BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) Top executives of Hollywood’s studios and unions met behind closed doors yesterday with a senior White House official to discuss the entertainment industry and the war on terrorism.
Participants emerged with warm mutual praise but few specifics. They said they talked about Hollywood helping to produce public service announcements and about studios providing first-run movies for troops in the field.
But they emphasized there was no discussion of altering the content of movies or television shows to respond to world events.
“Content was off the table,” Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said at a news conference. “Directors, writers, producers, studios will determine the kind of pictures they choose to make and the compelling stories they want to tell.”
“It’s clear that the leaders of the industry have ideas about how they want to contribute to the war effort, and we certainly want to encourage that,” said Karl Rove, a senior adviser to President Bush. “These people, like every other American, feel strongly about the events of September 11 and the need to see this war through to its victorious conclusion.”
The meeting drew the chiefs of Hollywood’s biggest studios and the heads of its major unions.
“All of us in the industry have an incredible urge to do something,” said Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing.
Entertainment officials had met several weeks earlier with lower-level government officials to brainstorm about ideas, which included producing documentaries on the anthrax threat and fostering better understanding of the United States overseas.
The meetings had political and economic undertones. Republican administrations rarely enjoy close relationships with Hollywood, which routinely raises millions of dollars for Democratic candidates.
And the entertainment industry has come under fire for marketing violent movies, music and video games to children. Congress has periodically threatened to turn regulation of the industry over to the Federal Trade Commission, which has been highly critical of Hollywood’s marketing efforts.