Hollywood takes up veteran causes with 'Got Your Six' effort
A coalition of major media companies, talent agencies and unions are teaming up with two dozen nonprofit organizations as part of a campaign to build awareness for veteran issues such as employment, health, housing and education.
The wide-reaching initiative -- dubbed "Got Your Six," which is military speak for "I've got your back" -- will include a celebrity-filled public service campaign as well as greater effort by Hollywood to incorporate positive portrayals of veterans in movies and television shows, giving greater visibility to the challenges they face after returning from active duty.
Companies participating include Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Time Warner Inc.'s HBO and Warner Bros., News Corp.'s Fox, Sony, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, as well as talent agencies Creative Artists Agency, United Talent and William Morris Endeavor. Also on board are the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America, West.
"Together, we are uniting to bring awareness to this incredibly important issue of bringing our country's trained leaders home to be a valued part of our communities across the nation," said Universal Studios President and Marine Corps veteran Ron Meyer.
First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been active on building awareness for the plight of veterans, said in a statement that by "sharing the stories of strength and resilience that define our military families, we can motivate even more Americans to honor these courageous individuals in new ways."
Last June, Obama met with the Hollywood guilds to encourage the industry to play an active role in enlightening the public on the subject.
Spearheading the effort on behalf of the military is Got Your Six managing director Chris Marvin, a helicopter pilot who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan.
In an interview, Marvin said that Got Your Six isn't looking to dicate content to Hollywood but does want to be available to offer an authentic perspective for the industry when needed.
"Far be it for any of us to tell them how to tell their stories," Marvin said, adding that he is just hoping that the initiative can "shift cultural perceptions closer to what the reality is for veterans."
The Got Your Six campaign follows on the heels of announcements by Comcast and Walt Disney Co. as well as other entertainment companies that they will make a concerted effort to hire more veterans. Both Comcast and Disney have pledged to hire 1,000 veterans.
Below is a PSA for the Got Your Six campaign.
-- Joe Flint