Philip Morris USA is calling on Paramount Pictures to remove a scene in the new film, “Twisted” that shows actor Samuel L. Jackson lighting up a Marlboro cigarette, the Wall Street Journal reported June 14.
“We believe the motion-picture industry should voluntarily refrain from portraying or referring to cigarette brands or brand imagery in movies,” Philip Morris Senior Vice President Howard Willard III wrote in a letter to Paramount Pictures.
The tobacco giant wants the cigarette scene removed from all versions of “Twisted” licensed for future broadcast, including the DVD set for release Aug. 31.
Facing pressure to reduce the appeal of cigarettes to youth, some cigarette makers are urging Hollywood to remove references to cigarette brands from films and scripts. “It isn’t enough for a tobacco company to say, ‘We had nothing to do with our brand of cigarettes being in that movie,'” said Michelle Fogliani, deputy attorney general for California, who is pressuring tobacco companies to comply with the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement and take “commercially reasonable” steps to prevent the unauthorized use of their brand names in films.
But Paramount Pictures has refused to edit the film, saying it would require a lot of work.
“The cigarette-brand owners are saying, ‘We don’t want our trademarks appearing in your films.’ But the movie producers properly respond, ‘We have a First Amendment right to show these products,'” said David Bernstein, a partner with the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
State attorneys general are hoping that pressure from tobacco companies would lead Hollywood to reduce smoking in the movies.