*A Warner Bros. shareholder has accused the studio of allowing Morgan Freeman to co-opt a press tour for the studio’s “Dolphin Tale” in order to push his political agenda rather than the movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The subject came up Tuesday during Time Warner’s annual shareholder’s meeting at the Steven J. Ross Theater on the WB studio lot in Burbank. An attendee there as a proxy for David Ridenour, a shareholder who runs a conservative think tank, complained that Freeman said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” that, in the words of the attendee, “the tea party movement – and, by association, the Republican party – is racist and wants to screw the country.”
Freeman expressed those sentiments in September just before the opening of “Dolphin Tale,” and the attendee cited a poll published in The Hollywood Reporter as evidence that Freeman’s political musings may have discouraged some potential moviegoers from buying tickets. The poll, conducted by research firm Penn Schoen Berland, indicated that 35 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats will consider avoiding movies that star an actor whose political values clash with their own.
The attendee who accused WB of allowing Freeman to co-opt the press tour asked: “What specific steps will Time Warner take to ensure that Mr. Freeman avoids such divisive and insulting words while promoting his next Warner Bros. film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises?’”
After lightheartedly determining that the attendee, Oscar Murdock, is not related to News Corp’s. Rupert Murdoch, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes responded that actors sometimes say things that “causes people to boycott — if it does — the film or the show that they’re in.
“What can we do about it? Is that the question? Not much,” Bewkes said to a smattering of applause.
Bewkes expressed “some sympathy” for insulted consumers, but he’s not worried about it from a business perspective because “it doesn’t usually have a significant commercial effect on the success of the film.”
Listen below. [Scroll down to watch Morgan Freeman’s interview on “Piers Morgan Tonight”: