TDKR: Politics, Movies And Censorship; When Billions Are At Stake, How Far Is Too Far?

A Time Warner shareholder has expressed concern over actor Morgan Freeman's political views and says subsidiary Warner Bros. should take steps to 'ensure Morgan buttoned his lip' while promoting The Dark Knight Rises. Is this going too far?

Editorial Opinion

Time Warner is the parent company of Warner Bros., for all intents and purposes, they are what Disney is to Marvel. So when a Time Warner shareholder makes a statement, Warner Bros. naturally has to listen. In this instance, Time Warner shareholder David Ridenour accussed actor Morgan Freeman of using the press tour for A Dolphin's Tale to promote his own political views, citing a CNN interview with Piers Morgan in September of 2011. On CNN, Freeman made a statement insinuating that the rightwing Tea Party movement is racist. Ridenour referenced a study which indicates that " US filmgoers of all persuasions are less likely to view films featuring stars who express political opinions differing from their own." At the shareholders meeting Ridenour (who by happenstance, runs a conservative thinktank) asked, "What specific steps will Time Warner take to ensure that Mr Freeman avoids such divisive and insulting words while promoting his next Warner Bros film, The Dark Knight Rises?"

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes quickly recognized the controversial ember smoldering in front of him and quickly cooled the situation before a full-blown media wildfire could erupt. Said Bewkes, ""What can we do about it? Is that the question? Not much," he said, to a smattering of applause. "It doesn't usually have a significant commercial effect on the success of the film."

This definitely had the potential to become a media frenzy, especially with Presidential campaigns gearing in the main American politicalcamps. For us here on CBM, I wondered, is there something a star, actor or director can do, out in the public eye, that will make you boycott their films. It wasn't too long ago that actor Christian Bale had a now infamous tirade onset and it wasn't all that long ago that actor Robert Downey Jr. was a substance abuser. Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew Modine, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Peter Berg, Mickey Rourke and many other actors and actresses have found themselves in controversy at some point or another which has had varying effects on their careers. For some it enhanced their star power and box office pull, while others suddenly found themselves unable to land a role. My question for you guys is, "If an actor in a CBM makes a statement or controversial act that goes against something you strongly believe in, will you not see that actors film?" If they say something against your beliefs on race, religion, the LGBT community, etc. is that grounds for a boycott?

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