June 28, 2001 Letter to A&E from Margot Kidder Concerning her biography

June 28, 2001

 

To: The Arts and Entertainment Network

To whom it may concern,

        I sit here still reeling in horrified shock from the ridiculously inaccurate and stupendously stupid  “biography” of myself that you aired on A&E last night.  To have given your producer, Jane Petrov, unparalleled access to my life, my friends and family, and myself, only to discover that in spite of the information she was given she insisted on making a sleazy, ludicrously morbid, and disingenuously one-sided portrait of a life that has, in fact, been filled with great joy and rare blessings, was deeply unsettling at best. It was repeatedly pointed out to Ms. Petrov that in spite of my periodic bungee-jumps into craziness, my life has been filled with love, laughter, adventure, accomplishment, and staunchly supportive friends and family, and that it in no way can be described as a failure or a tragedy.

    To address all the inaccuracies, big and small, would take hours, but there are two, which Ms. Petrov is well aware of, that I feel obliged to bring up: 1) I did not become politically active because my career was floundering – I became politically active at a very young age after an illegal abortion, which was why I brought it up, and my political work, with the peace movement, with Amnesty International, with the Women’s Movement, with the Jesse Jackson campaign, and now, with Patient’s Right’s organizations, has always been at least as important to me as my acting work; 2) People diagnosed with this or that “mental illness” usually have long periods of normalcy in their lives, as I have had, and are not bizarre and unrelentingly heart-breaking souls devoid of humour or gratitude for the glories of this wondrous thing called Life. We are not mysteriously odd – we are human beings, just like you, with chemical malfunctions that periodically cause us to behave in seemingly incomprehensible ways. When the chemical imbalance is righted, as hundreds of thousands of us have been lucky enough to be able to do with the help of a strictly scientific practice known as Orthomolecular Medicine,  our lives are fully restored and we become, in the deepest sense of the word, WELL.  I have been well and free of the symptoms that are called manic-depression for almost five years, and have been working steadily and leading a happy and productive life since then.  To have so profoundly mis-represented what mental illness is about is not just a disservice to myself, it is an insult to the millions of human beings on our planet living with the already inane and destructive stigma of the labels given them by the psychiatric profession.  For A&E to perpetrate such stereotypes by presenting a life, any life, in such a lop-sided and moronically soap-opera-ish fashion not even worthy of the National Enquirer, is irresponsible, disrespectful, and in no small way cruel. I am disappointed that a reputable company such as yours would do such a thing.

    Please do not air this hour of idiocy again.

                         

                                           Sincerely,

 

                                         Margot Kidder  

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