John Kerry meets with Hollywood studio executives to talk Islamic State


Secretary of State John Kerry met with Hollywood studio chiefs in Los Angeles on Tuesday to discuss various topics including Islamic State.

Kerry uploaded a photo of the meeting on Twitter, saying, “Great convo w studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” deploying a term meant to undercut the terrorist group’s claim to statehood.

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The meeting -- which included executives from NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Walt Disney Co. -- was organized by Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell.

Shell is chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, of which Kerry also is a board member. The independent federal agency oversees all U.S. civilian international media. Its worldwide networks include Voice of America, which could play a role in countering propaganda from Islamic State, said one person familiar with the meeting.

The attendees discussed a variety of issues, including perceptions of America’s image around the world, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.

It was unclear what Kerry and the studio heads discussed specifically to counter Islamic State.

The meeting at the Universal Pictures lot follows a terrorist attack in December in which a couple opened fire in the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, leaving 14 people dead and 22 wounded.


One of the suspects in the shooting, Tashfeen Malik, had pledged her allegiance to the leader of Islamic State in an online post shortly before she and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, were killed in a shootout with police.

An Islamic State propaganda magazine in January praised the couple responsible for the San Bernardino terrorist attack as martyrs and suggested the terrorist attack was inspired -- but not directed -- by the organization.

Those assembled at Tuesday’s meeting with Kerry included Motion Picture Assn. of America Chairman Chris Dodd, Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, 20th Century Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos and Sony Pictures film chief Tom Rothman.

Dodd had joined Kerry on a flight from Europe, where the former U.S. Senator from Connecticut had attended the Berlin Film Festival.

An MPAA spokesman declined to comment. A representative for NBCUniversal also declined to comment.

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Richard Verrier contributed to this report.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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