20th Century Fox developed “fake news” websites and curated material on controversial issues to publicize its film, “A Cure for Wellness,” released in February 2017.
The film studio created local news media outlets, including The Sacramento Dispatch and the NY Morning Post, which published material on subjects such as abortion.
In a statement regarding one of the websites the company created to mimic HealthCare.gov, the 20th Century Fox website said, “‘A Cure for Wellness’ is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker. As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site, healthandwellness.co, was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.”
Despite the campaign’s capitalization on current events, Elizabeth Houchin, sophomore early childhood studies major, does not agree with the studio’s marketing campaign because of the intential dishonesty and warping of public opinion.
“If you’re going to publicize something, you should do it through an accredited website because it’s trustworthy,” Houchin said.
The sites created by 20th Century Fox were soon taken down after the campaign was discovered. The campaign came after President Donald J. Trump denounced various news organizations as being “fake news.”
Dr. Cynthia Boes, associate professor of communication studies, said she strongly denounces the campaign no matter how relevant it was.
“I’m not in favor of (the campaign). There’s enough fake news out there; we do not need movies promoting (it),” Boes said. “Not everyone who goes onto the website is going to know that’s what it is for.”
Although a reflection of the modern political climate, the marketing campaign used by the film studio seemed to do little to benefit the film or the studio’s reputation.