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The Blood Diamond Controversy: Does the End Justify the Means?

The new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Blood Diamond, opens today after several months' worth of controversy. On the one hand, many people are glad to have the movie released, hoping that it will bring to light the serious issue surrounding "conflict diamonds," which continue to finance African warfare. But according to the AP, U.S. Officials disagree, claiming that the trade has been reduced to "significantly less than one percent" of total diamond business, and they fear that the movie will make people think the issue is more serious than it is.

No matter how small the percentage, perhaps it's good to bring to light this illicit activity. However, just a few months ago, Warner Brothers executives came under fire for certain production tactics used for the film. According to The New York Post, African amputees were recruited as extras with the promise that they would receive prosthetic limbs as part of their compensation after the filming. Writes Page Six:

However, more than three months after filming wrapped, the kids are reportedly still waiting for their new limbs and local charity Eastern Cape has been forced to outfit them instead to avoid their disappointment. A Warner Brothers representative allegedly told the victims, "You will have to wait for December, when the movie comes out, so we can get some publicity out of it."

Wow. If that's true, that is cruel exploitation at its best. To explore the issue further,

Warner Brothers execs have said that they've started a fund for the amputees, but that it is designed to cover many different needs and perhaps the prosthetics haven't been addressed yet. It is interesting that, in their feverish enthusiasm to bring to light a story about this dangerous trade, they may have gotten carried away and forgotten about, say, morals. To exploit amputees for some publicity seems evil. But maybe this issue is worthwhile enough to be made into a big Hollywood film so people will pay attention to it, no matter what the cost. What do you think? Do some bad actions get canceled out if the end result is something good?


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