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Who Is Next To Weigh in on the Hollywood Deal?

20 Feb, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

As the saga of Hollywood Entertainment's acquisition continues to unfold, you never know who might emerge to play a role in the story. But I wasn't expecting anti-porn and religious activist groups to get into the mix.

Yet there they were last week, spending tens of thousands of dollars in national newspaper ads railing against Movie Gallery's bid for Hollywood, claiming that Movie Gallery, which has several hundred stores that carry adult product, will transform Hollywood Video stores into palaces of porn if it is allowed to succeed in its bid for Hollywood.

The timing, of course, was exquisite, although the advertising failed to change the minds of Hollywood's board of directors, who voted to give their approval of Movie Gallery's bid over Blockbuster's, citing the unlikelihood of Blockbuster's offer passing federal regulatory muster, and that they believe Big Blue's efforts to be disingenuous.

The age old First Amendment argument of adult content in society has been settled in our nation's courts long ago, so moral activist groups who cannot gain a judicial or legislative foundation for their views seek other avenues. What's next? I know. How about all those terribly violent, “M”-rated video games Hollywood rents and sells in its Game Crazy outlets? Maybe all the publicity-hungry legislators who have already introduced this year 23 bills seeking to regulate the retailing of these games ought to ban together and demand that anyone who acquires Hollywood banish these games from their outlets. Might as well, since the basis behind many of their bills has already been proven in court, time and again, to be unconstitutional.

There will always be elements in society who seek to control information and entertainment content, sometimes with nefarious intentions, sometimes because of moral beliefs. In a time where DVD has transformed home entertainment retail businesses into purveyors of an increasingly wide range of content, we can expect that they will continue to be the focal point of these activist groups. Sometimes, as was the case last week, taking advantage of a national business story to make their presence felt.

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