Chris Dodd: Industry ‘stands ready’ to talk violence

MPAA topper issues first statement since Newtown shootings

MPAA topper Chris Dodd has offered his condolences to the families of Friday’s shooting victims, marking the org’s first public statement since the killings that have heated up the national conversation about gun violence and the media.

“As a citizen of Connecticut and having represented the people there for 36 years in Washington, I have been shocked and profoundly saddened by this tragedy. My heart goes out to the community as I know they will carry this pain with them long after the spotlight on Newtown has dimmed,” Dodd said in a statement issued Thursday. “As chairman of the MPAA and on behalf of the motion picture and television studios we represent, we join all Americans in expressing our sympathy as well as our horror and outrage at this senseless act of violence. Thus, I have reached out to the Administration to express our support for the President’s efforts in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. Those of us in the motion picture and television industry want to do our part to help America heal. We stand ready to be part of the national conversation.”

The White House has said that President Obama’s response to the shooting may include “conversations” delving into “cultural issues,” raising the possibility of further study of violence in movies and video games.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has said that the president has not yet outlined specific plans, and that Obama wants to “have these conversations with people who have worked on this issue and people who are affected by it to explore all the possibilities.”

Media orgs have long maintained that links between make-believe and real violence are weak and inconclusive at best — a view contradicted by the American Medical Assn., the American Psychological Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A number of Hollywood studios canceled events or altered televised content in the wake of last week’s shootings. Paramount delayed the Pittsburgh premiere of “Jack Reacher,” 20th Century Fox canceled festivities around its preem of “Parental Guidance” and the Weinstein Co. nixed its red carpet and afterparty for Tuesday’s premiere of “Django Unchained.”

“Saturday Night Live” opened with a rendition of “Silent Night” from a children’s choir to pay tribute to the 27 victims, an unusually somber exception in the long-running sketch show’s history.

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