Hollywood rallies to Heath Ledger over video

Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:17pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a rare display of unity, Hollywood rallied to the side of Heath Ledger to protest the airing of a two-year-old video showing the deceased actor at a drug-fueled hotel party that was yanked off U.S. airwaves.

"Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," which feature interviews with Hollywood stars about their new TV shows and movies, had planned to air the video on Thursday.

After they had aired portions of the video on the U.S. East Coast, a spokeswoman for the TV shows said in a statement released on Wednesday evening that they decided against playing the video "out of respect for Heath Ledger's family."

But the decision followed a campaign by Ledger's publicity firm, Los Angeles-based ID-PR, to rally Hollywood's creative community against the shows.

ID-PR sent an e-mail to public relations companies, talent agencies, management firms and studio executives, calling into question the "common decency" of the programs' producers.

"This is not journalism, it is sensationalism. It is a shameful exploitation of the lowest kind, to a talented and gentle soul, undeserving of such treatment," said the e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

"We are asking the Hollywood community to pressure 'Entertainment Tonight' to pull the segment," the e-mail said.

Mara Buxbaum, chief operating officer of ID-PR, said, "there were a lot of people who were so appalled ... they stood up for what was right."   Continued...

<p>Australian actor Heath Ledger poses during a photocall to present his film 'Candy' in the competition at the 56th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 15, 2006. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>