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EMA to Honor Ben Stein's Free Speech

10 Jun, 2008 By: Billy Gil

Ben Stein

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) will recognize Ben Stein with its “Freedom of Expression Award” during EMA's Home Entertainment Awards ceremony June 24. The ceremony is part of EMA's Home Media Expo 2008, June 24-26 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Stein, a writer, actor, filmmaker, economist and lawyer, recently starred as the host of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary on intelligent design and its contention within the scientific community. The film hits DVD Oct. 21, from Vivendi Entertainment.

The film made news when Yoko Ono, widow of John Lennon, attempted to block distribution of the film, which utilizes a 15-second clip of Lennon's song “Imagine.” The U.S. District Court Southern District of New York June 2 denied her request, saying the limited use of the song will likely be protected under copyright fair use doctrine.

EMA's Freedom of Expression Award has previously been given to George Carlin and the Smothers Brothers. It recognizes individuals involved with the home entertainment industry who have spoken out on political, social and cultural issues.

“Just being a conservative in Hollywood categorizes Ben Stein as courageous,” said Bo Andersen, president of the EMA. “But more, he has fearlessly articulated, as only he can, views that would be considered provocative by many and established himself a leading conservative voice in the nation. In his latest cinematic work, Ben Stein boldly and without equivocation, embraces a free speech stance and a different world view in the discussion of intelligent design versus evolution.”

Stein famously starred in Ferris Bueller's Day Off as well as the Comedy Central show “Win Ben Stein's Money,” but the Columbia University and Yale Law School graduate also had a successful legal career and was a speechwriter and lawyer for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.

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