10 Feb / Frying in Hell
Four years ago I made a film about Florida pastor Terry Jones, who at the time was planning to put the Koran on trial (he ultimately ended up burning it). I also followed a Southern Baptist turned Muslim in a nearby town who was deeply disturbed by the act.
This week, I returned to Florida to make a follow up piece. After the tragic events in Paris, Jones was back in the headlines. He had recently started a food stand in a mall south of Tampa called Fry Guys. The management hadn’t realized who he was when he signed the lease. But after reports were published, including reference to the fact that Jones was recently included in an Al Qaeda hit list, there were concerns the community. It was well known that Jones was armed, and if anything happened there would almost certainly be bullets flying in both directions.
When we went to film with Jones at his stand, we were duly kicked out and threatened with arrest. The manager said that the mall already had a bad enough reputation, referring to its recent loss of a major anchor store and its high vacancy rates, without assholes like us coming and giving this guy more unwarranted attention.
In my defense, the heady mixture of guns, religion and fried food was just too much to pass up.