All of President Barack Obama’s desperate outreach to Hollywood may end up going for naught.
Obama, who in recent days has sent out a wish list of celebrity surrogates he hopes will push his re-election campaign and assigned a special envoy to curry favor with Tinsel Town, now finds himself cut off from some of the fattest wallets in the industry.
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that some major movie moguls are refusing to cut the Obama campaign any more gaudy checks due to the administration’s refusal to back the MPAA’s online piracy legislation.
The blowup came after President Obama on Saturday dashed moguls’ hopes that he would remain on the sidelines in the dispute over the U.S. House Of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act and the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act. In a posting on the White House web site, three of the Obama administration’s top officials for Internet and intellectual property matters said that they share many of the concerns that the Internet community has about the Hollywood-supported bills.
The trio said that they “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Special Assistant to the President Howard Schmidt tried to soften the blow to Hollywood by acknowledging that that online piracy is “a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response.” They added that they plan to host an online event “to get more input” on the matter….
But Hollywood moguls … took this as a declaration of war. “We just feel very let down by the administration and Obama for not supporting us,” one chief explained to me. “At least let him remain neutral and not go against it until we can get the legislation right. But Obama went against it. I’m personally not going to support him anymore and not give a dime anymore,” one movie mogul who’s also a well-known Obama supporter told me this week….
Several moguls have informed Obama’s newly anointed Hollywood re-election liason to the entertainment community Nicole Avant and her husband who is helping her, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, that they are pulling out of major fundraisers planned over the next few days and won’t participate in any more headed by Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (whom they see as in the pocket of the Internet giants like Google).
It will be interesting to see which side actors take in the furious debate. Celebrities have been singing Obama’s praises, more or less, even despite the economy’s sluggish pace and depressing job statistics. Will said stars still rally ’round their president if they sense Obama doesn’t have their back on the piracy matter and, indirectly, their personal fortunes?
Read the full Deadline Hollywood story for more details.