Hollywood Studio Defends Against Human Rights Critics

Monday, 31 Oct 2011 01:28 PM

By James Hirsen

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A major Hollywood studio has emailed a statement to the press defending its choice of a controversial city in China as a new film shoot location.

Relativity Media has produced, distributed, and financed hundreds of movies the titles of which include "Cowboys & Aliens," "Bridesmaids," "Little Fockers," "The Fighter," and "The Social Network."

The company’s latest comedy fare, "21 and Over," is being filmed in Linyi, a city in Shandong province where Chen Guangcheng, a well known blind activist lawyer, is being held under house arrest.

The movie is the studio’s first film to be released from a Chinese co-production/distribution deal that was jointly announced this past summer.

Chinese authorities have quarantined Chen's village of Dongshigu and are not allowing reporters or foreigners to enter. Human rights activists chastised the studio for its choice of locale and subsequent press release, which touted the studio’s close relationship with the government of China.

"From its founding, Relativity Media has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights and we would never knowingly do anything to undermine this commitment," the company, according to the Associated Press, stated in an email.

Entertainment industry companies have had to contend with a quota on U.S. films that has been imposed by the Chinese government.

Co-production deals with authorities in China are a means of insuring distribution.

"As a company, we believe deeply that expanding trade and business ties with our counterparts in China and elsewhere can result in positive outcomes," Relativity indicated.

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