Protest HBO's Bigoted "Path to Paradise"


HBO film wins Intolerance Award at ADC Convention June 11, 1997 On June 14, HBO will show "Path to Paradise," a movie that is ostensibly about the World Trade Center bombing, but that will leave viewers with the distinct impression that Arabs and Muslims are a menace to the US and that their immigration into the US is a threat. The ADC has recently viewed "Path to Paradise" and every Arab and Muslim character in the movie is an ugly stereotype. "Paradise" will stand the test of time as one of TV's most racist movies. Even the FBI informer, Salem, who HBO told the ADC would be a positive character, is a lying, sexist sleaze. The entire tone of the movie is that "There is more to come" from "these people." The film is a montage of Imams preaching hatred and followers planning to bomb; as a result, the association between Arab Muslims and violence will be that much stronger. Other violent acts by fringe groups that claim to act in the name of Christianity and Judaism are not aligned to the religion in such a manner. (For example, recent reporting on allegations that "Party of God" is responsible for the bombing at abortion clinics, a gay club and the Olympics do not taint Christianity the way reporting on "Islamic terrorism" does. Indeed, there is no "Christian terrorism" or "Jewish terrorism" in the major media.) HBO reportedly brought on as consultants Fouad Ajami and Steven Emerson, who are well known for their anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry. After "Executive Decision" and other Arab-bashing movies by Warner Brothers and other studios have damaged the Arab-American community, Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Brothers, agreed to meet with the ADC on projects relating to Arab-Americans. The ADC immediately embraced this opportunity to voice our concerns about how Arabs and Arab-Americans are portrayed in mass media. We had hoped that this would lead to more diverse, sensitive and accurate images of Arabs and Arab-Americans. However, the production by Time Warner's HBO of "Path to Paradise" show these efforts were for naught.  

 
We offered our input but after having viewed the movie, it is clear that our concerns were ignored. This unrelenting parade of violent Arab Muslims will perpetuate stereotypical portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. It will increase hate crimes, harassment of schoolchildren, job discrimination and other real life consequences for millions of Arab and Muslim Americans. In a joint letter with the American Muslim Council on May 23, 1997 to HBO, the ADC's president Dr. Hala Maksoud wrote, "You sought out our concerns and constructive comments. Not only did you then disregard everything we said, the producers proceeded to advance racism. Consider this -- Had 'Paradise' focused on a violent act perpetrated by members of the Jewish Defense League would not you and your colleagues have made every effort possible to show that they are not representative of mainstream Jews? Surely you would have. Not to do so would be a heinous act of anti-Semitism. We are only asking that the same standards of responsibility be applied when our community is concerned." For its production of "Path to Paradise," the ADC is giving HBO the highly dubious "Intolerance Award" at its 14th National convention on June 13. The presenter will be Dr. Jack Shaheen, author of "The TV Arab," who has written about stereotypes and their damaging impact for decades.


Protest to HBO:

Best to fax to: Mr. Jeff Bewkes President, HBO 212-512-7776

Or write to him at:

1100 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10036

E-mail:

http://www.hbo.com/cmp/feedback.html

 

CC your letters to

husseini@adc.org

 

American-Arab

Anti-Discrimination Committee

 

4201 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20008, U.S.A.

Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196

Email adc@adc.org

Web : http://www.adc.org