Charity pulls support from film honoring fallen SEALs
By DIANNA CAHN | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: May 23, 2015
(Tribune News Service) — After coming under pressure over its involvement with a documentary about fallen Navy SEALs, the charity Wounded Wear announced Friday that it is distancing itself from the project in deference to the wishes of family members.
Dispute over distribution of the film led to a fallout between participants in the project. In March, four Wounded Wear board members resigned, partly because of the way the charity was handling its involvement with the film. The Chesapeake-based organization, created by wounded Navy SEAL Jason Redman, supports military members injured in combat.
"While we believe in the original intent of the 'Until it Hurts' documentary, as long as the concerns of the families portrayed in this film are not properly addressed, Wounded Wear cannot and will not support this project," the charity said in a statement.
The Until It Hurts project began as a piece of art created by another wounded former SEAL, Dave Hall, honoring his fallen brethren after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. On Sept. 11, 2012, Hall fired 79 bullets into a target and worked with an artist to turn the target into art, surrounding it with newspaper clippings and the names of the men being honored.
Hall donated the piece to Wounded Wear to be auctioned. Wounded Wear supporter Todd Grubbs made the winning bid and created a documentary about the piece, with the support and involvement of Hall and Redman, who is now retired.
After the film's completion, the participants butted heads. The film won an international distribution deal, and Hall objected to the way Redman and Grubbs were handling the release and distribution. Some family members of the fallen, known as Gold Star families, objected as well.
In February, four Wounded Wear board members resigned, including the chairman, deputy and treasurer. During the filming, Redman and Grubbs became good friends, and Redman hired Grubbs' wife, Stephanie, to work for him at his private company and also at Wounded Wear. Wounded Wear sponsored the film and lent its logo to film documents without the board's approval, according to the former board members.
In March, Hall sued Wounded Wear, Jason Redman and his wife, Erica, and the Grubbses, alleging that Grubbs won the auction unfairly and that the proceeds did not reach Gold Star families.
In the statement released Friday, Wounded Wear said it "vehemently disagrees with the negative allegations made by Halls in the lawsuit" but said it continues to support wounded warriors like Hall.
Grubbs, contacted by telephone, said he's still not clear what the objections are to the distribution. He insisted that the production company always planned to give proceeds to Gold Star families. He and his wife have poured thousands of dollars into the film, he said. "If these people think they are going to make me a target, it's not going to happen," Grubbs said.
He added that he was in Washington, where he was walking 79 miles around the capital to raise money for Gold Star children — a mile for each SEAL named on the artwork.
"I just kept moving forward, and everyone else wants to keep fighting," he said.
Wounded Wear noted in its statement that distribution of the film is moving forward "despite the concerns of the Gold Star family members, who are the persons this documentary is supposed to honor and support."
"While Wounded Wear appreciates all the support Mr. Grubbs and his company, Twist Salon, have provided to Wounded Wear in the past, neither Wounded Wear nor Jason and Erica Redman can support the 'Until it Hurts' documentary unless it also has the support of the Gold Star family members featured in it," the statement said.
(c)2015 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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