Hollywood Is Chided For N.Y. Subway Attack
HOLLYWOOD is feeling the heat again.
Senate majority leader Bob Dole and New York police officials have faulted moviemakers for depicting violence in films that can incite violence on the streets after a subway token booth was set on fire Nov. 26.
The attack, in which two men squeezed a flammable liquid into a subway booth and ignited it, resembled scenes in the movie ''Money Train.'' The booth blew up, burning the clerk inside.
''To say that a movie 'caused' this senseless act in Brooklyn gives it a logic and dignity it does not deserve and cannot have,'' Senator Dole said in a speech from the Senate floor Nov. 27.
''But at the same time, those who work in Hollywood's corporate suites must also be willing to accept their share of the blame.'' He suggested people express their anger by boycotting ''Money Train.''
Dole's comments echoed those made by New York Police Commissioner William Bratton and city transit officials. Dole caused a stir last spring with sharp criticism of sex and violence in movies and TV shows.
BUT there have been at least nine similar attacks in the past five years in the city, long before ''Money Train'' opened over the weekend, says transit chief Kenneth Donohue. In most of those cases no one was seriously injured, little damage was done, and the robbers were arrested. In a 1988 case, a token-booth clerk died after a firebombing.
A statement from Columbia Pictures, which released the film, said its makers were ''appalled and dismayed'' by the fire. But a Columbia spokesman, Ed Russell, wouldn't comment on whether the studio acknowledged a possible connection.
''Money Train'' joins a long list of movies and TV shows that some say have inspired copycat acts of violence or recklessness. Other examples include:
* October 1994: Police say a Utah teenager obsessed with ''Natural Born Killers,'' about young people on a murder spree, killed his stepmother and half sister.
* October 1993: One youth was killed and two others were critically injured in Pennsylvania and on New York's Long Island when they were run over while imitating a stunt in the movie ''The Program.''
* August 1993: Three Ohio girls ignited aerosol spray to set fire to a bedroom, using a technique shown on the TV show ''Beavis and Butt-head.''