It’s not easy making pro-life movies when major corporations block advertising buys, deny music rights and boycott fundraising efforts, say the producers of three new or recent ambitious anti-abortion film efforts.
The latest case saw Facebook refusing the upcoming Roe v. Wade film, featuring Jon Voight and Stacey Dash, to run advertisements on its platform under the new “issues of national importance” rule, treating the movie as if it were a political ad requiring disclosure.
“The ads involve advocacy for an issue under our ‘issues of national importance,'” said a Facebook statement. “As you know, in May we made big changes to the way ads related to politics or issues work on Facebook. As a result, this ad requires authorization, disclosure before it can run on Facebook under this ad policy. … Transparency continues to be a major priority for us in order to prevent election interference, so we are taking a broad approach to start as we roll out this policy further.”
Two other anti-abortion films, “Gosnell” and “Unplanned,” recently met similar problems with Facebook ad blocks. “Gosnell,” the story of the notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell convicted of first-degree murder in three late-term infant deaths in 2013 and involuntary manslaughter of a mother in a failed abortion, was also hit with ad blocks by NPR and was banned by the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter from using the platform to raise money.
Meanwhile, Disney, Sony and Universal are among nine music companies who have denied licenses to filmmakers for all three of the pro-life movies.
Blake Kanicka, music supervisor for the feature film “Unplanned,” told the Hollywood Reporter he was prevented from licensing any music from a half dozen of the largest music companies.
Disney claimed it did not “take sides in social issues” as the reason for the turndown.
Others, including Sony and Universal, were less specific about their refusals.
“There was a pattern of denial with our quote requests,” says Kanicka. “Our team has never seen such a uniform denial across the board regardless of price, genre, usage or type.”
“After weeks and in some cases months of communicating with these companies, it has been very discouraging and disheartening to realize the amount of discrimination that exists towards the pro-life message,” said Kanicka, a Grammy nominated composer whose music has been featured on several TV shows.
Kanicka said of his initial 10 requests he has made, he has heard only denials except in one case involving a classical music piece written by Felix Mendelssohn, the German composer who died in 1847.
For “Roe v Wade,” filmmaker Nick Loeb said he used composed music and didn’t try to license existing songs.
“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” was released in October earning $3.7 million in theaters. On Jan. 15 it was the No. 1 bestselling drama on Amazon and No. 3 overall in DVD, Blu-ray disc and digital download.
For that movie, John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting wrote an original piece called “Song for the Innocents” and producer Phelim McAleer said he didn’t bother attempting to license existing mainstream music. He did though have a problem licensing other media, saying he was turned down when he tried to get a clip from CNN where Anderson Cooper remarks on the lack of news coverage of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
“We were turned down for something as simple as a news clip,” said McAleer. “Knowing Hollywood’s general attitude toward abortion, it would have been a total waste of time to pursue any music licensing … we already knew what the answer would be.”