You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sony shells out $326K for bogus blurbs

Company vows not to run ads featuring employees

Sony Corp. has agreed to pay the state of Connecticut $326,000 for using bogus movie review blurbs attributed to a state newspaper in promoting several of its films last year.

Sony also said it will never again run ads in which Sony employees pose as ordinary moviegoers and praise films they have just seen.

“These deceptive ads deserve two thumbs down — and now are getting a third from Sony itself,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. He went on to say, “Sony deserves credit for acting to prevent this type of deception” but noted “the whole industry may need a reality check. Deceptive ads, designed to lure moviegoers, have no legitimate place in the entertainment business.”

“We’re pleased to have the matter resolved,” a Sony spokeswoman said. She added that Sony ended the use of bogus review blurbs when the practice came to the attention of management last year.

Two Sony executives were suspended for a month after it was revealed they made up film critic “David Manning” of the Ridgefield Press and used quotes from his “reviews” to market films that included “A Knight’s Tale,” “Vertical Limit” and “Hollow Man.”

Sony, 20th Century Fox, Artisan Entertainment and Universal Pictures later admitted using employees or actors in TV commercials purporting to feature testimonials from moviegoers.

Sony made a similar settlement with the state of Oregon last August. It still faces a false-advertising lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in June on behalf of moviegoers who saw films endorsed by the fictitious Manning.

(Variety wire services contributed to this report.)

More Film

  • MGM logo

    MGM Hires Robert Marick to Expand Consumer Products

    Metro Goldwyn Mayer has hired industry veteran Robert Marick as executive VP of global consumer products and experiences. In his new role, Marick is responsible for overseeing the expansion of MGM’s traditional merchandise, interactive and consumer products business. He’s also developing a global strategy with a focus on core consumer products licensing, digital and gaming, [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Personal Tales From Hong Kong, China

    Personal Tales From Hong Kong and China Among the Asia Film Financing Forum Projects

    A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong are among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal [...]

  • Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year

    Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year She Takes Risks in Her Film Choices

    Josie Ho vows to master the art of calculated risk in the year 2019. As an actress and film producer, she is conscious of the choices of projects she makes: appearing in the new film by Japanese hotshot director Shinichiro Ueda, producing a new documentary feature while developing some 10 titles in the pipeline of [...]

  • FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to

    FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to iQIYI's Online Ambitions

    Tech and data play a huge role for iQIYI, China’s second-largest streaming platform, as a way to innovate and step out ahead of its competitors, iQIYI founder and CEO Yu Gong explained in a keynote speech Monday at FilMart. “We don’t see a lot of innovation-driven entertainment companies yet. We want to be the one,” [...]

  • Ted Sarandos and Thierry Fremaux'Okja' photocall,

    Despite Ongoing Peace Talks, Netflix Won't Have Any Movies at Cannes 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Although Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival continue quietly to negotiate a potential settlement to their differences, the streaming giant will be absent from the Croisette again this year with no film in or out of competition, Variety has learned. The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content