Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, William Baldwin and Jane Alexander

Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, William Baldwin and Jane Alexander

Entertainment And Arts Community Urge Senate Democrats To Withdraw Support Of Legislation That Threatens First Amendment

Washington, DC (June 19, 2001): Over 50 leaders in the arts and entertainment community – including Robin Williams, Ben Stiller, William Baldwin and Jane Alexander – have urged Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) to withdraw their support for the Media Marketing Accountability Act of 2001 (S. 792).

In a letter to the Senators from members of The Creative Coalition and others in the entertainment and arts communities, the signatories warned that the proposed legislation may violate the First Amendment.

The proposed legislation will give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) control over the way adult rated entertainment – movies, music and video games – is marketed. It empowers the FTC to impose fines on entertainment companies that market adult rated products to children. For the first time, the concept of “deceptive” advertising practices would be linked to the content of creative products.

Actor and President of The Creative Coalition William Baldwin said, “A governmental role in defining ‘acceptable’ entertainment is an indirect form of censorship. There are better, more workable and more tolerant solutions. We appeal to consumers, parents and policymakers to continue to encourage the entertainment industry to improve its ratings systems and marketing practices through non-legislative actions. The threat of civil penalties is an extreme reaction to a problem whose solution lies in voluntary self-regulation by the creative industries, action these industries have successfully undertaken and continue to improve upon. Responsible adults should not be subject to having their choices restricted or monitored by the government.”

Other signatories to the position letter include: Adam Arkin; Lauren Bacall; Richard Belzer; HBO Chairman & CEO Jeff Bewkes; Chevy Chase; Wes Craven; Alan Cumming; Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director, Lucy Dalglish; Bo Derek; Olympia Dukakis; Hector Elizondo; Harvey Fierstein; producer Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide); Michael P. Frankfurt, Partner, Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit, Klein and Selz; Artemis Records CEO Danny Goldberg; Tony Goldwyn; Spalding Gray; producer Marshall Herskovitz (Traffic, thirtysomething); Chris Lawford; Interactive Digital Software Association President Doug Lowenstein; Ron Reagan; producer Amy Robinson (Autumn in New York); Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Hilary Rosen; Court TV Chairman & CEO Henry Schleiff; Andres Serrano; Ben Stiller; and Kathleen Turner.

The Creative Coalition is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating its members on issues of public importance, primarily the First Amendment, arts advocacy, campaign finance reform and public education. Headquartered in New York City, The Creative Coalition also has offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Creative Coalition does not endorse or raise funds for political parties or candidates.


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Kym Spell