Senator Ron Johnson (R Wisconsin) has been attacking Hollywood liberals for the supposed anti-business propaganda of The Lego Movie, which he says has contributed to a "cultural attitude" in the United States in which people believe "government is good and business is bad."
The villain in The Lego Movie is named Lord Business. "That's done for a reason," Johnson said. "They're starting that propaganda, and it's insidious."
But it would be more accurate if he Johnson said to one of his own, "Etu Brutus?" Indeed, not only did The Lego Movie gross a fortune for a Fortune 500 company, it was financed by people with business bona fides at least as sterling as Johnson's. If there is a conspiracy against business, perhaps its coming from within.
Dan Lin, the film's producer, graduated from the Wharton School of Business and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is the son of an executive in the international food industry.
Co-producer John Powers Middleton previously worked for the Republican National Committee. Middleton recently hosted a Jeb Bush fundraiser in Malibu featuring Jeb P. Bush. Middleton, who is a producer of Poltergeist, Liam Nesson's Run All Night and the A&E television series Bates Motel, is associated with Roy Lee's Vertigo Entertainment. He recently started a production company with Casey Affleck.
Middleton has been a generous donor to Republican causes over the years. He was involved in the now notorious Republican National Committee's Young Eagles program, which was discontinued after a bondage club outing.
In addition to writing checks, he arranged for the Young Eagles to hold major fundraisers in the Phillies luxury boxes. Federal election records show he has donated to the RNC, Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman among many others in recent years. There is no record of he or his family ever donating to a Democratic candidate despite operating businesses in the Philadelphia region, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1.
Middleton is very close to his father, who has been described as an intensely competitive, private businessman. The elder Middleton may also be the patron saint of Republican lost causes. When it was clear to the whole world that Tom Corbett would not be reelected governor of Pennsylvania in the final quarter of the race, he emerged as his largest donor.
The major source of the family's wealth is the sale of their family cigar company in 2007 to Altria for $2.9 billion. At the time of the sale, John Middleton Cigar had 24 percent percent of the retail market for pipe tobacco and cigars. The sale is now being challenged by other family members.
The family is also one of the co-owners of the Philadelphia Phillies. Middleton, who graduated from the elite Haverford School on Philadelphia's Main Line, regularly takes to Twitter to chide Phillies fans for being fair weather.
Middleton and Lin, it would seem, make an odd pair to lead the revolution against the business class.
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