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CAMPAIGN 2000

Bush Has a Tie to Media 'Depravity'

September 15, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — George W. Bush, who rails against the "pervasiveness of violence" in Hollywood, served for a decade on the board of a company that financed more than two dozen R-rated movies, including one in which a hitchhiker rips a young woman's body in two.

His presidential campaign said Thursday that Bush played no role in Silver Screen Management Co.'s decision to finance the horror-suspense film "The Hitcher," which one reviewer in 1986 described as a "massacre about every 15 minutes" and another called "gizzard-slitting depravity."

"Gov. Bush did not have any knowledge or participation in deciding to finance that movie," campaign spokesman Dan Bartlett said.

Like Vice President Al Gore's ties to Hollywood, Bush's role at Silver Screen Management is coming under renewed scrutiny as both presidential nominees try to force the entertainment industry to stop marketing violence to children.

Bush joined the board of directors of Silver Screen Management in 1983 and served as a director until 1993. During those 10 years, he earned just over $100,000 in fees and periodic bonuses, Bartlett said.

The firm raised money from tens of thousands of investors and helped finance many successful movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the hits "Good Morning, Vietnam, "Pretty Woman" and "The Little Mermaid."

Bartlett said Bush's role on the Silver Screen Management board "was not to determine which movies to finance" but rather was concerned "more about the operation of the business."

He also drew a distinction between R-rated films and the current campaign debate. "Right now the issue is adult movies geared toward children," Bartlett said, adding that he doesn't believe "The Hitcher" was "marketed or geared toward children."

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