John Kerry Turns to Hollywood for Help Fighting Islamic State

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about the Paris terror attacks at the State Department November 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. Secretary Kerry spoke during the State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council's (OSAC) 30th annual briefing. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Los Angeles, CA

Secretary of State John Kerry met with a number of major film studio heads on Tuesday for a discussion about how the movie industry can help fight narratives being pushed abroad by the Islamic State.

The 90-minute meeting, which was organized by Universal Pictures head Jeff Shell, was held at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

The conference included a “brainstorming session” that included an exchange of ideas on how to involve storytellers in regions affected by the terror group, according to industry outlet Variety.

A source who attended the meeting told Variety the top film executives also exchanged observations on the international film and TV marketing and how it relates to sharing narratives across cultures.

“Let’s figure out how to involve people who are there,” the attendee told the outlet.

Kerry tweeted a photo of the meeting on Tuesday; however, he referred to the terror group as “Daesh,” which is a pejorative term used to describe the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

“Great convo w studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” Secretary Kerry wrote from his official Twitter account.

The word “Daesh” is an acronym for the Arabic phrase “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham” (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

The British, French, and some Arabic governments use Daesh, as opposed to ISIS/ISIL, so as to not directly associate the terror group with Islam.

Kerry and Shell were joined at the conference by executives from Warner Bros., DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amblin Partners, and NBCUniversal.

Chris Dodd, the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) also attended the meeting.

Jeff Shell is the chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, for which Kerry is a board member.

While in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Kerry stopped by the set of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! for an interview. He tweeted: