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Movies, TV Come Out Unscathed in Meeting on Violence With Biden

The meeting Thursday largely consisted of industry representatives briefing Biden and other task-force members on the industry's content ratings systems


The motion picture and TV industry appear to be on the verge of emerging unscathed from the White House’s campaign to crack down on gun violence.

The two-and-a-half-hour meeting on gun violence between Hollywood and TV industry association executives and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House Thursday night was “cordial” in tone, a person with knowledge of the meeting told TheWrap.

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In fact, the session — part of the Obama administration's response to the mass shootings at an elementary school in Newton, Conn., last month — largely consisted of industry representatives briefing Biden and other task-force members on the industry's content ratings systems, which already give parents tools to regulate what kind of TV programming and movies their children watch, the person said.

Biden has said that he plans to recommend a package of gun-violence reforms to President Obama on Jan. 15.

Attending the task-force meeting with Biden were Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd and the National Association of Broadcaster's CEO Gordon Smith and National Cable Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell, among others.

What came out of the session was mostly a bland joint statement:

“The entertainment community appreciates being included in the dialogue around the administration’s efforts to confront the complex challenge of gun violence in America. This industry has a longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families. We welcome the opportunity to share that history and look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions.”

The groups that issued the statement were the Directors Guild of America, Independent Film & Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Theatre Owners and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

In addition to briefing the White House task force members on industry rating sytems, Hollywood representatives also highlighted industry sponsorship of public-service campaigns to educate parents about using the ratings systems, the person with knowledge of the meeting said.

The task-force representatives asked industry representatives for suggestions on any additional steps that could be taken to curb violence. The industry, according to the person, is considering a response.

“If you’ve got any suggestions that haven’t been proffered before, now is the time, because we want to have a comprehensive package to present to the President,” was the essential pitch from the task force, the person said.

Biden, who has also met with the National Rifle Association and other groups with a stake in the gun issue, is scheduled to meet with representatives of the videogame industry on the subject Friday afternoon.