The Latest Dixie Chicks Flap: Censorship or Publicity Stunt?
Mon, 30 Oct 2006 10:08:33
Movie executive Harvey Weinstein claims that two American television networks -- NBC and CW -- have rejected commercials for the new Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up and Sing because they are "disparaging to President Bush." The networks, however, claim that Weinstein is simply pulling a publicity stunt to get more people to see the movie, which chronicles the female trio's struggles after they outraged the country music community by declaring their opposition to Bush and his policies.
Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co. is distributing the film, issued a press release last week announcing the networks' boycott. "It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America," Weinstein said in the release. "The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticising the president is profoundly un-American."
Spokespeople for NBC and CW, however, insist that they never intended to boycott the ads. NBC's head of standards and practices, Alan Wurtzel, says the network was in a dialogue with the Weinstein Co. over the content of the ads, when Weinstein issued his press release. "There was no attempt to come back and have a conversation," Wurtzel said. He speculated that Weinstein felt the negative publicity would be more effective than the ads themselves. "There are times when some advertisers get more publicity for getting their ad rejected."
CW, for its part, claims that they were never even approached for a national ad buy for the Shut Up and Sing campaign.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff