Open Letter to MPAA Chairman Christopher Dodd
Dear Chairman Dodd:
First, may I congratulate you on your new job as chairman of the MPAA and salute your many years of service to the people of Connecticut and to all Americans. I have long been a fan.
I am writing today as a union movie publicist representing an independent feature film that is currently shooting in and around (and boosting the economy of) Wilmington, N.C. Between some recent deadly storms, the dedicated and talented cast and crew of “Hick” has also had to dodge some flak of a different sort from a woman who purports to know something about “Hollywood Life”: Bonnie Fuller and her HollywoodLife.com website.
Bonnie Fuller’s Hollywood Life is by nature an obfuscation: Fuller lives and works in New York, not Hollywood, knows everything about the publishing industry and how to raise the circulation of tabloid magazines, but clearly nothing about Hollywood or, in this case, off-Hollywood, its culture, its mores, its financial and cultural imperatives.
It’s not that her site reported inaccurately or that I challenge Fuller’s enterprise the right to responsibly report on “Hick” or any other film.
However -- and I consider her actions to be piracy just as much as those you talked about in your speech this week -- Fuller took it upon herself to reveal plot and character points about “Hick” on her site which she gleaned from what her reporter called “exclusive” access to the script for no other reason than to drive traffic. There was no fact-checking phone call, no journalistic purpose for the post, just pure exploitation, pure theft.
Indeed, Bonnie Fuller stole cultural currency from the producers of “Hick” on two occasions: first on April 26, when she posted such plot and character points (which her office immediately and cordially took down when I called to complain) and the second, May 3.
By posting the second time, Bonnie Fuller proved that she is a pirate, not a journalist, who demonstrates her understanding of the cultural and economic impact of her action by repeating it, with total disregard for the pain she knew it would inflict on others by so doing.
This is nothing short of an assault to the creative process and the gestation of new cinema. Fuller might as well have kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach -- only the victims here are the entire cast and crew of a movie instead of a single victim of a random act of violence.
Fuller’s pre-meditated assault on “Hick” is an affront to the entire creative community, and must be publicly exposed as a danger to the livelihoods of the many people who make a living by weaving images out of fantasy.
I would appreciate it if the MPAA could poll its leadership about just how damaging assaults like this are to our industry, and perhaps help us collectively plea to Bonnie Fuller and other vultures to please stop it now or, better yet, draft legislation that will make such theft illegal.
With many thanks,