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Cher To Star In Flint Water Crisis Film – But How Deep Will They Go?

Cher will star in Lifetime’s film about the Flint water crisis reports say – although many have been left wondering just how deep the re-telling of the 2014 crisis will go. The Guardian reported that she will star as a woman whose family has been affected by the water crisis.

In 1988, the Believe singer took home the Academy Award for Best Actress in Moonstruck and she was last seen on the big screen in the 2010 film Burlesque, which was hit and miss with the critics. Ready to flex her acting muscles again, Cher will also executive produce the project, along with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, and Katie Couric.


Since April 2014, Flint has suffered a water contamination issue after the water source was moved from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water – sourced from Lake Huron as well as the Detroit River – to the Flint River.

Reports showed the water had lead contamination and was a serious public health danger. According to the Scientific American, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported the limit of lead in public water is just 15 parts per billion, at times the water pumped into the homes in Flint registered at 13,200 parts per billion. A breakout of Legionnaires’ disease in the area caused the deaths f ten people after affected more than seventy.

Cher previously teamed up with water company Icelandic Glacial to send more than 180,000 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan, during the crisis. She covered the cost of half the bottles and the water company matched her with the remaining cost.

The tragic water crisis could be pinned down to government cutbacks in spending. In his article 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About The Flint Water Tragedy, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore claimed, “Someone at the beginning (of the crisis) suggested to the Governor (of Flint) that they add this anti-corrosive element to the water coming out of the Flint River. ‘How much would that cost?’ came the question. ‘$100 a day for three months,’ was the answer. I guess that was too much, so, in order to save $9,000, the state government said f*** it — and as a result the State may now end up having to pay upwards of $1.5 billion to fix the mess.”

Many residents in the Flint area have been left with nowhere else to turn. Housing prices have now crashed to an ultimate low and CNN News reported that the average price of a home in the area is just $14,000. Rob Moen, an associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, told CNN, “They lost about 75% of real estate (value) in the city of Flint. Anyone that bought their home in the early 2000s in Flint with a mortgage is still upside down on their house and they aren’t able to move because they can’t sell it.”

Two people connected to Flint water crisis found dead in three days

Matthew McFarland 

Cause of death: “Sudden death” 

Connection To Flint Water Crisis: Due to testify in court  

On April 16th 2016, Flint’s Water Treatment Plant foreman, 43-year-old Matthew McFarland, was found dead in his home by a close friend – just days before he was due in court to testify. There were no apparent signs of foul play and an autopsy conducted did not determine a cause of death but it was certainly “sudden.”

His death came just days after McFarland’s direct manager, Flint Utilities Manager Michael Glasgow, was charged with evidence tampering, changing test results to show there was less lead in city water than there actually was, and willful neglect of office. Two other officials were due to be charged and McFarland would have testified in court.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said of McFarland, “He worked for the City of Flint for more than 18 years and we thank him for his devotion and service. We all have been brought together by this water crisis and we are all mourning his death.”

Sasha Avonna Bell 

Cause of death: Shooting 

Connection To Flint Water Crisis: First To Sue Flint Government 

Sasha Avonna Bell was the first Flint resident to sue the government over the water crisis, she was a key figure in the pending lawsuits against officials. Then on April 19th 2016,  she was fatally shot by an ex-boyfriend. Bell’s 16-month-old son was with her but he was unharmed. Another woman 19-year-old Sacorya Reed was also gunned down in the same apartment.

Shortly after the double murder, police officers arrested Bell’s ex-boyfriend, 19-year-old Malek Thornton. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of open murder, and a felony firearm charge.

When Flint Police Capt. Leigh Golden was asked if the deaths were tied to the water crisis in any way, he told the Daily News, “Nothing in the investigation indicates that was the case whatsoever.” Conspiracy website Natural News argued a different case. They said, “Do you honestly think that a government which conspired to mass poison an entire community of children with a toxic heavy metals that causes brain damage would hesitate to order the execution of a key witness?”

Flint is not the first to hit a water crisis. In 2001, the drinking water in Washington D.C. also suffered a rise in lead levels. The contamination was not brought to light until many people, including children and pregnant women, had drunk the water for months. Just like Flint, children in Washington, D.C. showed high levels of lead in their blood.

Professor Marc Edwards, an expert in plumbing corrosion, discovered lead levels at least 83 times higher than the accepted safe limit and reported his findings to the Washington Post who made the crisis public.

As of 20th December 2016, a total of thirteen former state and local officials have faced criminal counts in the investigation. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said, “The people of Flint are not expendable. People who broke the law must be held accountable.”

About the author

Cheish Merryweather is the founder of Follow on Twitter: @thecheish

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