Disney Issues No-smoking Edict
In what was regarded as a largely symbolic gesture, the Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday said that depictions of smoking would be barred in all films released under the Disney brand and discouraged in those released by its Touchstone and Miramax brands. (Film buffs could only recall one leading character, Cruella De Vil in 101 Dalmatians, ever smoking in a Disney film.) The company also said that anti-smoking pubic service announcements would be included on DVDs of future films in which cigarette smoking is shown. The pledge was included in a letter sent by Disney CEO Robert Iger to Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, who conducted hearings last month into the effects on children of movie scenes in which the stars smoke. In his response, Markey called Disney's decision "groundbreaking," and added, "Now it's time for other media companies to similarly kick the habit and follow Disney's lead."