Filmmaker Michael Moore handed out more than 300 free lunches in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza this afternoon to promote the release of his new movie “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
The controversial filmmaker, whose latest work examines the Wall Street meltdown and financial crisis, also discussed the movie with onlookers and took questions from a gathering crowd.
He said he handed out the boxed meals because “Bankers love free lunches.”
“The top 1 percent of the country controls more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined,” he told the crowd. “They believe it’s actually morally and politically justified that if there’s a pie on the table and 10 people sitting are around it, it’s OK for one person to take nine slices of that pie and let the remaining people fight over that one last slice.”
He added that he came to San Francisco’s Financial District because Wells Fargo, headquartered in San Francisco, and Bank of America, which was founded here, play a small role in the movie.
“We’re in the belly of the beast,” he said.
A spokesman for Wells Fargo said Moore’s comments overlook the bank’s commitment to the community; Wells Fargo donated $16.7 million to Bay Area nonprofits last year, he said.
“We’re proud to be headquartered here, we’re proud to be in service to the local community, and we’re committed to helping our clients become more financially successful,” Wells Fargo spokesman Chris Hammond said.
Moore said his new movie is reminiscent of his first film, “Roger and Me,” which premiered 20 years ago today.
Both confront corporate executives and work to tell the average worker’s story. But “Capitalism,” he said, goes one step further.
“We’re not going to deal with just one issue like General Motors or Halliburton or health care,” he said. “Because they’re all spokes that come out of the same wheel … capitalism.”
Moore said he hopes viewers use the film as an organizing tool. He said that if “Capitalism” accomplishes all of its goals, it will be his last film.
“I told everybody on the crew we’re going for broke on this one,” he told the crowd.
The San Francisco premiere of “Capitalism: A Love Story” is tonight at the Clay Theater. General release is scheduled for Oct. 2.