TRUMPED: Love VS Money

Anthony Baxter’s documentary “You’ve Been Trumped” unveils the injustice that comes along with big business, while acting as a voice for the people of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Words: Marjua Estevez
Image: Courtesy of Anthony Baxter

Anthony Baxter’s new film You’ve Been Trumped is a shattering chronicle of greed, arrogance and cruelty brought about by an environmental project administered by American tycoon (and almost US Presidential candidate) Donald Trump in Aberdeen, Scotland. The development of this large scale project, specifically a luxury golf course and resort, which commenced back in March of 2006, and its damaging residual effects on the local community (still taking place today) is what Baxter does his best to convey in this 95-minute documentary.

The city of Aberdeen is notably famous for being Scotland’s most vibrant region and highly-touted for it’s superior quality of life for most of its residents. Its lush-green open spaces, natural dunes and vast seawaters draw admirers from around the world; the residents, inevitably, are sincere lovers of their country’s most celebrated area. But what happens when corporate power, money and “the greatest golf course in the world” come into play? Reckless endangerment so to speak. Lasciviously proffering himself before the gods of profit, Donald Trump has embarked on the quest of building one of hundreds of massive golf courses already in Scotland—where golf was invented apparently—right on the natural habitat of wildlife and property of honest, hard-working civilians.

According to the film, Trump initially offered locals a blueprint of his future golf course, detailing his proposed plans: exactly was being built and how. But when the bulldozers began to roll in residents soon realized they were being bamboozled. One particular man, 43-year old Michael Forbes, gave Trump an unwavering “Hell no!” when asked by Trump’s minions to move off the invaluable property. Thus began an usual war of the little people versus the big guys. Claiming to have the “support from the council and political leaders”, what Trump really meant (read: should have said) was that his first proposal attempt to the local Aberdeen government was immediately rejected, in which Scotland’s government then abrogated Aberdeen’s decisions and took the proposition into their own hands.

In case you were wondering, the expansive 1,400 acres of land has now been almost entirely transformed into two 18-hole courses, 450 five-star hotel rooms, golf villas, holiday homes, eight blocks of timeshares and a golf academy. (A golf academy… really? Does Scotland really need a golf academy?)

Once Trump and project developers saw Michael Forbes remain unmoved and quite frankly, resisting the threat to move away from his long-adored farm, barn and fishing area—god forbid one is happy in their “slummish” home (as the Donald labeled it)—the relentless millionaire began to wreak havoc on Forbes’ life. From building a road over Forbes’ water well/supply to manually destroying his barn, Trump sought to stop at nothing to own Forbes’ little corner. Despite stating he didn’t “need Forbes’ property”, Trump constantly and arrogantly reminded Forbes who was in charge.

But it wasn’t until one summer day in 2009 when a humble attempt to change the direction of the golf resort called The March of Menie (named after the lot where Trump’s camp was building) took place. Occupied by no more than 150 people, the movement forced Trump’s hand and inadvertently modified the New Yorker’s plan to sign purchase orders set to remove surrounding homes. Instead Trump simply piled land on top of more land, marring and blocking from view the once magnificent landscape local residents had once cherished.

Now Trump’s plan was simultaneously crippling the surrounding scientific community as well. In 2010, Robert Gordon University added further insult to injury by rewarding Trump with an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration. Dr. David Kennedy, an esteemed and beloved professor who was awarded the same degree years prior, was so infuriated with the lack of consideration taken by the university that he returned his degree with the words “NOT WANTED” affixed on it in black marker. Perhaps it was because the Menie Estate, the setting for Trump’s course, is Scotland’s equivalent to the Amazon rain forest, according to Dr. Jim Hanson, a Geomorphologist from the University of Glasgow. Or that the area was originally designated a “Site of Special Scientific Interest”. And while Trump gloated about “creating thousands of jobs” for the city, Aberdeen’s unemployment rate at the time was a whopping 1.3 percent, and the Donald’s contractor, who is Irish, consistently used a crew largely made up of immigrants.

But this ordeal begs the question: why wasn’t legal help offered to the local residents who were forcibly uprooted from their homes? Maybe it had something do with all of Aberdeen’s officials—the police included— suckling at the teat of money. Or perhaps it was the fact that Molley Forbes, 86, lost a preliminary trial against Trump’s team and left the courtroom with even less than she walked in with. A more realistic answer, perhaps no one, save the residents, found it worth their while.

Anthony Baxter, filmmaker and nearby resident, shot this documentary to enlighten the world about Aberdeen’s plight. He simply believed it was his responsibility to shed light on the issue. And yet, he too was rejected by authorities including environmental protection agencies and human’s rights organizations. Still, Baxter’s film offers an initiative to bring injustice to a media forefront. And if you care anything about the world you live in or what big business might be doing in your own backyard, see You’ve Been Trumped. Like, now.

Anthony Braxter’s You’ve Been Trumped is expected to debut nationally in the US later this year. For more information on the film, visit the official site HERE.

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