Tuesday, February 08, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: BOY ON BOYCOTTING
So here I was, about to lay the CH Smackdown on the Canadian Family Life Coalition (CFLC) for calling for a boycott of Famous Players cinemas because the theatre chain was running a 10-second ad supporting same sex marriage.
In the initial media story, the CFLC was demanding equal time to run an ad supporting their views. And they felt Famous Players should pay for it. Here I was, about to say that this is why social conservatives get a bad name, and that stupid calls for boycotts just make them look petty and small, that Famous Players shouldn't use editorial controls over what ads are run, etc.
All fine and good until I read this one line in the Star on the story:
"The ads were donated by Salah Bachir, president of Famous Players Media, a separate company, to Canadians for Equal Marriage, a pro-same-sex marriage group."
Now, why the CLFC didn't mention that point in their press release, I don't know. But that changes things for me. Its bad enough that I have to go to the movies (which I do often) and be bombarded with TV-like ads. Now the President of Famous Players is wading into the Same Sex Marriage debate? Incredible.
Bachir responds in this fashion:
"I did this as a private citizen," Bachir said in an interview. "And I would advertise it anywhere, on screens, in newspapers or anywhere. It's something that I'm very proud of doing. I'm a great supporter of gay and lesbian and minority rights."
So why didn't you take out an ad in the Toronto Star as a private citizen? Don't you think its a conflict to pay for an ad in the theatre chain YOU ARE THE PRESIDENT OF? Politicizing your company is not something I would be proud of. Who knows what kind of a deal he got? Is it a rate that other groups could also enjoy? I doubt it.
So, now I've changed my tune. I think Famous Players SHOULD pay for an equal ad. Or give groups like the CFLC a deeply discounted rate. Bachir took a side--as the Preident of a public company, he should equal the playing field.
One note, though: I don't think these kinds of ads should be in theatres at all. People aren't looking for political discourse when they go to see a flick. There is nothing in the Charter that says all aspects of life need to inlcude current events. I only advocate having another ad in the name of fairness.
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