Strong opinions by actor Val Kilmer seem to have sparked controversy between his New Mexico neighbors, causing real estate problems for his project to turn his ranch into a hotel.
Neighbors are attempting to block Batman star Val Kilmer and his project to turn his 6,000-acre New Mexico ranch into an upscale bed-and-breakfast as residents are still upset about the actor's "incendiary" comments in past magazine interviews, the New York Daily News reports.
Some argue that his comments have created a clear and present danger, threatening public safety.
The New Mexico ACLU disagrees and has taken on the case. The group is supporting Val Kilmer's right to free speech and his constitutional democracy.
In addition, the ACLU says that actor Val Kilmer has every right to share his opinions without fear that his permits would be held hostage or challenges arising from real estate problems.
But residents are demanding an apology after Val Kilmer was quoted in a 2003 Rolling Stone interview saying his neighborhood was "the homicide capital of the Southwest" and that "80 percent of the people in my county are drunk."
In an interview with Esquire the actor was quoted saying disparaging comments about Vietnam veterans as "borderline criminal or poor ... wretched kids" who only served in the military because they "got beat up by their dads" or "couldn't finagle a scholarship."
As a result, there have been protests by area residents and veterans, demanding an official apology before permits for his project can go forward.
Val Kilmer has said that he was misquoted in the interviews.
A commission hearing is scheduled for later this month and Val Kilmer is expected to be there.
In the meantime, the ACLU is working to get the issue resolved while ensuring that the actor's First Amendment rights are properly respected.