Piers Morgan and Michael Moore clashed about Moore's own wealth during a special edition of Morgan's show on Tuesday.
The show featured a live audience (HuffPost Media was invited to watch the taping) and focused on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Moore has been one of the most conspicuous supporters of Occupy Wall Street, making constant appearances on television to promote the movement.
Moore refused to play along when Morgan attempted to pin him down about how much he is worth. "You're in the 1 percent, right?" Morgan asked, using the terminology for the richest Americans made famous by OWS. "I'm not in the 1 percent," Moore said.
Morgan scoffed at this, apparently finding it hard to believe. "You're one of the most successful filmmakers in the country!" he said. "No, I'm not," Moore replied. "For a documentary filmmaker, I do very well." The back-and-forth continued in that vein, with Moore saying he felt "blessed" that he could "do what I want to do."
"I need you to admit the bleeding obvious," Morgan said. "I need you to sit here and say, I'm in the 1 percent, because it's important." Moore refused, saying, "I'm not." He said that the real point was that, even though he is wealthy, "I am devoting my life to those who have less and who have been crapped upon by the system. And that's how I spend my time, my energy, my money on trying to up-end this system that I think is a system of violence, it's a system that's unfair to the average working person of this country."
During a commercial break, Moore looked at a graphic that the show had put on the screen which said that the people in the 1 percent category made more than a million dollars a year. He told Morgan that he wanted to put his 1040 tax return up on the screen to show him that he made less than that, and was thus not a member of that elite group.
Moore also denounced the police in Oakland for their violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in the Bay Area city. The show was interspersed with images from Oakland, where protesters were tear-gassed and hit with rubber bullets by the police. Morgan said that violence was happening "on both sides," but Moore shot that argument down.
"There's no violence coming from the Occupy protesters," he said. "...What we've seen across the country are a series of police riots, where the police are rioting, where the police have gotten violent. These are Americans who are in the American tradition standing up for what they believe in...and this is a movement that cannot be stopped with billy clubs or this kind of behavior."
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