Dixie Chicks banned again?

The Weinstein Company isn’t ready to play nice. Harvey and Bob are accusing NBC and The CW of banning ads for the Dixie Chicks documentary Shut Up & Sing, which opens today in New York and LA and wide on Nov. 10. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Weinsteins have provided documents that allegedly show NBC rejecting a commercial because its content "disparages President Bush" and the CW admitting to "concerns [that] we do not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot." (In the CW’s defense, what does go with One Tree Hill? And since we’re talking ads here, how do we get the CW to censor their annoying "Free to be…" ones?) For the record: NBC has yet to issue a statement, while the CW has called the accusation "flat-out inaccurate."

Regardless of where you stand politically, the trailer should make you want to see this movie, which captures lead singer Natalie Maines’ infamous 2003 verbal damnation of President Bush and the massive loss of fans and airplay that followed. How is watching the Chicks deal with the death threat Natalie sings about in "Not Ready to Make Nice" not fascinating?

Do networks have the right to chose which ads they will or will not accept on the basis of politics? And in a related note, how do you feel about CNN and NPR refusing to air ads for Death of a President — presumably because their viewers/listeners could mistake a key plot point, the assassination of President Bush, as a real event?

Comments (49 total)
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  • Chris Willman

    Methinks the Weinstein Co. did protest too much, or too soon: Just saw a commercial for the film on “Today.”

  • sr

    of COURSE a network has the right to refuse ads they deem inappropriate for their audience. do you think the LOGO network would accept an ad placed by the republican national committee? that river flows both ways.

  • Matt

    Free speech works both ways – the right to indulge yourself and force other people to listen to it (as long as you’re on the left) and the right not to be the vehicle for other’s communication.

  • Talking Moviezzz

    I think the Weinstein’s are getting more hype for the film from the alleged banning than if the ad aired.
    Plus, it is free too.
    Looks like they are continuing their marketing genius away from Miramax with their own company.

  • mike

    The Weinsteins are the best at backing documentaries that no one wanted to see made. I’m not going to watch the trailer or see the movie. Not because they bash the worst president ever, but because they would try to sing.

  • Ed

    Unfortunatly for the Dixie Chicks, they are being used as a tool for the democrats. When all is said and done and we (hopefully) get a democrat in office next voting season, the Dixie Chicks will be all but forgotten.
    Demo’s would have moved on and Rupublicans won’t forget.
    Sorry girls, enjoy this last venture into the spotlight because most likely it will be your last.

  • Friday

    It is the same as the Chicks music…if the networks air the commercials, they may find that some viewers no longer watch their shows. That the chance they’ll have to take and sounds like each network will make their own decision. I like the Chick’s music but I hate their whole showboating thing with their feelings about Bush. I’ve never heard them give any reasons why or backup their opinions…if they feel so strongly, why aren’t they on the political opinion shows, or running for office?

  • FLGrl

    Networks have a right to choose whichever ads they want on whatever basis.
    And CNN and NPR are reasonable in not airing Death of the President ads — remember the original War of the Worlds fiasco?

  • Miles

    I don’t think NBC should worry about alienating their viewers with this trailer. They’ve done that with their sucky new shows. (Heroes excluded of course.)
    As far as the CW, I can’t believe that new network has survived this far into the television season. I haven’t returned to it, I used to watch Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, but everytime I switch to that channel, I am forced to watch some throw up looking green graphics, and I have to turn away. Hip color? how about channel changing inducer.

  • nd

    Friday – does everyone who has a politcal opinion need to go on a politcal talk show to voice it? Not everyone with a political opinion needs to run for office. They are public figures and the comment was made the same week that we went to war in Iraq (good thing that mission was accomplished long ago and our troops have come hom…oh wait, nevermind). Everyone was voicing their opinions. I hardly see that as “showboating”. The whole incident was blown out of proportion by the conservative hicks who (used to) listen to their music.

  • JD

    Well nd just call me a conservative hick because I ‘used to’ listen to their music and now I don’t. I’ll admit I’m southern and conservative. The republicans just love me and I love them. DIXIE CHICKS S U C K!

  • Texan

    The whole event was way blown out of proportion. The Dixie Chicks weren’t showboating, but simply attempting to defend themselves. I am a Texan who never listened to their music until all this happened. The album is great. They took a chance expressing an opinion to their conservative fan base. But anyone who knows Natalie Maines, knows that that is what she does – no holds barred, says what’s on her mind. It was an opinion. The foundation of America is based on opinion and political dissent. What if these type of reactionary tactics had been employed during the Nixon era? Would the President have never been exposed of lying simply because you were deemed ‘unamerican’ if you spoke out against the President? That’s just stupid. They are a band.

  • jane

    Do the networks have the right to choose which ads they’ll show based on the basis of politics. I’m going to say yes. They are not a public entity but are privately owned. As much as we’d like to think that the goal of the networks is to edify and entertain, their actual business is to make money. If they think that the Chicks or Madonna on a cross will make them lose viewers (which means a drop in ratings, which means a drop in ad dollars) then it seems to me that not having them on the air is a sound business decision. You can’t fault them for trying to run their businesses with the idea of preserving their competitiveness.

  • Joey Jo Jo

    I used to work for Miramax publicity so I can honestly say that the Weinsteins love boycotts because it’s free publicity. I remember when we had to do publicity for the movie “Priest” which was about a priest who was gay. I spent three days calling every minister in Los Angeles to invite them to go to a screening and a forum. The publicity machine was savoring the boycott that would ensue. I actually was proud of the ministers for not biting. Instead they ignored the bait and honestly, do any of you remember that movie? So are the Weinsteins indignant about having the Chicks’ voices silenced? Hardly. They’re hoping that we dumb schmucks will fall for it and will support the Chicks with box office success. Don’t be their tool!

  • Tanya

    Networks have the right to chose [sic] which ads they will or will not accept, period. Freedom of speech + capitalism. That’s what makes this such a great and unique country.

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