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Hollywood Puzzled by Clinton's Remarks About Drug Portrayal

October 13, 1997|BRIAN LOWRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hollywood representatives were left confused by President Clinton's call to the entertainment industry to "do its part" not to glorify drugs, saying that there are few if any recent examples of such depictions.

In his Saturday radio address, President Clinton said he regretted that movies, music videos and magazines often promote "warped images of a dream world where drugs are cool." The president also touted an "unprecedented" prime-time media campaign of anti-drug public service announcements, toward which the government will allocate $195 million.

"I cannot answer the president, because I really don't know what he's referring to," Motion Picture Assn. of America President Jack Valenti said Sunday. "I can't think of any picture in the last several years that glorified drugs."

Valenti acknowledged that drug use has been shown in such films as "Pulp Fiction" and "Natural Born Killers" but said that in those cases the consequences were also shown, depicting drug use as "a horrifying spectacle."

Television executives also expressed bewilderment at the president's remarks, citing their recent anti-drug efforts, including ABC's "March Against Drugs" campaign, toward which the network donated millions of dollars in free air time.

In addition, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently announced plans for a second anti-drug-abuse TV special that will be aimed at teens and older children. NBC has also targeted drug abuse as part of its "The More You Know" public service campaign.

One senior network executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the address "just another grandstand play" on the part of the administration in regard to the entertainment industry.

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