CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK)- West Virginia has hit the big screen once again, this time in the movie “Dark Waters” but not everyone is a fan of the feature film.
Mark Ruffalo stars in the movie as an attorney representing a farmer who believes his livestock is dying after drinking water contaminated by PFAS. PFAS are a synthetic chemical and were being made at nearby DuPont. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform held a committee meeting on PFAS, which Ruffalo attended. This sparked a group of republican House Delegates wrote a letter condemning the movie and how it portrays the mountain state.
“We wanted them to know that their portrayal of West Virginians in that movie, that this gentleman is starring is portrays us in a light that we don’t think is fair,” said Del. Amy Summers, (R) Taylor, Majority Leader.
Summers wrote the letter with other house republicans signing it. In the letter she says “We do not need Hollywood casting West Virginia as filled with simpletons or dullards. We are hard-working men and women who are fully aware of the challenges our state faces.”
Critics have been quick to point out that some who signed the letter, also voted for a controversial bill that many said allows more chemicals into West Virginia’s water. House Bill 2506 was nicknamed the “Cancer Creek Bill”.
“I think we should be less concerned with movies about contaminated drinking water, than we are with actual contaminated drinking water,” said Delegate Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.
Summers defended her voting record, including the vote for HB 2506 saying, “…we have lots of restrictions on chemicals for water in West Virginia… the DEP does a great job.”
But Pushkin says it’s not movies that are giving West Virginia bad national press, it’s lawmakers.
“One of the biggest problems in West Virginia I believe is our negative stereotype the way people see us outside the state. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that are said on the floor of the House, bills introduced only further that stereotype,” said Del. Pushkin.