Jennifer Lopez' Pro-Environment PSA Has Critics Yelling, 'Enough'

By Marc Morano | July 7, 2008 | 8:20pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Hollywood singer/actress Jennifer Lopez is getting an "undeserved free ride," according to critics who say her recent public service announcement (PSA) to promote an environmental cause is also a "transparent" effort to promote the movie she's just released.

The full page color PSA, advertising the conservation efforts of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is appearing free of charge nationwide in People Magazine and other national publications. It bears a photo of the pop diva and the word "Enough," which is also the title of Lopez' recent movie release. The movie ad also features a photo of Lopez and the word "Enough."

"[PSAs] ought to be about the issue, not the individual or their movies," said Colby May, Director of the Office of Government Affairs for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The ACLJ is a non-profit public interest law firm.

Lopez' representatives at first denied she even appeared in the PSA. Then, after CNSNews.com provided them with copies of the PSA, they refused to comment on the similarities between the announcement and Lopez' movie, stating only that the PSA was for "a good cause."

The FSC is a non-profit forest conservation group supported by a coalition of international environmental groups and headquartered in Oaxaca, Mexico. Its mission is to "certify" forests worldwide by dictating all aspects of timber harvesting in a manner it deems to be environmentally friendly, as well as socially and economically responsible.

The FSC PSA, featuring Lopez, does have fine print that deals exclusively with the FSC mission. It was introduced on April 18 and ran in the June 17 edition of People Magazine, which has a circulation of more than 3.3 million. Lopez's movie "Enough" was released in theatres nationwide on May 24.

The FSC ran a similar campaign in 1999 with actor Pierce Brosnan, who played James Bond in the film, "The World is not Enough."

The Brosnan PSA, featuring the actor striking a 007-style pose, was published around the same time the Bond movie was released and contained bold text reading: "Words are not Enough."

'News to Me'

When contacted by CNSNews.com, Lopez' representatives first denied there was a public service announcement featuring the actress. After being faxed a series of questions about the ad, Lopez' manager Benny Medina referred calls to her publicist Alan Nierob.

Nierob denied there was a Lopez/FSC PSA, but after being faxed a copy from the June 17th edition of People Magazine, conceded the ad was done "obviously with our blessing." However, he said he was "unaware it ran anywhere, so it was news to me."

Nierob denied there was any intentional cross promotion between the PSA and Lopez' latest movie.

"No, not really ... this a long time ago it was discussed. I had not seen any of the ads. It was off the radar," he said.

Nierob attempted to shield Lopez from any responsibility for the PSA.

The FSC, he said, "initiated it, mocked it up and they wrote it up and got the photo and they pretty much did it all."

The previous PSA featuring Brosnan was "great for the [FSC]," according to Nierob, and Lopez got involved because it is a "good cause."

He referred all further questions to the FSC.

Lisa Swann of the U.S. division of the FSC admitted only that the Lopez PSA was "written to support the Forest Stewardship Council." She refused to comment about the similarity of the PSAs featuring Lopez and Brosnan and the timing of the ads with the release of the actors' respective movies.

"The PSAs are meant to promote the mission of the FSC," she reiterated.

A representative for People Magazine confirmed for CNSNews.com that the Lopez PSA ran free of charge. According to a representative in the magazine's ad department, the publisher and ad director determine whether a particular PSA qualifies to run at no charge. PSAs run in People Magazine on a space available basis, and according to People Magazine's web site, a full color advertisement starts at $162,500 dollars.

However, the same type of PSA, if sponsored by an IRS designated 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, runs free of charge as a public service. The FSC is registered with the IRS as a 501 (c) 3.

'Transparent Self-promotion'

Ron Arnold, vice president for the non-profit Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, said Lopez was "getting an undeserved free ride."

"This is really not fair. Everyone is getting an unfair shake here," Arnold said, adding that the rules are often bent to accommodate environmental causes.

"They can get away with it because it is a progressive cause and it is PC (politically correct)," Arnold said.

Colby May called the Lopez PSA "a pretty transparent self-promotion in the guise of a public service announcement."

May, who practices law before the Federal Communications Commission, said the Lopez PSA is not technically illegal because it is a print ad and therefore not subject to FCC regulations regarding broadcast PSAs.

"We should all be happy that celebrities like Jennifer Lopez are willing to take a stand on important issues like environmentalism and conservation, but they ought to do it in a way that doesn't confuse anybody ... about the actual issue that they are putting the PSA out on," May stated.

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