ABC to Affiliates: Don’t Interview That Movie Star–Yet!

No matter where you live, local TV newscasts tend to be pretty awful: a mash-up of crime, spectacle and celebrity–along with sports and weather.

According to an item in the Hollywood Reporter, though, ABC has told its local affiliates not to cover one celebrity in particular: actor Johnny Depp.

The actor is doing interviews to promote a new film called The Rum Diary, based on a book by Hunter S. Thompson. But according to the Reporter, Disney-owned ABC seems to think interviewing him about a movie that isn’t part of the Disney‘s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would be bad business:

According to Houston’s KHOU, no ABC affiliates were allowed to speak with or even shoot the actor at the event, due to a clause in his contract with Disney for its successful film franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean.

“We came here expecting to talk to one of the biggest names in Hollywood,” say KHOU news reporter Shelton Green. “But apparently Disney doesn’t want Johnny Depp’s new movie premiering here at the Paramount [Theatre] to get more exposure than his new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So they wouldn’t allow us to interview him, nor would they even allow us to get video of him, but hundreds of other people did.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.