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Hollywood for Heath

Los Angeles, Feb. 1 (Reuters): In a rare display of unity, Hollywood rallied to the side of Heath Ledger to protest the airing of a two-year-old video showing the deceased actor at a drug-fuelled hotel party that was yanked off US airwaves.

Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, which feature interviews with Hollywood stars about their new TV shows and movies, had planned to air the video yesterday.

After they had aired portions of the video on the US east coast, a spokeswoman for the TV shows said in a statement released on Wednesday evening that they decided against playing the video “out of respect for Heath Ledger’s family.” But the decision followed a campaign by Ledger’s publicity firm, Los Angeles-based ID-PR, to rally Hollywood’s creative community against the shows.

ID-PR sent an email to public relations companies, talent agencies, management firms and studio executives, calling into question the “common decency” of the programmes’ producers.

“This is not journalism, it is sensationalism. It is a shameful exploitation of the lowest kind, to a talented and gentle soul, undeserving of such treatment,” said the email, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

“We are asking the Hollywood community to pressure Entertainment Tonight to pull the segment,” the email said.

Mara Buxbaum, chief operating officer of ID-PR, said, “there were a lot of people who were so appalled ... they stood up for what was right”. A spokeswoman for Entertainment Tonight and The Insider was not immediately available to comment.

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