Michael Moore appeared on the "Today" show Tuesday to discuss his new memoir, "Here Comes Trouble," with Savannah Guthrie. Moore discussed the aftermath of his famously controversial speech at the 2003 Oscars and the effects it had on his family.
Moore used his acceptance speech that year to speak against the Iraq War, which had just started, and to accuse President Bush of going to war based on fictitious premises. He was roundly booed.
Guthrie said that, in the book, Moore "seem[ed] to come very close to offering regret for saying that."
"None at all, actually," Moore said. "If I have any regret, it's what it put me and my family through as a result of the amount of hatred that was generated on a certain news channel and on AM hate radio. They encouraged people to essentially commit acts of violence against me." He said that he was ultimately proved correct when it became clear that there were no WMD's in Iraq, but that it took a tremendous toll on his life and caused him to employ security guards.
"Do you still use that security today?" Guthrie asked. "Do you still feel that threat, that danger?"
"It's not a feeling," Moore said, going on to list a series of what he called "assaults" against him, including one where a person was trying to blow up his house.
Moore did not elaborate, but in an excerpt from his book, published by the Guardian, he writes about the moment the police told him they had foiled the plot, carried out by a man named Lee James Headley. Headley, Moore says, placed him as the top person on his left-wing hit list. It was only when some of the large stockpile of ammunition that he had in his house went off that police were alerted to his plans:
I got the call some days later from the security agency. "We need to tell you that the police have in custody a man who was planning to blow up your house. You're in no danger now."
I got very quiet. I tried to process what I just heard: I'm ... in ... no ... danger ... now. For me, it was the final straw. I broke down. My wife was already in her own state of despair over the loss of the life we used to have. I asked myself again: what had I done to deserve this?
...I will not share with you the impact this had, at that time, on my personal life, but suffice it to say I would not wish this on anyone. More than once I have asked myself if all this work was really worth it. And, if I had it to do over again, would I? If I could take back that Oscar speech and just walk up on the stage and thank my agent and tuxedo designer and get off without another word, would I? If it meant that my family would not have to worry about their safety and that I would not be living in constant danger - well, I ask you, what would you do? You know what you would do.
Guthrie also got in a little dig at Moore when she mentioned that his nuns all loved him when he was in Catholic school as a child.
"What happened?" she said, laughing.
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