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Outsourcing in Obama’s Hollywood

James Hirsen By Monday, 16 July 2012 09:40 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The Obama campaign is apparently intent on labeling Mitt Romney, albeit erroneously, as someone who in the past shipped jobs overseas.

Meanwhile the president’s re-election machine has been raking in campaign cash from its legions of rich Hollywood supporters.

The George Clooney event was the largest of the Hollywood fundraisers thus far, hauling in a record $15 million.

The campaign-related affair was originally scheduled to take place at the home of DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. However, it ended up being held at Clooney’s residence because, as is typical of many high-powered Left Coasters, Katzenberg’s place at the time was undergoing an extensive remodeling.

The DreamWorks head ended up co-hosting the Clooney event. Katzenberg is one of Obama’s top bundlers and gave $2 million last year to the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action.

While the checks that Katzenberg bundled are being cashed, the Obama campaign appears to be unconcerned with the fact that the DreamWorks chief has been busily outsourcing his own company’s U.S. jobs.

DreamWorks Animation formed a partnership in 2008 with an animation company in Bangalore, India, which is called Paprikaas Interactive Services. Paprikaas offers a wide variety of animation services, including character modeling, set design, and animation for movies, TV shows, and video games. The company counts among its clients Nickelodeon, Sony Computer Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft.

In February DreamWorks announced a $2 billion deal with the Chinese government, which involved the building of a production studio in Shanghai. The deal came to fruition just days after Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping made a visit to Los Angeles to meet with Katzenberg.

Another Obama supporter with ties to the entertainment industry is GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Immelt ran the entity that owned NBC and MSNBC during Obama’s first campaign in 2008, and he was the individual who was appointed by the president to steer the White House Jobs Council.

Immelt has unique expertise when it comes to outsourcing. The person that the Obama administration chose to hire as a jobs czar was actually the one who led GE to terminate more than 34,000 U.S. employees. Interestingly, the company also hired about 25,000 foreign employees during Immelt’s tenure with the company. In 2011 GE moved its X-ray division to China and in the process let go 150 workers.

Obama supporter and Disney CEO Bob Iger gave a $35,800 donation to the current Obama campaign and recently announced a junk food ad ban, partnering with first lady Michelle Obama’s “eat as I say, not as I do” initiative.

In April 2012 Disney announced a new partnership with China, which will further eliminate American jobs and ship them overseas.

The Mouse House, the Chinese government’s animation group, and China’s largest Internet service provider formed a partnership to advance the country’s animation industry. The signing ceremony took place in Beijing.

When the largest entertainment company in the world, with the best animation technology on the planet, offers to assist China with the development of animation services, it doesn’t bode well for future animation jobs in the U.S.

Hollywood studios appear to be searching the world for lower-priced animators. Just this month the Jakarta Globe reported that Hollywood studios are outsourcing some of their animating work to Indonesia.

Without having named which studios had shipped off animation jobs to Indonesia, Triharso, the Industry Ministry’s director for the electronics and IT industries, indicated that Indonesian animators have indeed received orders for work from the United States.

Special effects professionals are also being severely impacted as the result of Hollywood outsourcing. In the past few years, special effects companies, including Disney's ImageMovers Digital and the Orphanage in San Francisco, have been forced to shut their doors.

It turns out that Hollywood’s special effects work is being outsourced due to tax incentives, which are being offered in countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the lower labor costs in India and China.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax.TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.

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Monday, 16 July 2012 09:40 AM
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