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Susan Sarandon: The FBI Taps My Phone and I’m Banned From the White House

moore-sarandon
Craig Barritt, Getty Images

Say the names Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon to conservatives, and you’re likely to get an icy stare in return. So synonymous are the two with liberal politics that it only made sense for the filmmaker and the actress to sit down together for a Q&A with both each other and audience members during a 75-minute conversation sponsored by the Tribeca Film Festival.

After a surprising admission that they’re both introverts, Sarandon asked Moore how he screws up the courage to barge in on powerful people and chase them around for interviews. “I am terrified,” Moore said. “I’ve always been terrified, and I’m trying to hide it as best I can, trying to convince myself that I’m going to get through it alive and that no harm will come to me.”

Sarandon said she’s had to endure scrutiny of a different kind: the watchful eyes of the federal government. She said that, for reasons unknown to her, she was recently denied security clearance to visit the White House. Asked by an audience member if she thought she was “under surveillance,” Sarandon said she was sure of it. “I’ve gotten my file twice under the Freedom of Information Act … I’ve had my phone tapped,” she revealed.

Toward the end of the chat, Sarandon asked Moore to share his insights on how to make the world a better place. Moore hesitated at first, but finally encouraged the crowd to “be part of Occupy Wall Street,” “run for office,” and “get involved with any organization that is working to get money out of politics.”

After one audience member admitted that she hadn’t liked Moore before the event, he wryly responded, “I was feeling the same way about myself.”

“I’ve got this gnarly hoodie on,” he added. “What am I doing here?”

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