by John Cones

It is embarrassing to see people who claim to be "scholarly" allow their own prejudices to cloud their otherwise capable judgment about issues of concern to them. Several misconceptions about our FIRM site (http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM), recently posted at a closed-discussion network called "H-Antisemitism"(2) have come to my attention.

First, let me say that one or more authors of the postings at the H-Antisemitism discussion group have our individual names confused. My name is John W. Cones. I'm a securities/entertainment attorney in the sense that for the last 15 years, I have worked with independent producers on investor financing of their entertainment projects, mostly feature film. I have written and/or published several books on the subject of film finance and entertainment contracts, and lecture regularly on related topics. I am based in Los Angeles.(3) James Jaeger (i.e., there is no "John Jaeger" associated with FIRM) is a Philadelphia-based independent producer who has worked in the film industry, both on the West Coast and East Coast, for many years. He has also authored a number of books relating to his areas of expertise.(4) Together, we are the founders of FIRM (the Film Industry Reform Movement) and FIRM's Mission is clearly stated at http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/fmission.htm.

Apparently, a lot of the misunderstanding was prompted by a letter James Jaeger wrote to Michael Moore(5), in which James Jaeger (the individual) expressed his opinions about Michael Moore's book, STUPID WHITE MEN, and its views with respect to Israel. James Jaeger also made reference to the FIRM web site, which has nothing to do with Israel. The FIRM site is a narrowly-focused website concerned with solutions to specific problems in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry. It is possible that since the letter from the individual James Jaeger, who was not writing to Michael Moore as a spokesperson for FIRM, but did mention the FIRM site, inadvertently helped to create the impression that there is some connection between his personal views with regard to Middle East politics and FIRM. However, there is no such connection. But then for some of the H-Antisemitism members to visit the FIRM site and come away with the impression that FIRM stands for the proposition that "the Jews control Hollywood" is absurd. Scholarly persons should be able to understand the very clear distinction between that overly-broad generalization that is not made anywhere at the FIRM site and what is actually said at the FIRM site (i.e., that movies to a large extent tend to mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers, and therefore it is relevant to study the backgrounds of the people who have the power to determine which movies are produced and released by the major studio/distributors -- the entities whose movies are viewed by about 96% of U.S. moviegoers.(6) Further, that a study of such backgrounds of the top three studio executives at these major studio/distributors has demonstrated that the backgrounds of a majority of such persons can most accurately be described as politically lib eral, not very religious, Jewish males of European heritage.(7) Clearly such a statement is quite different from what is being falsely attributed to FIRM (i.e., "the Jews control Hollywood").(8) It is different in the important sense that we are not talking about Jews generally. It is further clear (and explicitly stated in the FIRM materials), that we do not believe that the business-related behavior of this small group of individual studio executives (not more than 15 - 20 individuals at any given time) is typical of Jews generally. It is also clear (and explicitly stated), that we do not believe these individuals behave the way they do because they hold themselves out as being Jewish (at least in the cultural sense).

Further, what is stated at the FIRM site, is merely criticism of the business-related behavior of a small group of individuals who happen to be Jewish. There is no "hatred" expressed at the site toward any group. Thus, not a single element of any reasonable definition of anti-Semitism is found at the FIRM site. Yet, some supposedly scholarly people are quick to label it so. Maybe the real inquiry ought to be directed at their motives.

In further response to some of the outlandish misrepresentations about FIRM posted at the H-Antisemitism site: no where at FIRM do we say that "the Jews brought corruption and greed and decadence to America". If someone else said something to that effect in one or more of the many books and articles cited at the FIRM site, and we quoted them, it is intellectually dishonest to attribute such a statement to FIRM. In addition, our FIRM site is not "blatantly anti-Jewish". It is blatantly for diversity in Hollywood at all levels. And, we have found that those insecure people who fear diversity in Hollywood at all levels, will stoop at anything to misinform people of our real intent. Furthermore, no where at the FIRM site is it stated that we believe there is any sort of "Jewish conspiracy" regarding anything. In fact, there is an entire chapter in my writings stating that the "conspiracy" issue is irrelevant to me. Also, no where at the FIRM site do we (and by that I mean John Cones and James Jaeger, the only two people who speak for FIRM) "demonize the Jews". Nothing at the FIRM site, aside from an occasional overly-broad reference made by an outside participant in our "open" discussion forum, some of which gets deleted from time to time, to keep the discussion on point, suggests or implies the theory that "the Jews . . . caused the events of 9/11".

Finally, there is no connection between FIRM and something referred to as an "on-line UK magazine called 'Spike'". I've never heard of it, and have no idea why someone would make the false assertion in a scholarly discussion that there is a connection between the two when there is none. It seems to me that the people who are sponsoring the H-Antisemitism site should be more careful about their own scholarly standards, and insist that people posting there be more responsible.

If, in the future, anyone interested in these misunderstandings or film industry reform topics (and interested in the truth, as we see it at FIRM), would care to cite specific language at the FIRM site that they have a question about or problem with and will post their question or comment at the FIRM Discussion Forum at http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/guide.htm, I'd be happy to respond.

(1) Source of the above article by John Cones: http://pluto.beseen.com/boardroom/n/58927/View?n=00225

(2) See article at H-Antisemitism entitled "Michael Moore's antisemitic recommendations" c/o http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~antis

(3) Biography of John Cones http://www.mecfilms.com/coneslaw

(4) Biography of James Jaeger http://www.mecfilms.com/jrjbio.htm

(5) See "STUPID WHITE MEN - A Letter to Michael Moore" http://www.jaegerresearchinstitute.org/articles/moore.htm

(6) See WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON IN HOLLYWOOD! http://www.homevideo.net/FIRM/whats.htm

(7) See "Who Really Controls Hollywood" http://www.mecfilms.com/FIRM/control.htm

(8) See commentary at http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Antisemitism&month=0 203&week=&msg=iD9pDgAoS3YqyN%2b0MOBavQ&user=&pw=

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