NEW LINE CINEMA AGREES TO TAKE DOWN PURPLE HEART "CRASHER'S KIT"
Studio Responds to Concerns from Congressman Salazar, Veterans Groups
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman John T. Salazar (CO-3) claimed a victory for veterans groups today when New Line Cinema agreed to take down the Purple Heart "Crasher's Kit" from the website of the movie "The Wedding Crashers". In recent days, the movie has drawn fire from veterans groups offended by the website's recommendations to carry fake Purple Hearts. Salazar introduced the "Stolen Valor Act" last week, which extends existing federal legislation to penalize those who pretend to be decorated veterans.
"If any movie goers take the advice of the "Wedding Crashers" and try to use fake Purple Hearts to get girls, they may wind up picking up an FBI agent instead," warns Salazar. "I am pleased that New Line Cinema has agreed to take down offensive parts of the website. Our veterans and FBI agents are working hard to make sure that we honor our true heroes, no one should undermine their efforts."
In one scene of the movie, the two lead characters claim to be Purple Heart recipients. The movie's website provides a "Crashers Kit", advising young men of a surefire way to pick up women and free drinks: print out a Purple Heart and wear it to a party.
The website states, "Carrying a Purple Heart in your jacket guarantees you attention, admiration, and plenty of free booze. To get one of these babies, some dudes have to prove their physical, mental, and spiritual strength, with great feats of bravery on the battlefield. (But) all you need to do is press the button below." The site directs viewers to print out a fake Purple Heart, cut it out, and wear it as part of the so-called Crasher kit.
Veterans throughout the country and groups such as the Military Order of the Purple Heart were concerned the website would lead to a surge of people falsely claiming to be decorated veterans.
"The comedy actually highlighted a serious problem," said Salazar. "Hundreds of imposters claim military honors they did not receive. Many have used those phony credentials to commit serious crimes. Our goal is to restore honor to those who have truly earned it."
Current law only allows prosecution of imposters who wear unearned medals on their person. At a press conference on Friday, Salazar announced the introduction of the "Stolen Valor Act", legislation to expand the law to include those who publicly claim to be decorated veterans.
"Shame on those who claim credit for acts of courage they did not commit, their lies are criminal" said Salazar. "Medal recipients are often too humble to parade their honors. By letting the phonies continue their masquerade, we diminish the honor of our true heroes. Federal law enforcement agents are willing to go after these frauds, Congress needs to provide the tools necessary to get the job done."