Ex-Ambassador Again Slams 'Argo' for Canada Snub

Erik Hayden
February 23, 2013
Ex-Ambassador Again Slams 'Argo' for Canada Snub

After Argo debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Ben Affleck tweaked the ending to add a postscript emphasizing that the freeing of six hostages in Iran was a complementary effort between the CIA and the Canadian embassy. That credit wasn't enough for the former Canadian ambassador who played a role in those 1979 events.

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In interviews with multiple news outlets, former ambassador Ken Taylor stated that his countrymen aren't receiving their due in the Hollywood adaptation -- and he hopes Affleck mentions Canada if he gives an Oscar acceptance speech this Sunday.  

"I would hope he would. If he doesn't then it's a further reflection," Taylor told the Associated Press. He also explained: "In general [Argo] makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride. The Canadians were brave. Period."

Taylor also spoke with The New York Times, saying to the newspaper: "It’s a great film, it’s great. But at the same time it was a Canadian story that’s been, all of sudden, totally taken over by the Americans. Totally."

In the film, Affleck plays CIA agent Tony Mendez, who devises a fake Star Wars-style science fiction film as a cover to usher six hostages safely out of Iran. 

Taylor's critique arrives on the weekend of the Academy Awards, where Argo is nominated in seven categories and is a top contender for the Best Picture prize. Affleck responded in an email to the Times about the criticism by mentioning that he believed the ambassador's issues with the film were resolved.

"To be honest, I was surprised to hear that Ken still has issues about the film as the last time we had contact was a few weeks ago when Ken asked me to narrate a documentary about the Iran hostage crisis that he is prominently featured in," the Argo director wrote to the newspaper. 

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Taylor's concerns were shared by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who diplomatically considered the film and recalled the Iran hostage crisis -- which occurred during his term in office -- in a Thursday CNN interview. 

Carter stated that although he hoped Argo took home the Best Picture award, he expressed that, "Ben Affleck's character in the film was only -- he was only in -- stayed in Iran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process."

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