We haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet, but we are intrigued by the PR back-and-forth between the film’s makers/promoters and various members of the US government. A couple of questions are central to the controversy:
- Does the film glorify torture and imply that information gained during torture sessions eventually led to the location and assassination of Osama bin Laden?
- Did the filmmakers act inappropriately in collecting information from confidential sources within the Central Intelligence Agency?
This is a bi-partisan issue; California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Arizona Republican John McCain both voiced concern over the fact that the movie might lead Americans to see “enhanced interrogation” as an acceptable element of the US military’s intelligence arsenal. The conversation grew so heated that director Kathryn Bigelow found the need to release a public statement calling herself a “lifelong pacifist”, disavowing the use of torture and reminding everyone in the media that retweets do not equal endorsements. The senators have also sent a letter to the acting director of the CIA asking for more information in terms of the filmmakers’ discussions with members of the agency’s intelligence community.
Now the pushback on behalf of ZDT is growing stronger–and it’s an interesting case from a PR perspective.