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6/27/97 Baptist leaders applaud recall of obscenity-laced Disney album

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A June 24 decision by The Disney Company to pull copies of an obscenity-laced rock music album from retail stores was applauded by the head of the Southern Baptist agency for ethical, moral and public policy issues.
Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said he was “delighted” Disney took the step of removing the Insane Clown Posse’s “The Great Malenko” album from stores, calling it a “pro-family and pro-decency” decision.
Yet Land stopped short of saying the move by the Disney subsidiary, Hollywood Records, was in response to the resolution passed by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas June 17-19 that criticized Disney for its “promotion of immoral ideologies.”
A Los Angeles Times report June 26 indicated the decision was made by top executives in the company, including Disney head Michael Eisner and Hollywood Records chief Joe Roth. Disney said the album contained lyrics that were “inappropriate for a product released under any label of our company.”
The move to pull the album is expected to cost The Disney Company more than $1 million, according to the LA Times.
Alex Abbis, manager of Insane Clown Posse, a hip-hop rock group, contended Disney was bowing to pressure from the SBC.
“All of a sudden they had a change in taking the moral high ground. They pulled the record. They canceled our 25-city tour,” he told the LA Times. The group signed with Hollywood Records last June; the album was sent to stores June 18.
A Disney spokesman quoted in the LA Times account said the timing of the recall had nothing to do with the SBC action.
“Disney has acted in self-restraint in many other matters before and we will continue to do so in the future, making our own best judgments,” he said. Other sources inside the company told the LA Times that Disney’s legal department had already signed off on the album’s lyrics and that it wasn’t until the day after the SBC resolution passed that Disney changed its mind about the album.
Bill Merrell, vice president for convention relations with the SBC’s Executive Committee, said he hopes the move by Disney is just “the beginning of more considerate, wholesome and decent standards for entertainment by Disney across the board.”
“Obscenity, indecency, violence and sacrilege are not entertaining,” Merrell said. “They are degrading — and the less of them the better.”
“There is nothing on (this album) that isn’t in a movie like ‘Pulp Fiction,'” the band’s manger, Abbiss, told the LA Times, referring to the Disney-subsidiary Miramax film. “I don’t see them taking ‘Pulp Fiction’ off the video shelves.”
Noting Disney has many steps to go to rightfully reclaim its heritage as a family friendly company, Land said nonetheless “a journey begins with a single step.”

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  • Dwayne Hastings