Add new comment

Comment: 

It's worth carefully reading what Disney CEO Bob Iger and their General Counsel said about smoking in movies and the MPAA at their annual meeting:
 
<strong;The Walt Disney Company Annual Meeting, San Francisco, March 12, 2015</strong;
Official audio recording available at http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/uvuz3kf4";http://edge.media-server.com/....
&nbsp;
(Time 53 min: 12 sec) <strong;Gina Intinarelli</strong;: My name is Gina [Intinarelli-]Shuler. I’m a shareholder, I live in San Francisco, I’m also a critical care nurse. I’ve been a nurse for 25 years and I have taken care of thousands of patients who have died of tobacco-related diseases. &nbsp;We know that the Surgeon General produced a report in 2012 that showed conclusively that if children are exposed to smoking images in movies it will cause them to begin smoking.&nbsp; Any of us who have known smokers or have known people that have died from smoking know that they started when they were young.&nbsp; Disney has a policy to discourage smoking in youth rated films, but between 2008 and 2013 about 9% of all smoking images shown to children were from Disney studios.&nbsp; However, in 2014 and so far this year there have been no smoking images in any Disney films [applause]. &nbsp;This shows a commitment to real corporate responsibility to children’s future health.&nbsp; However, [for Disney’s] Marvel studios, you may not know, 43% of their youth rated movies show smoking. <strong;<em;So, Mr. Iger, I ask if you will be willing to change the world and commit to an iron-clad policy that your PG13 and youth rated films never show smoking in them. </em;</strong;
&nbsp;
<strong;Robert Iger</strong;: Well, the answer to that is “yes.” I will commit to that, we are extending our policy to prohibit smoking in movies across the board, Marvel, Lucas, Pixar, Disney films, except when we are depicting an historical figure who may have smoked at the time of his life. So for instance, if we were doing a movie on Abraham Lincoln, he was a smoker, then we would consider that acceptable. But in terms of any new characters that are created under any of those labels we would absolutely prohibit smoking in any of those films.
&nbsp;
(intervening question)
&nbsp;
(time 58 min: 58 sec) <strong;Stanton Glantz</strong;: My name is Stanton Glantz. I’m a Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco and have been working on the issue of smoking in the movies for a long time. I’d first like to thank you for the unequivocal statement about getting smoking out of youth rated films that Disney produces and distributes. &nbsp;I would point out that the policy that you have on your website isn’t as strong as what you just said and would hope that you would see that they are brought into sync.&nbsp; My question is:&nbsp; The CDC has estimated that an R rating for smoking in movies would save a million kids’ lives among kids alive today in the United States, <strong;<em;will Disney take a public position in support of an industry-wide standard of an R rating for smoking and use its seat on the MPAA to push for an industry-wide level playing field policy that would essentially institutionalize the policy that you just outlined, since we do&nbsp; think an exception for actual historical figures who actually smoked is appropriate?</em;</strong;
&nbsp;
<strong;Iger</strong;: First of all, I will make sure that the policy that is described on our website reflects the policy that I just articulated.&nbsp; The policy that I articulated was amended within the last 48 hours, actually it would be broader than the policy that we had because I thought it was the right thing for us to do.
&nbsp;
We are a member of the MPAA, however, we don’t get involved in how the MPAA applies ratings to films. &nbsp;They do that independent of us and occasionally we lobby with them on how they’ve rated some of our films but we certainly don’t get involved in how they rate the films of other studios nor do we really try to influence what the policies are of the other studios that we compete with.&nbsp; We just like to think that we have a responsibility to shareholders of the company and to customers around the world and we like to behave in a very, very responsible way in that regard as evidenced by the policy that I outlined.&nbsp; So I doubt that you are going to get much support from us on lobbying the MPAA to put an R rating on films that have smoking.&nbsp; &nbsp;I think it would be a little bit presumptuous of me to commit to doing that today without getting a little bit more of a flavor or perspective on the dynamic that exists at the MPAA on the subject. I’m just not well versed in that. I don’t know what positions the other studios have even taken about this.
&nbsp;
<strong;Glantz</strong;: We have had meetings with the MPAA and they’ve told us to go to the studios because it’s the studios that sit on the [MPAA] board and make the policies. &nbsp;So the MPAA actually is why I’m asking you this question, because the MPAA has told a wide range of health groups and representatives and groups like the American&nbsp; Academy of Pediatrics that it is really up to the studios to make the policy and the MPAA is just implementing the policies that the six studios on the board establish.&nbsp; So it’s a little bit back and forth.
&nbsp;
<strong;Iger</strong;: I think there might be nuance there.&nbsp; It’s up to the studios to make policy regarding their own standards and the films that they create as I describe for Disney. &nbsp;I don’t believe it’s up to the studios to set ratings policy for the MPAA. &nbsp;They determine how they apply ratings independent really of even the six board members that sit on the MPAA. &nbsp;I’ll inquire to see if I am accurate in that regard. &nbsp;Alan &nbsp;[Braverman, Disney General &nbsp;Counsel]&nbsp; …
&nbsp;
<strong;Glantz</strong;: The board doesn’t rate [individual] movies but the rules for rating, the policies that are implemented in the ratings, the MPAA has told us, are determined by the board of directors of the MPAA and then implemented by the MPAA.
&nbsp;
<strong;Iger</strong;: Our General Counsel Alan Braverman is here and he is one of our representatives on the MPAA board.&nbsp; Alan, you have a microphone …
&nbsp;
<strong;Alan Braverman</strong;: It’s a separate group than the MPAA board.&nbsp; It’s a separate group that administers the ratings in an independent fashion. I think the best way to close out this conversation is to take the point to the group that administers the ratings because there is a dynamic that goes on within that group and the purpose of that rating organization was to set up an entity independent of the studios to apply a series of ratings to the studio productions so that studios were not engaged themselves in self-rating their own content.
&nbsp;
<strong;Iger</strong;: We will make sure that we communicate at least to the board of the MPAA that this came up at our shareholders meeting and you brought it up.
&nbsp;
<strong;Glantz</strong;: I’d appreciate an opportunity later for some more detailed discussions because I think the MPAA is talking out of both sides of its mouth and the result is that a million kids are going to die unnecessarily.
&nbsp;
<strong;Iger</strong;: It’s a serious issue, I agree with you.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.