Where do you draw the line?
As I was drinking my coffee this morning (a “double double” made at the office with Tim Hortons coffee, complete with hazelnut cream), I found an article that made my skin crawl. Let me elaborate. The article, printed today on TBO.com, was about the dark side of political campaigns, using the Internet as a principal tool to discredit politicians and candidates, ranging from the local grassroots elections right up to the national presidential election of 2004 in the United States of America.
Several different tools of online political attack were mentioned:
- Bloggers gone bad, working for a rival party, purposefully misleading voters with false candidate biographies and information
- Fake videos being circulated around the ‘net featuring presidential candidates
- Fraudulent websites, again, used as tools in smear campaigns
- Stage actors and voice actors impersonating political candidates
It’s sabotage, plain and simple. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean that the content doesn’t matter or have a profound influence on people. Just because it is produced anonymously doesn’t clear someone of their decisions and actions, either.
This brings us to a crossroads. As the voice-over marketplace, we choose which projects we approve or deny according to a code of ethics based upon Christian principles. Therefore, we do not approve jobs that are unethical, immoral, racist, prejudiced, malicious, adult, or those that promote slanderous content.
We’ve denied political smear campaigns in the past and other projects which never saw the light of day or your email boxes. What it really comes down to is the voice talent and actors who accept these jobs, whether from direct contacts at their own websites or through agencies. Each voice actor has the right to say “No” to malicious work, ensuring that they are not involved in something that could cause negative national or even global consequences. Even though it may seem like this is out of your hands, it isn’t. You have the power and the right to say No. By refusing this sort of voice-over work, you are demonstrating true patriotism and brotherly love. Most importantly, you are remaining true to yourself.