The producer of one of the most financially successful political documentaries of all time, "2016: Obama's America," says a controversy involving the film's co-director and star, Dinesh D'Souza, is a personal relationship issue and should not be used to discredit the film.
On Tuesday, World Magazine reported that D'Souza, a Christian author, filmmaker and president of The King's College in New York, stayed at a hotel with a woman who was not Dixie, his wife, during an apologetics conference in South Carolina last month. D'Souza spoke at the conference, and reportedly introduced the woman to some people as his fiancée.
Gerald Molen, the producer of "2016," told The Hollywood Reporter that people should give D'Souza and his wife "the space to deal with their personal matters."
"Their personal challenges have nothing to do with our film," said Molen. "We reject any attempts to use this sensitive personal matter in any way to discredit the film, which stands on its own."
The woman who was with D'Souza at the two-day conference was Denise Odie Joseph II. When confronted by conference organizer Alex McFarland about the hotel stay with Joseph, D'Souza told him "nothing happened," World Magazine reports.
D'Souza filed for divorce from his wife of 20 years on Oct. 4, and, following a special conference call with the Board of Trustees of The King's College concerning the situation, he told World Magazine, "I have decided to suspend the engagement." The board was previously aware of some of D'Souza's relationship woes, but the magazine's report revealed things they didn't know, which prompted the conference call.
"Although I had no knowledge of Dinesh's personal life, none of us is above reproach and we all need a Savior. I will continue to pray for him and help point him toward living the godly life he's always lived," Alex McFarland, who organized the apologetics conference, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement Wednesday.
D'Souza is the best-selling author of What's So Great About Christianity and The Roots of Obama's Rage, the book which provided the basis for the "2016" film. The film, which has been called an "Obama-hate" film by some of President Barack Obama's supporters, has been popular but mired in controversy since its release.
In a September blog post, D'Souza said an apology from The Associated Press was owed to him after he accused the news agency of publishing an inaccurate report on the facts in the film. He described the AP report as a "crude and inaccurate attack masquerading as a news story. Questions were also raised by the filmmakers about potential conspiracies designed to keep people from seeing the movie in theaters. At one point, D'Souza said the film's opponents were trying to keep people from supporting it in theaters by spreading rumors that it would air on the Fox News Channel, even though the filmmakers had made no agreement with the network at the time.
The film has brought in a domestic box office total of over $33.4 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and, according to a statement, on Tuesday the film became the top-selling movie on Amazon.com in the same day it was released to DVD.