Gloria Estefan was amongst the representatives of the music industry and the internet who met with Bill Clinton at an emergency summit on teenage violence at the White House on Monday.
Twenty days after the shooting at Columbine High School, Clinton has launched a national campaign against youth violence and has challenged producers of ‘violent’ movies, video games and CDs to consider the consequences of their work.
“We have to ask the people who produce things to consider the consequences of them, whether it’s a violent movie, a CD, a video game,” Clinton said afterwards. “If they are made, they at least should not be marketed to children.”
Clinton also extended his challenge to gunmakers, but his comments about music have set some alarm bells ringing in the American music and entertainment industry.
US web site Sonic Net reports that first reactions from bands like industrial rockers Filter have been incredulous.
“Our country is in the biggest denial it’s ever been in,” said their singer Richard Patrick.
Whether there will be anything more than rhetoric from Clinton remains to be seen; the US entertainment industry, like the gun lobby, is a powerful economic force and campaign contributor. Attempts to regulate records and movies could be a “cultural Vietnam” according to one US commentator.
US CDs already carry ‘parental warning’ stickers; if this was extended to a ban on sales to under 18s, it could take a hefty chunk out of the profits of major record companies.