Thursday, March 22, 2007

Action Letter

March 21, 2007

Dan Glickman
MPAA
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.

Thank you.

Jill Soloway
Lindsey Horvath, Hollywood NOW
Laeta Kalogridis
Michelle Golland
Patti Giggans and J.P. Kinesheda, Peace Over Violence
Julie Hermelin
Andrea Newman
Jennifer Robinson
Marti Noxon Bynum
Elizabeth Dennehy
Heather Repenning



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
Washington, DC
1600 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 293-1966 (main)
(202) 296-7410 (fax)

Los Angeles
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" )

4 comments:

Troy Smith said...

MPAA

Please do not rate the movie Capitivity for reasons of public safety. Watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and all you see everyday is more young women and children being abducted, raped, tortured, murdered. The greedy irresponsible Hollywood media, and Lionsgate Films in particular have a strong impact on society. Why do you think they advertise cigarettes in movies and people start smoking? They show rape, torture and killing of young women and children constantly and of course it happens more and more in real life.

So please protect the public and remove the rating for Captivity.

And force billboard companies to take down their disgusting ads for the movie that are still all over LA. I am sick of seeing that woman's face crying behind bars ready to be tortured and killed. You allow these types of billboards for Hostel II and Captivity all over the city in bus stops and everywhere scaring the hell out of young children and cheapening and degrading our once great city. This type of violent billboard blight has to stop now! Step up and do the right thing! The women and children of America are hoping that you have some guts. Othewise, you at the MPAA are just as guilty as the Hollywood torture porn producers for all the innocent victims of these type of crimes! I hope that you can live with yourselves.

Regards,

Troy Smith
Venice, CA
See articles below:

Parents Television Council

Families across America and myself applaud your work in protecting chlidren from the increasingly sick violent content that is flooding the airwaves.
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I have been fighting against violent content for the past 20 years by writing letters to media outlets, and have been sending letters to Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Charles Schumer, Time Warner Cable, Oprah Winfrey, FCC commisioners and other organizations and leaders to take a stand against excessive violence.

Please continue to speak out about this on the television and cable news shows where people see how damaging this violent programming is to our children and degrades our society and human beings in general.

Please support the FCC recent move to find ways to regulate the violent content and force advertisers to pick what kind of programming that they support. If they are responsible corporate leaders, they will choose not to support the airing of films like Saw, and ads for sick torture movies like Turistas, Hostel, Captivity, etc.

Lionsgate Studios is the biggest pepetratror of torture porn and this studio needs to learn the hard way that this is wrong by having its films rated NC-17 by the MPAA and lose millions of dollars. Parents Television Council also needs to pressure the MPAA to rate violent torture porn films NC-17. These films all eventually make it onto cable, where unsupervised children can easily watch. With the recent VT school shootings, this is a sign that things need to change now. Please take a stand and make this a top priority!

THANKS FOR ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN DO!!

Regards,

Troy Smith
Venice, CA

Please read emails below


FCC Chaiirman

The recent torture ads for "Turistas" showing women being tortured with voiceovers of women begging for the torture to stop on the SciFi Cable Channel are flagrant FCC violations. Children can see this ads causing them fear and anxiety. In addtion, Scifi Channel will be airing the movie "Saw" which has graphic torture scenes that should be rated X.

Please stop the SciFi Channel from airing Saw and the Turistas ads and fine them as much as possible to send a signal to the cable industry that this has got to stop. These films are dangerous and can cause copycat crimes. For example, Ted Bundy was quoted as saying that violent porn films were a major factor in his killing of innocent women before he was executed. Americans are counting on you to do the right thing. This is getting out of control.

Thanks,

Troy Smith
Venice, CA
See articles below

Seriously, though. As a mother with a child only 10-years old, I've discovered commercials during pre-prime time aren't even safe for us to view during the summer and early autumn months. More than once, he's cringed and buried his head to escape the terror-laden promos for the next big slash 'em up. Either that, or he's confronted with thinly veiled sexy dry humping in the trailers shown all over the place. If given the choice, I'd opt for the sex over the gore, but I'm not given the choice and neither is anyone else.

So much for watching TV with your kids, eh?


After Dark and Lionsgate films have been forced to discontinue their marketing campaign for their new Elisha Cuthbert starring torture porn movie Captivity, after an outcry of public disgust and outrage in Los Angeles and New York. The Hollywood Reporter says the campaign included billboards and taxi cab top advertising using pictures of Cuthbert in various stages of imprisonment.

