MPTF: Walk Like an Egyptian

Like the Egyptians and Mubarak, we are dealing with men who have the power to stifle the Fourth Estate — our press

Last Updated: February 12, 2011 @ 12:35 PM

As I write this blog, my attention is drawn to the "Breaking News" that crawls along the bottom of my TV screen — showing a crowded and coagulated Tahrir Square in Cairo, where tens of thousands of people have begun chanting in a shared positive vibe:

BREAKING NEWS: MUBAREK TO STEP DOWN

The situation being so fluid, that by the time this blog sees the light of day, it all may change. Also, political pundits will pontificate, argue and debate for a long time what this power shift means for the region, for Israel and for the spread of terrorism.

Those people who trip over themselves to comment on both sides of the issue often lose sight of what is really happening there. From their comments, we can draw parallels to what is happening here. The cry for change has gone viral.

Our own struggle to save the Motion Picture Home's nursing home may be a postscript to the history of the entertainment and health-care industries, if ever mentioned at all. Next to modern-day struggles whose images are blazed into our collective memories — a young Asian student facing down a Chinese tank in Tiananmen Square, or as I watch now — throngs of distressed and disenfranchised Egyptian citizens who seem to be prevailing in spite of their governments un-tethering the social networks and internet access that called them to action.

Our own struggle is miniscule in comparison, but like theirs could have a global effect. Whether you do battle in town squares as rubber bullets and tear gas rain down on you, or in a nursing home where fear and intimidation is all the ammunition needed — it's the result that counts, and who your friends are.

Whether you want to thank the internet, TheWrap, the boys and girls at a powerful law firm, the residents and their families — or maybe all of the above — the intent of our struggle is as clear and as focused as the resolve of that lone student in Tiananmen Square. We drew a line in the sand and demanded that it not be crossed.

The news that Bob Beitcher offered to the Los Angeles Times that intimated talks between the MPTF, Providence and UCLA to "run the hospital and nursing home" appeared much like the news graphic announcing the end of Mubarek's regime. As much as we wanted to break out the champagne and toast to our success, the obviousness of who we were dealing with caused caution to override celebration.

Like the Egyptians and Mubarek, we are dealing with a ruling class that is intimate with the excesses of opulence. Like Mubarek's henchmen who kicked Anderson Cooper's ass, and kept Katie Couric from leaving the Four Seasons Cairo's hotel pool — we are dealing with men who have the power to stifle the Fourth Estate — our press.

Some of you are aware that a 5,000-word story by David Margolick, detailing the state of affairs and struggle of the MPTF to close the long term care facility was unceremoniously dropped from Vanity Fair's current Hollywood Issue. I can tell you that the news of that hurt just as much as a left to the jaw in a back alley of Cairo. The only thing that we knew was that it was written by a celebrated journalist who has a penchant for fair and unbiased reporting, and that it was very 'powerful'.

For those two reasons alone, I can see how that could have been threatening to the precarious situation that Hosni, Jeff and Steve — along with the MPTF board find themselves in.

I hate the expression "at the end of the day" — but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the viability of the continuum of care on the Motion Picture Home campus, and on the future of long term care for the motion picture and television industry. We may not be standing in front of a tank, we are standing in front of something more formidable — our future.

For that reason, I will listen to the knews from Egypt and hope that the shared struggle of those who have not, overcome the selfishness of those who have — and result in a better world.

The battle is not over.

Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.