The cigar that juts from the mouth of Orson Welles as he eyes Kermit the frog in The Muppet Movie, a children’s film, may have been a gift from Philip Morris. Newly released internal company documents show that the company supplied the film makers with tobacco products. Similar deals were made for Crocodile Dundee, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Die Hard and dozens of other films which had huge youth audiences.
The arrangements continued until at least 1998 despite pledges by the film industry not to deal with tobacco companies. Philip Morris has long said it does not target children, but critics believe that deals like these have helped the company circumvent legal bans against such advertising. “A kid coming away from the movies today will have the impression that everyone smokes,” said Professor Stanton Glantz from the University of California The documents detailing the Philip Morris movie deals were among millions released during the State of Minnesota’s continuing lawsuit against the tobacco industry.
(Daily Telegraph, 3013/98)