The company distributing a new documentary about the Dixie Chicks has blasted the NBC and CW networks for allegedly refusing to accept a commercial spot for the film, which opens in four theaters today (Oct. 27).
In a press release issued yesterday, the Weinstein Co. said NBC rejected a spot for “Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing,” because the spot included material that “disparages President Bush.”
The film, playing initially in Los Angeles and New York, revolves around the political firestorm stirred up in 2003 when the Dixie Chicks criticized Bush during a concert in London.
The Weinstein Co. distributed documents that appeared to be from NBC’s advertising standards division rejecting the spots and with the handwritten remarks about President Bush.
An NBC executive declined comment, while CW spokesperson Paul McGuire said, “The release is flat-out inaccurate.”
The Weinstein Co. distributed a document from CW that referred to “concerns (that) we do not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot.” CW countered that it had been in conversations with the Weinstein Co. about taking the spot, but those talks never progressed beyond where on the CW schedule the spot would run. “The whole matter is rather a mystery to us,” McGuire said of the hubbub.
According to a source, the spot has been cleared for broadcast on CBS, MTV and on local NBC, CW, ABC and Fox affiliates in New York and Los Angeles, as well as on local cable systems, including local spots on Fox News and CNN.
The commercial, posted at a Web site connected to the movie, features footage of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines making the comment that the band is “ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas” as well as footage of Bush reacting to the controversy and scenes of anti-Dixie Chicks protests that erupted after Maines’ comment was publicized.
“It’s a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America,” said Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. His release went so far as to include a comment from famed litigator David Boies.