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John Kerry Meets With Hollywood Studio Chiefs to Discuss ISIS

Secretary of State John Kerry met with the heads of major studios on Tuesday to talk about how to counter the ISIS narrative.

“Great convo w/ studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” Kerry tweeted, along with a photo of his meeting with Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos; 20th Century Fox Co-Chair Stacey Snider; Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production; Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; Amblin Partners CEO Michael Wright; and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer.

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham,” another term for ISIS. The terrorist group reportedly hates the term, but western leaders have been using it instead of Islamic State.

The meeting was held at Universal Studios, and lasted about 90 minutes.

One attendee who was there said that the executives also exchanged ideas and observations about studio worldwide marketing of movies and TV shows, a way of showing how narrative storytelling can cross cultures. The attendee described part of the gathering as a “brainstorming session,” including how to involve storytellers in regions afflicted or threatened by ISIS, as a way to counter the narratives promulgated by the terrorist organization. “Let’s figure out how to involve people who are there,” the attendee said.

The meeting was organized by Shell, who is chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Kerry is a member of the board. Rick Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, suggested that they set up a meeting with Kerry in Los Angeles after the summit with Asian leaders in Palm Springs this past weekend.

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