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The Motion Picture Association of America has never been a very popular organization. Film sites like this one have been calling for its dissolution for more than a decade now, but in the past few weeks their mainstream public profile has gotten even worse. It’s safe to say that after their support of widely decried censorship legislation like SOPA and PIPA, for a growing number of people, they’ve just become public enemy #1.
Things really came to a head last week when MPAA head Chris Dodd went on Fox News and, in essence, threatened top stop payoffs to politicians who refused to do his bidding. Here’s what he said in case you missed our previous report:
Those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.
There’s some debate as to whether this meets the legal qualifications necessary to begin an investigation for bribery, but most seem to agree that it definitely meets all of the moral ones. The public wants answers. So where did they turn? To the Obama administration. And now the Obama administration has, in essence, told everyone to forget it.
Last week we told you here about a petition started on the Whitehouse website asking the Obama administration to investigate the possibility that the MPAA may be bribing politicians to get their way. The petition was filed as part of a special program created by the Whitehouse to bring transparency in government. In theory any petition started there is supposed to be answered, should it receive the requisite number of signatures. This particular petition rapidly received far more than the required number and now the Obama administration has responded. They’ve responded by saying they aren’t going to comment.
Here’s the full Whitehouse response :
Thank you for signing this petition. We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on Whitehouse.gov. However, consistent with the We the People Terms of Participation and our responses to similar petitions in the past, the White House declines to comment on this petition because it requests a specific law enforcement action.
Most expected a response like this, and the truth is that the Whitehouse’s "petition the government" tool is really little more than a PR excercise. They tend to pick and choose which questions they want to answer, regardless of whether or not the petition gets enough signatures to get an answer. They were bound to find a loophole somewhere.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it doesn’t matter. The Whitehouse is probably hoping it’ll go away, but at least they had to notice it existed, and perhaps it means they'll pay more attention to whatever action we the people take next.
In the meantime, the push to boycott Hollywood is growing. At the forefront of the boycott Hollywood movement is Reddit where they’ve put forward the notion of staging a “Black March” in which protestors would use their purchasing power to hit the MPAA where it hurts, boycotting any and all entertainment products created under one of their signatory’s banners for the entire month of March. This week even Anonymous joined the call, and as scary hacker organizations go, they have a reputation for getting things like this done.
Do you think a Hollywood boycott a good idea?