March 21, 2007
15503 Ventura Boulevard
Encino, CA 91436
Dear Mr. Glickman,
We are writing to you to ask that the MPAA take meaningful action against filmmakers Courtney Solomon and After Dark by removing the rating for the film Captivity, to be distributed in home video by Lions Gate, as a consequence of its recent offensive and unapproved ad campaign.
Solomon and After Dark created billboards with a woman in four stages of degradation, with the words ABDUCTION, CONFINEMENT, TORTURE and TERMINATION across four graphic images of actress Elisha Cuthbert gagged, caged, encased in a mask with tubes draining blood from her nostrils, and finally, laying backwards dead, her breast highlighted for maximum effect. This imagery was on display in front of millions, all over Los Angeles and New York, often visible from schoolyards, for eight days.
As you know, the MPAA expressly did not approve this campaign at an in-person meeting the week prior to the billboards' appearance. The MPAA's stated consequence for violating their rules is the removal of a film's rating. We ask that you withhold a rating for Captivity to send a clear signal that advertisers will face serious consequences if they promote their films with images of violence and misogyny in public spaces. Without a rating, After Dark will not be able to show the film in American theaters, causing a loss of revenue-the only consequence that is truly meaningful to studios and advertisers.
To be clear, we do not wish to limit freedom of expression, nor stop these types of films from being made. We believe in First Amendment rights, but we believe withholding a rating is an entirely appropriate response to this outrageous violation of basic public standards of decency.
This incident has reaffirmed our belief that all R- and X-rated imagery should be prohibited from public spaces, such as billboards and bus and taxi cards. If people under 17 cannot see these images in movie theaters, they certainly should not see them on the street. Filmgoers have a right to watch whatever they like in theaters or in the privacy of their homes, but as marketers try to push limits and skirt authority in an effort to generate attention, we must draw a line.
Lindsey Horvath, Hollywood NOW
Patti Giggans and J.P. Kinesheda, Peace Over Violence
Marti Noxon Bynum
MPAA CONTACT INFO
Remember: these folks tried to stop this from going up. We're asking them to ally with us in assuring there's a meaningful consequence to the CAPTIVITY billboards.
Motion Picture Association of America
Office of the Chairman and CEO
1600 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 293-1966 (main)
(202) 296-7410 (fax)
15503 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, California 91436
(818) 995-6600 (main)
(818) 382-1795 (fax)
Email address: Advertising@MPAA.org
(For all emails, please put in subject line "CAPTIVITY BILLBOARDS/REMOVE THE RATING" )