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February 27 2012

Disney's strong-arm tactics over Jenny Agutter's Avengers comments. Recently Shadowlocked ran a comprehensive interview with Jenny Agutter which included comments from her about The Avengers. But according to the EIC of the site, "I was told via a proxy that Disney had heard about the interview and contacted Jenny Agutter directly to ask that any reference to the 'Avengers' movie be removed from any video footage of the 47 minute chat or excerpts thereof."

Some of Jenny's comments about The Avengers in the interview can be found here. The interview itself can be watched now in a now stripped-down format (with the Avengers comments removed) here.

It's worth pointing out that the Radio Times still has Jenny's Avengers comments up on their site.

Nice PR move Disney...
Hmm. I listened to this, skipping through it and didn't hear anything. Can anyone tell me how many minutes in it is?
Not that surprising given that it's Disney. It may also explain why it's been such a lackluster promotional effort so far.
The correct form is to contact the publisher of the interview, or their legal department, and begin any proposed take-down notice there.
Not even. Disney could ask a publisher to remove part of an interview, but I don't see how they could demand it in a "take-down notice" sort of way, unless that's some sort of specific corporate right a company has under UK law. Agutter might be NDA'd, but (presumably) Shadowlocked isn't.
Studios can play various publicity angles to remove comments, but they can't send legally binding takedown requests. Because they aren't legally binding here.

Personally I don't think the publicity is lacklustre, though. They just need to bring in the mainstream. And, you know, Superbowl ad.

I can understand the desire to keep plot offline. Nobody does surprise any more, and that's a shame.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-02-27 15:00 ]
I actually saw the interview with her Avengers comments. There was an anecdote about Samuel L. Jackson having to break into his car, the theft of his script, having to wear hoods outdoors to prevent photos being taking, her role being small, why Joss picked her and a vague explanation of what she meant by Spider-Man in her Radio Times interview.

It was pretty harmless stuff from a spoiler point of view.
From what the article mentioned, the action was never about spoilers.
Disney doesn't want "free publicity" (from mentioning Avengers) when the interview was covering a different, non-Disney project ("The Minister Of Chance").

I can understand wanting to keep control of the project so its value doesn't become diluted, but heavy-handed tactics over a two-minute anecdote will backfire on the PR department.
But will it? There's too many sites that are beholden to PR departments in terms of pics, interviews and clips. So if Disney barked, they all jump. This treatment of Jenny will barely get press elsewhere, I bet.
Yeah, this is mountain/molehill territory for the most part. And as far as the marketing overall goes, I imagine that by April we will be seeing loads of Avengers commercials, interviews, etc.
Its got several movies with special Jackson apearences to promote this movies for years; i doubt it will lack promotion when its time is due.
I bet for every "good" interview taken down, there are a lot more worthy or necessary "bad" ones taken down. Disney are smart, and if this is their way, I have no problem with that. Any publicity is good publicity doesn't really work for one of the biggest businesses ever.

Simon, what did she mean by Spider-Man in her interview? I assumed it was a mistake.
It doesn't matter if it works for them or not. They don't have a moral or ethical leg to stand on. But, yes, sites will pull whatever Disney wants so as not to risk getting cut off in the future.
Seems like overkill. Also seems like not the full story.
Simon, what did she mean by Spider-Man in her interview?

I think it was along the lines of she was referring to Marvel superheroes in general like Spider-Man for example.
I'm the one who wrote the piece discussed here and who did the interview with Jenny Agutter. Just a few final comments on the comments made here...

So if Disney barked, they all jump

I've worked for sites backed by major publishing companies, and I can tell you that the tension between integrity and good relationships regarding PRs is something that could kill a site stone dead if handled badly by the editor. If Disney (or Sony, et al) didn't care, they wouldn't even be talking to you, and therefore not ALL the power is on their side. Regards these battles, you lose some, you win some - but the moment you totally 'shill out' to PRs, you're on the road to ruin - because there's someone younger and braver round the corner gathering Facebook likes and eyeing up your lunch.

Disney doesn't want "free publicity" (from mentioning Avengers) when the interview was covering a different, non-Disney project ("The Minister Of Chance")"

That depends on 'the deal' and the outlet, the potential coverage and the Company's marketing strategy. As I mentioned in the article, the subject of 'The Avengers' has come up many times in the previous few months of Ms. Agutter's success with the UK series 'Call The Midwife'. After all, that 'Spider-Man' business was only a week or two ago! Anyway, I'm not aware she ever broke her NDA on ANY junket or ANY programme. She certainly didn't break it when I interviewed her.

But it's expected in interviews that the interviewer will 'Have a go' at a subject they know to be NDA'd, since even a completely evasive response gets that 'precious' subject into the description of the piece being recorded. A journalist who doesn't at least try that is incompetent, and an interview subject silly enough to respond with an unauthorised 'spoiler' (without prior agreement, for that interview, with the Studio)...well, they're just dumb. It hardly ever happens. It certainly didn't happen in this case.

There's a lot more I'd like to say about this, but since I've already declared my feelings about Disney's marketing tactics in a number of pieces, what's the point in covering that again? Let's just forget it and hope the movie's a good one.

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