Name: Poetic Justice at Cineplex Odeon, LA

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  North America


MediumFilm Video

Artist: John Singleton, Director

Confronting Bodies: Cineplex Odeon, LA

Date of Action: July 1993

Specific Location: Los Angeles, California

Description of Artwork: The film, "Poetic Justice," is a love story about a hairdresser and a postal carrier starring pop star Janet Jackson.

Description of Incident: An opening weekend ban on African-American director John Singleton's romantic drama "Poetic Justice" at Cineplex Odeon's Universal City multiplex theater triggered charges of racism and censorship from moviegoers, studio sources, civil rights leaders, and the Los Angeles City Council. Cineplex Odeon said the film was not screened because of fears that it might draw trouble to Universal Studio's adjacent City Walk, which features a string of trendy shops and restaurants. "Our film programmers in Los Angeles are ensuring the theater is programmed with an upscale demographic to make sure that City Walk's environment is kept safe with a family atmosphere," the theater chain said in a prepared statement.

Results of Incident: On July 27, by an 11-0 vote, the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion condemning the Cineplex Odeon action. Council member Rita Walter's motion also suggested that the Los Angeles County district attorney investigate whether the theater chain's action violated state civil rights laws.

Source: Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association

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