The last time Mark Cuban weighed in on national politics, he was telling his fellow multi-millionaires to suck it up and pay higher taxes. “It’s not a bad thing for people at my level of wealth to pay more taxes,” he told ABC News in March. “There’s a price for success. There’s a limit, I think, on what we should pay, but you gotta pay, right? Someone’s gotta pay for the roads, someone’s gotta pay for the miltary.”
It sounded a lot like what Barack Obama would later say in Roanoke, Va. And it lends some surprise to Cuban’s newest move:helping to distribute the new Citizens United documentary Occupy Unmasked, directed by Steve Bannon. It’s the first film he’s offered to help since 2007, when he got behind the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change. His rationale then sounded like his rationale now: He wants the public to be able to see “controversial” films.
“I had known that,” says Citizens United President David Bossie, “I was always wondering whether he’d end up backing the movie, because people get nervous about getting on the wrong side of a political football you’re on. They worry about turning off markets.”
But Cuban saw the movie and liked it. After being contacted by Citizens United, he referred the organization to Magnolia Pictures, who also loved what Bossie refers to as “Andrew Breitbart’s last work.” And Breitbart used to be on the left. So did at least two other people who worked on the film. Lee Stranahan, formerly of the Huffington Post, now calls himself a “Breitbartian conservative.” Brandon Darby, an anarchist activist who became an FBI informant, appears at conservative events to describe the machinations of the far left.
“It’s an interesting marriage,” says Bossie. “Cuban’s history is not one of being a conservative. From the media standpoint, certainly, he’s not considered a conservative. But there will be liberals who watch this film and get revolted. What Occupy is about, the level of violence, the level of destruction, the desire to tear down the very fabric of America – they don’t support that.”
Occupy Unmasked will be played in some proximity to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. “We’ll see if the critics have the courage to boycott [partly-owned-by-Cuban] Landmark Theaters because what this guy is doing,” says Bossie.