Inside Move: Artisan wants Icebox’s ‘Wong’

Webisodes to become direct-to-video

Artisan Entertainment is in preliminary negotiations with Icebox.com to take the Netcaster’s property “Mr. Wong” offline as a direct-to-video movie.

Artisan Prexy Bill Block made the announcement at the Digital Coast 2000 technology confab Wednesday, saying that discussions have been under way for about a week.

“Artisan has been very proactive in their efforts to do something with ‘Mr. Wong’ with us,” said Lisa Spiritus, spokeswoman for Icebox.com. “We are in discussions with Artisan and other companies about various projects involving Mr. Wong.”

“Mr. Wong” has drawn the ire of a number of Asian-American rights groups since it bowed on the site in June. Webisodes depict Mr. Wong, an elderly houseboy who answers to the beck and call of material girl Pam.

Co-created by “South Park” writers Pam Brady and Kyle McCulloch, the yellow-colored Mr. Wong speaks rudimentary English with a heavy accent. The Netcaster will bow new Webisodes of “Mr. Wong” on Sept. 22.

On the “Politically Internet: How the Web is Defying Decency” panel at today’s Digital Coast, Icebox CEO Steve Stanford will face off against Guy Aoki of the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans.

Stanford previously said that Mr. Wong is not intended to be mean-spirited, only to poke fun at stereotypes and push the limits of Internet content.

It appears however, as though the public is pushing back. After the panel in which Block talked about the negotiations, he was called to the carpet by an Asian-American woman who told the exec she believes “Mr. Wong” is offensive.

Block apologized, saying he was sorry the woman was insulted by the show and said the discussions with Icebox were ” a business decision.”

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