John Kerry goes to Hollywood to brainstorm psychological operations against ISIS

John Kerry meeting with Hollywood studio executives in Los Angeles, CA. Photo Credit: Twitter

Secretary of State John Kerry met with the heads of major studios on Tuesday to talk about how to counter ISIS propaganda.

According to Variety, the Secretary of State met with at least twelve of Hollywood’s major studio heads -ranging from Dreamworks to Warner Bros- in an effort to brainstorm

“Great convo w/ studio execs in LA. Good to hear their perspectives & ideas of how to counter #Daesh narrative,” Kerry tweeted, along with a photo of his meeting with Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group; MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd; Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; 20th Century Fox Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos; 20th Century Fox Co-Chair Stacey Snider; Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Production; Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; Amblin Partners CEO Michael Wright; and NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer.

“Daesh” is a more politically correct acronym for the Arabic phrase “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham,” another term for ISIS. The terrorist group reportedly has great disdain the term and western leaders have been using it instead of Islamic State.

The meeting -lasting about 90 minutes- was held at Universal Studios.

The meeting was eerily similar in nature to when the Bush administration came to Hollywood after 9/11 to develop content and plot lines that addressed the then-emerging War On Terror.

One attendee who was there said that the executives also exchanged ideas and observations about studio marketing of movies and television shows worldwide, a way of showing how narrative storytelling can cross cultures. The attendee described part of the gathering as a “brainstorming session,” including how to involve storytellers in regions affected or threatened by ISIS as a way to counter the narratives churned out by the terrorist organization. “Let’s figure out how to involve people who are there,” the attendee said.

ISIS has become rather savvy over the years with their propaganda campaigns, using social media and greater production values in propaganda that appeals to and helps recruit more supporters.

The meeting was organized by Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, who is also chair of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, along with Kerry.

According to an insider on the meeting, arranging the event was a matter of good timing- “The meeting was more an opportunistic meet-and-greet because Kerry was in the area for the ASEAN summit.”

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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