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‘American Hustle’ falsely quoted me saying the microwave is bad, renowned science writer says


Investigative science writer and author Paul Brodeur got quickly heated when he saw the scene in “American Hustle” where Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) tells Irving (Christian Bale) that his “science oven,” her own words for the newfangled microwave, takes the nutrition out of food — then quotes a magazine article “by Paul Brodeur.”

“I have never written an article — either in the New Yorker where I was a staff writer for nearly forty years, or anywhere else for that matter, or ever declared in any way that a microwave oven ‘takes all the nutrition out of food,’” Brodeur wrote in a typed letter U.S.-mailed to TheWrap (see below).

Brodeur, now 82, sent the letter from his home in Tavarnier, Fla., in response to a Nov. 15 post on TheWrap featuring a clip of the scene. In it, Rosalyn blows up her new microwave oven by cooking a tinfoil-covered casserole dish; after putting out the fire, she berates Irving for bringing the device into their home.

ROSALYN: “You know, I read that it takes all of the nutrition out of our food. It’s empty, just like your deals. Empty, empty.”

IRVING: “That’s bullshit.”

ROSALYN: “It’s not bullshit. I read it in an article. (She hands him the magazine, which he reads). Look, by Paul Brodeur.”

Brodeur began as a staff writer at the New Yorker in the late 1950s, where he wrote for decades about the health hazards of asbestos, household detergents, ozone layer depletion and — yes, microwave radiation. But he swears he wasn’t picking on our “science ovens.”

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“Indeed, I have publicly stated the opposite,” he wrote. “Moreover, there is no scientific support for such a statement. The World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration have declared that there is no adverse effect upon food cooked in a microwave oven.”

Brodeur says his attorney has written a letter to the producers of “American Hustle” suggesting that by “attributing a scientifically unsupportable statement to me they have defamed me and damaged my reputation.”

We presume that letter was also typed, signed and U.S.-mailed. We appreciate the note, but suggest that next time Brodeur wants to reach us, he uses the science-mail.