Normally, I’m the first to jump on the freedom of expression band wagon but in this case I’m on the side of the publicly outraged. The posters show, and even glorify the captivity and torture of a woman. Bad enough that we have movies like Hostel and Turistas doing it, but at least those are things people choose to see by walking up to the box office and buying a ticket. When it’s on a billboard, it’s thrust into your life and the lives of your kids whether you want it or not.

Here’s what they had on the posters: One shows Cuthbert’s face being covered by an ominous rubber glove with the caption “Abduction” above it. Another shows her face behind a metal fence, with a bloody finger poking through below the caption “Confinement”. The third depicts Cuthbert’s face covered in white gauze with tubes shoved up her nose beneath the word “Torture”. The fourth and final billboard is titled “Termination” and shows a female body with the head thrown back. Actually, let’s just call it a corpse.

After Dark and Lionsgate have begun removing the ads, but I doubt they mind. Come on, they had to know this would piss people off. It’s standard horror movie marketing these days. You release completely unacceptable marketing materials, wait for people complain about it and stir up controversy (thus getting your film’s name in the papers), and then you do a mea culpa and pull everything. You’ve just gotten your film a ton of publicity and it cost you absolutely nothing. The only surprising thing here is that the MPAA actually approved the billboards, while axing similar marketing materials for other horror movies. Unless the state starts issuing fines for this sort of thing, expect to see the same tactic used again on whatever the next torture porn flick is.

Troy Smith said...

I am assisting with a major campaign to have billboard companies stop posting billboards for torture porn and extremely violent films or lose their lucrative billboard contracts by having City Councils limit their access to our city. I have emailed all major officers at CBS Outdoor. Their email addresses are all listed at CBSoutdoor.com

See my letter to the CEO below. Please assist with the campaign and keep email, calling and informing these corporate executives at the major billboard companies to stop promoting violent media in America and help protect our women and children from violent crime that is increasing. Thanks!!!

The CEO's email address is wally.kelly@cbsoutdoor.com

Mr Kelly,

There are several campaigns getting started to ban billboard advertising in the Santa Monica - Wilshire district of Los Angeles thanks to your putting up torture porn billboards for the Captivity film. You only have to do a Google search to see the incredible depth of public anger at CBS Outdoor for your actions.

To add insult to injury, there are still many Captivity billboards still up that show a young women's face with tears behind bars getting ready to be mutiliated, tortured and killed. There are billboards for the movie Hostel II as well which is a movie where women are kidnapped, tortured, mutilated and killed for the enjoyment of sick people in our society who get a sexual thrill from this torture porn.

You need to remove these violent billboards now - before you lose your lucrative billboard advertising in Los Angeles. There are many City Councils that I have been in touch with ready to ban billboards in their neighborhoods. As CBS Outdoor does not care about public safety or the degrading and cheapening of our city with these ads for violent torture movies, you deserve to lose all your billboard advertising rights. I will work at garnering support from the City Councils of Venice, Santa Monica, Hollywood and other areas and have them start limiting access to billboards.

You need to change your policy and not allow any billboard advertising for extremely violent movies that cause a danger to Americans.

The women and children of America hope that you have some corporate reponsibility and do the right thing!

Regards,

Troy Smith
Venice, CA

anemanda said...

I am so happy to see this "uproar" starting. I am a totally liberal, free thinking woman who is in the entertainment business who relishes freedom of speech and tought. But I have been so disgusted and distrubed by the images such as those noted and I am truly concerned about what they do to not only our children, but to anyone. The violations to women are beyond offensive and chilling.

The "shock value" has been moving us into realms of despair as a culture. I think back to an old presidneitla debate when a candidate was asked about the death penalty something like, "And what if it was your mother or daughter who was raped and killed, how would you feel then?" And I would aks these film makers and marketers the same.What if these horrific images caused the same to someone they knew, or know that they helped fuck up yet one more mind that was weak enough to fall prey to their warped "entertainment."

SRBissette said...

For what it's worth --

I posted a three-part essay on this film and the controversy over the ad campaign:

Part one is here -- http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/recaps-recoveries-christmas-mail-to.html -- scroll down to the beginning of the CAPTIVITY essay;

Part two is here --
http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/cinematic-atrocities-songs-that-have.html

And the conclusion (about the film itself, on its own terms) is here:
http://srbissette.blogspot.com/2007/11/to-see-or-not-to-see-that-is-question.html

Also note the comments on the final post, in which a woman named Bridgett and I discuss the film and controversy further.