Springer fight grows

Actors' union fights 'censorship'

Actors' union Equity has joined the protest against High Street retailers refusing to stock the DVD of Jerry Springer - The Opera.

It has asked all its members to complain to Sainsbury’s and Woolworths, which have pulled the title from their shelves in the face of pressure from Christian campaigners.

General Secretary Christine Payne said the move was an 'act of censorship' that could affect union members' earnings.

She said: 'Equity is opposed to the action which Woolworths and Sainsbury's have taken on two grounds.

‘Firstly, Equity strongly supports artistic freedom and equally strong opposes censorship in all its forms, however offended any individual may feel themselves to be by a particular piece of dramatic art.

'Secondly, Equity members derive income from the sales of recorded material, including DVDs, and so stand to lose income from actions such as these.

'Equity is inviting all of its members to make their views known to Sainsbury’s and Woolworths about these acts of censorship.

Sainsbury's said they had received around 20 complaints when it stocked the DVD but said its decision to take it off the shelves was also based on 'poor sales'

A spokesman said: 'We removed the DVD early because we would never wish to cause any offence to our customers, but based on commercial reasons the DVD would have been withdrawn soon thereafter.’

Woolworths would not reveal the number of complaints it had received other than to say it was 'substantial'

The opera’s director and co-writer Stewart Lee was barracked by Christian protesters as he tried to discuss their claims the show was blasphemous during a press conference in Aberdeen this week.


Published: 10 Dec 2005

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