Disney bans smoking from its films
Perhaps Thank You for Smoking came out a little bit early. Yesterday Disney announced they would stop featuring smoking in any of their movies. While Universal Studios snuck a policy restricting its depiction of smoking back in April, Disney came right out and announced to the world that it’s done with its nicotine fixation.
The change was prompted by Representative Markey, D-Massachusetts, and his theories about the effects of smoking in films on underage viewers. Disney’s president and CEO Robert Iger wrote to Markey, “The Walt Disney Co. shares your concern regarding deaths due to cigarette smoking . . . In particular, we expect that depictions of cigarette smoking in future Disney-branded films will be nonexistent.”
In order to add some hypocrisy to this, Touchstone and Miramax, both owned by Disney, are being “discouraged” from depicting smoking rather than banning it outright. This is because so many children learned smoking was cool from The Lion King and not Pulp Fiction. Right.
Furthermore, Disney films already released will be required to bear stickers on their covers saying, “Caution: May Include Reality.” Disney films aired on television will feature public service announcements showing fat, ugly, balding people with poor hygiene smoking in order to combat the many sexy people with nice tans smoking within the films themselves.
Ok, the warnings in that last paragraph are made up, but labels and PSAs accompanying these films will exist. The Weinstein Company is in fact ahead of the bar and already uses PSAs produced by American Legacy ahead of its films depicting smoking.
Universal’s president and CEO Ron Meyer commented on tobacco in films as well, saying, “We hope that our decreased portrayals of smoking and smoking paraphernalia in youth-oriented movies will help reduce the incidence of smoking among young people. If smoking is included in a youth-rated film released by Universal, we will include a health warning in or distribution channels.” “Youth-related” has yet to be defined, but is assumed to be movies rated “G” or Universal’s new “Super G – now with filters for that extra smooth movie-watching experience.”
Smoking claims an estimated 438,000 American lives every year according to the American Lung Association. Because obesity causes roughly 100,000 deaths a year, Disney is expected to release a follow-up announcement restricting their films from showing whole milk. And because according to the Journal of the American Medical Association doctors cause 225,000 deaths a year, depictions of doctors in films may be gone by 2009, which sadly is still too late to get rid of Patch Adams.
Also expected is a ban on depictions of deaths in Disney movies after studies show that 100% of fatalities are caused by death, placing it ahead of even smoking. Oh Bambi, you were made for a different era.
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