.

Councilor Julio Logarta, one of the three who voted against the resolution, said the ban was a curtailment of freedom of expression.

``Any visitor to this country can make comments, positive or negative,″ Logarta said. ``This resolution is in fact abridging her rights. Most of what she said is true.″

Logarta also questioned the council’s authority to ban movies.

Danes’ reported comments have also been widely debated in newspaper columns and editorial pages, with some newspapers castigating the actress and others saying the city council should clean up Manila instead of criticizing the remarks.

Last week, Danes said in a statement that she meant no disrespect to the Filipino people: ``Because of the subject matter of our film ‘Brokedown Palace,’ the cast was exposed to the darker and more impoverished places of Manila. My comments in Premiere magazine only reflect those locations, not my attitude towards the Filipino people. They were nothing but warm, friendly and supportive.″

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