Following Fan Outcry, Lionsgate Agrees to Allow "Hunger is Not a Game" Campaign to Continue
Boston, MA - On Thursday March 22, just one day after The New York Times ran a positive piece on the real-world hunger campaign, Hunger is Not a Game, Lionsgate, the movie studio that produced The Hunger Games sent a letter, which demanded that the campaign end immediately. In response, members, fans, and press alike expressed their outrage at such a demand and called for Lionsgate to reconsider. "Hunger is Not a Game" is working during the month of March to energize Hunger Games fans to work toward making a dent in real-world hunger in conjunction with the release of the movie. The campaign includes signing Oxfam's GROW pledge to fight food injustice, planning community food drives and educating members on systematic causes of hunger throughout the world.
When fans heard about the letter it was clear that they wanted the studio to reconsider. Within the next day a petition was posted on Change.org with that intent, gathering 10,000 signatures in less than 24-hours and reaching a total that surpassed 18,000. Prominent journalists, best selling authors, and social media savants expressed their support for the campaign, amongst them Judd Apatow and Eli Pariser of MoveOn.org.
"We fans are not mere consumers. We are engaged citizens who take the messages of the stories we love seriously," Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) Executive Director Andrew Slack said. "We believe that we can embody those messages to help individuals and communities across the world."
On Friday night, just hours after Change.org launched its campaign, the LA Times reported that Lionsgate had rescinded, stating that they had no plans on pursuing legal action and that no further request to stop the campaign would occur. The campaign is continuing its last week of activities while Slack continues conversations with Lionsgate on how to work more effectively together in the future.
"While the incident with Lionsgate was a harmless misunderstanding, it is reflective of larger issues," Slack continued. "We have been hoping for a year and a half to receive positive and cooperative dialogue from Warner Bros. on the questionable practices of their chocolate licensee, Behr's. Though an independent report demonstrates that Harry Potter chocolate may have cocoa that comes from child slaves. Warner Bros has chosen to answer tens of thousands of concerned fans with silence. We hope the incident with Lionsgate could be a teachable moment for all studios around respecting when fans stand up for children's rights."
The HP Alliance (www.thehpalliance.org) is a 501c3 nonprofit that engages Harry Potter fans in social activism. With over 70 active chapters and 40 volunteer staff, the HPA has donated five cargo planes of supplies to Haiti, 55,000 books to schools and communities across the globe, contributed to protection for thousands in Darfur, and made huge strides in anti-genocide, LGBT, media reform advocacy, and more. Covered in hundreds of major publications and praised by JK Rowling, Harry Potter celebrities, Paul Farmer, and a slew of NGO’s, the HPA recently came in 1st place in the Chase Bank Community Giving Contest on Facebook winning $250,000.