PELLA, Iowa -- Sarah Palin stared a bit uncomfortably at a movie screen Tuesday night watching a montage of Matt Damon, David Letterman, Madonna, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and other celebrities malign her, then asked The Hollywood Reporter: "What would make someone be so full of hate?"
Palin was in Pella, Iowa, at the premiere of a documentary about her called The Undefeated, which opens with several minutes of Hollywood entertainers using some of the most vulgar language imaginable to express their displeasure with the former vice presidential candidate. Some appear genuinely angry, and director Steve Bannon cuts to news footage twice in the film of Palin being hung in effigy.
After the movie, as throngs of supporters and reporters clamored for attention, THR asked her: "In the first 10 minutes where all the celebrities are trashing you, how do you respond to something like that?"
Palin said she hadn't seen or heard much of the TV and radio footage before seeing it in the movie, which bleeped some of the dirtier language, though it was easy to determine what the entertainers were saying, including lots of profane references to the female anatomy.
"This is the first that I've seen much of that. It kind of takes you back," she told THR. "It makes you want to reach out to some of these folks and say, What's your problem? And what was the problem? And what is the problem?
"What would make a celebrity, like you saw on screen, so hate someone that they'd seek their destruction, their death, the death of their children? What would make someone be so full of hate and, I guess, a sense of being threatened that they would want to see that person destroyed?"
The movie begins with Sen. John McCain introducing his running mate, then quickly cuts to the Hollywood sign, and the music turns ominous. A TV news anchor says, "Hollywood has a new favorite pastime: taking aim at Sarah Palin."
Then the celebrity montage begins: Damon likens Palin to a "really bad Disney movie" and says she's "really scary"; Letterman attacks her, and the discourse descends in to the filthy from there. Maher insults her on his TV show, Madonna screams obscenities about her while on stage, and comedians use graphic, severely bleeped language to describe Palin and the intensity with which they "hate her."
When the montage is through, the screen goes dark and a Bible verse comes into focus: "By their fruits ye shall know them."
As things got pushy with the media and the rest of the crowd and a security detail got more aggressive in protecting the former governor of Alaska, THR asked if she intended on defending herself against future celebrity barbs.
"I think the movie does that for me. But you know, there's never really a venue that absolutely lets somebody set the record straight. I mean, there are so many false narratives about me, about Todd, about our kids, about my record, about my team that has worked so hard together, that there's never gonna be a way to absolutely set the record straight."