WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project filed a lawsuit Thursday to compel the Biden administration and the Department of Defense (DOD) to produce all records concerning screenings of the movie “Sound of Freedom” after DOD’s U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) abruptly canceled a screening without explanation earlier this year.
“Sound of Freedom” depicts the horrors of sex trafficking and efforts to rescue children from sex trafficking in the Americas and the Caribbean. “As SOUTHCOM routinely works with partners in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, it has a vested interest in ensuring that its personnel are well aware of issues surrounding human trafficking in the region,” the lawsuit states.
This lawsuit comes after DOD refused to comply with the Oversight Project’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the same documents.
Eduardo Verástegui, producer of “Sound of Freedom,” commented on the filing:
“I made ‘Sound of Freedom’ to raise awareness of the rampant sex trafficking in children happening throughout Latin America and the United States with the goal of ending this modern-day slave trade. Because SOUTHCOM’s brave soldiers work to break up the transnational criminal organizations responsible for drug and sex-trafficking into the U.S., we wanted to inspire and thank them for their service by offering a private screening on base.
“We made it 100% clear that there are no copyright concerns with SOUTHCOM hosting the movie while it was in theaters, and additionally offered to send the filmmakers to meet the troops at the screening. In fact, if needed, I am willing to get on a plane tomorrow with Tim Ballard, the real-life hero of the movie, to deliver a copy of the film to the troops so they can be re-energized in their efforts to combat child sex-trafficking in the Americas.
“To our bewilderment, SOUTHCOM leadership has rejected our offer for three different, shifting, and unconvincing reasons and we appreciate the Oversight Project’s efforts to get to the bottom of it. We are hopeful this matter will be resolved soon so that the troops can gather together and be touched like the tens of millions of other Americans and people around the world who have seen this film and are saying with one voice that God’s children are not for sale.”