#216 Universal Pictures Prostitutes “TRAFFIC”

Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001
Subject: #216 Universal Pictures Prostitutes “TRAFFIC”

Universal Pictures Prostitutes “TRAFFIC”


DrugSense FOCUS Alert #216 Wednesday, July 25, 2001

When the movie ‘Traffic’ was released, the media and the drug policy
reform community both credited it with opening the debate on drug
policy. See http://www.mapinc.org/traffic.htm

That the Drug Czar, played by Michael Douglas, would walk away from
the job after seeing the drug war as a war on Americans sent a strong

Many drug policy organizations helped promote ‘Traffic,’ running
banner ads and contests, or distributing leaflets outside
theaters.(br)(br) Last week Universal Pictures sent a message to
reform organizations asking them to promote with banner ads the Pay
Per View release of the film. The message said, in part:

“I just finished checking out your drug policy related website.
I’ve been looking for sites and newsgroups that in some way connect
with the Universal Pictures film TRAFFIC, (which features Benicio Del
Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, Michael Douglas, and Don

“Obviously this film raised some interesting issues dealing with
current drug policy… though not taking any sides in the debate, it
helped open up new dialog about the debate.

“As for TRAFFIC, we are doing online promotions for the film which
begins it’s Pay Per View run tomorrow, on July 17th. Would you be
into helping us promote the film and get the word out? If so, here’s
what you can do to help. Put up a banner on your site and link to the
film’s page on Universal’s site, we’ll send you some swag in

“Just make sure you LINK the banner to this site,
http://www.universalstudios.com/ppv/ Webmasters who help out will be
entered into a random drawing to win a very cool prize package that
relates to the film.”

An interesting offer, until the webmasters check out the link above.

At the link you are invited to “Tell-A-Friend and $1 will be
donated to Partnership for a Drug-Free America” Really! And they
then provide a link to http://www.drugfreeamerica.org/ where the
headline is “The War on Drugs is Working”

Universal Pictures wants you to send friends messages thru their page
about their Pay Per View release, and they will donate when you

The DrugSense webmaster provided a firm NO response to the request as
did others. On Tuesday, 24 July Universal Studios issued a spin
control press release trying to defend their tie to the

PLEASE HELP REFORM by sending your own message to Universal Pictures
telling them what you think about this offer!

If enough of you act, Universal Pictures may well listen.

Your actions in the past have caused others to back away from big

The easy way to do it is to simply compose your message, then copy it
into the webform for as many of the contacts as you wish at this
webpage: http://www.universalstudios.com/homepage/html/contact_us/

There you need to click an “I Accept” link to go to a page which has
links to webforms of this huge company.

Each webform reaches a different office. There are about a dozen
contacts who deserve to receive your message. Of particular
importance are the Links at

Universal Pay-Per-View
Philanthropy / Corporate Giving / Movies / General & Miscellaneous
Business Development / Marketing / Promotions / Link Requests

There is also a press release rationalizing this egregious behavior at

Just DO it


(Letter, Phone, fax etc.)

Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list (sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org Your letter will
then be forwarded to the list with so others can learn from your
efforts and be motivated to follow suit

This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the one important way we have of
gauging our impact and effectiveness.



Dear Sir,

I was shocked to hear about a Universal Pictures promotion for the Pay
Per View release of TRAFFIC.

As you may know, drug policy reform groups worldwide promoted TRAFFIC
upon it’s release because it so clearly opens the debate on drug policy.
These same groups were offered rewards for placing a banner on their
sites linked to http//www.universalstudios.com/ppv/

But at that webpage we find that you wish us to use a webform to
“Tell-A-Friend and $1 will be donated to Partnership for a Drug-Free

This is an insult to us all! The Partnership does not stand for debate on
drug policy.

Their name says it all. On their homepage the feature article is
titled “The War on Drugs is Working.” Didn’t anyone at Universal
actually watch TRAFFIC? At the very end the drug czar walked away
from the job because the War on Drugs is really a war on the people
of the U.S. A war that has a half million in jail. A war that
is step by step turning this land into a police state. We know that
the Partnership has close ties with the Office of National Drug
Control Policy. Could it be that Universal Pictures will obtain
payola from ONDCP for this action?

We all know how much damage was done to a variety of media, TV shows,
magazines, and so on, when it was discovered that they had (and the
FCC said it was illegal for TV) altered content to receive ONDCP

The word about your action is rapidly spreading across the internet.
Don’t expect any support from the drug policy reform community until
this blunder is corrected!

Yes, we encourage everyone to see TRAFFIC. But not thru Pay Per View
under these conditions.

Richard Lake
Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, Retired
Senior Editor


Please note If you choose to use this as a model please modify it at
least somewhat so that Universal Pictures does not receive numerous
copies of the same message.


ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts

3 Tips for Letter Writers: http//www.mapinc.org/3tips.htm

Letter Writers Style Guide: http//www.mapinc.org/style.htm




TO UNSUBSCRIBE SEE http//www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm


Prepared by Richard Lake
Focus Alert Specialist