October 16, 2011

WHERE IS “OCCUPY HOLLYWOOD?” Reader Stephen Judkins writes:

Here’s something I posted to my facebook page. It was, in part, inspired by watching Travis Smiley on PBS talking to blacks about racism in Hollywood. It was also inspired by some of your posts on Instapundit.

It’s dominated by a bunch of white men.
Sexual harrassment is commonplace for women getting jobs.
There are few opportunities for minorities, especially in the top jobs.
Physical appearance guides hiring.
They squeeze subsidies and tax breaks from local goverments under the threat of moving jobs overseas.
Top talent rakes in tens of millions of dollars while plenty of work is done by unpaid interns.
They practice shady bookkeeping to prevent paying people.
Why aren’t we hearing about an Occupy Hollywood group?

Well, I’ve certainly called for one. And I’m not alone:

Hollywood accounting is crooked on a scale that would make any Wall Street firm blush. David Prowse, the very tall actor who wore the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars trilogy, recently remarked in an interview that according to the studio, Return of the Jedi has never made a nickel of profit, so Prowse has never been paid any residuals. The film grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide, but the studio rigged the books to show zero net profit, almost thirty years later. In the course of explaining why this sort of thing is commonplace, Atlantic magazine notes that even Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is currently on the books as a net loss.

As a fascinating article at Film School Rejects chronicles, movie studios engage in all sorts of viciously “unfair” practices, such as using their muscle to virtually extort theater owners, stealing intellectual property, and marketing their lesser films with fraudulent “reviews.” Any of these practices from a Wall Street firm would prompt a rush of patchouli-scented basement-dwelling youth that could only be stopped with pepper spray and plastic nets.

Read the whole thing. Three examples — I think that according to Kaus’s law of punditry that’s enough to call this a “groundswell!”

UPDATE: Popular Bittorrent site The Pirate Bay is joining in the fun, with a logo that links to this article on the Obama Copyright Czar’s coziness with industry. Thanks to reader Robert Mounce for pointing this out.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A Morgan Freeman angle. At last, something the Tea Party Movement and the Occupy movement can agree on!