(NaturalNews) The mainstream media and cinema have ways of making real life heroes out of those who never really were heroes in real life.
A current example is a movie getting rave reviews, Captain Phillips, in which Tom Hanks portrays real life Captain Richard Philips as dedicated, calm and courageous during a hijacking by Somalian pirates in dangerous waters off the coast of Somalia in 2009.
Captain Phillips' real life charge, container cargo ship Maersk Alabama, was the first USA cargo ship to have been hijacked in 200 years.
Hollywood distortions and fake heroes
Hollywood, there is a problem. Almost all of the crew members who are not bound by non-disclosure agreements have asserted that nearly the entire movie version is a lie.
After the real life hijacking, 11 of them had filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. alleging "willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety."
The key witness for the defense is Captain Phillips himself, whom most of the crew described as arrogant and reckless. They assert his actions were what had put the ship and its crew in jeopardy. During that three week time period, 16 pirate attacks on unarmed cargo vessels had occurred with eight hostages taken.
They claimed Phillips had seen and disregarded many memos urging maritime ships to stay at least 600 miles from the Somali coast. The crew pleaded with Phillips to do just that. But he refused, claiming he wouldn't be intimidated by rag-tag pirates.
Officially, the ship was 235 miles off the coast when it was boarded. In real life interviews, Captain Phillips claimed it was 300 miles at first then changed that to him not being sure of the distance. Not sure, captain?
Phillips asserts he was dedicated to a route that would assure faster cargo delivery. But the crew claims he went way off course once.
All 16 pirate attacks had been charted completely with dates and locations to indicate where the danger was most imminent. The suit alleges Phillips was well aware of those charts, because the crew's officers had shown him them repeatedly.
The plaintiffs in this suit also claim that Phillips openly disregarded suggestions on what to do when pirates got too close, which was to shut off all lights and power and lock themselves below decks until armed help from a Navy vessel arrived.
At the time of the successful hijacking approach, the second attempt in 18 hours, the crew was being forced by Phillips to do an unnecessary fire drill on deck.
When the pirates got close enough, and it appeared that they would board, a few of the crew mutinied and went below decks into the engine room. There they stayed for several hours in 130 degree heat.
While Phillips and a few others were being held at gunpoint in the ship's bridge, another officer captured one of the pirates and offered the pirate back if they would leave without Phillips.
But the movie has Captain Phillips offering himself in order to protect his crew. While it's true that Captain Phillips was taken hostage and later rescued by a Navy Seal team, the crew maintains his capture was the result of a botched exchange attempt.
The pirates simply reneged on the exchange, grabbed Phillips and sped off. After all, none of the crew was armed and the pirates were.
So enjoy the movie if you want. Just keep in mind that, according to the crew, Tom Hank's Captain Phillips is probably not the real deal, and the official celebration of his heroism is at least overdone.
As a former crew member mentioned to NY Post reporter Maureen Callahan, Captain Phillips' reputation as arrogant and sullen has been known for 12 years, and "no one wants to sail with him."