Amazon and MGM are boycotting reality series Ring Nation

Racial justice activists argue that the upcoming series, produced by Mark Burnett, perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

Advocacy groups are urging MGM Television to cancel upcoming series Ring Nation.

The unscripted security camera series hosted by Wanda Sykes uses Ring security cameras from Amazon for a series of clips produced by “Live PD” producers Big Fish Entertainment and Ring. Launching September 26, the series will feature viral videos shared by people through their video doorbells and smart home cameras. Sponsored clips include neighbors helping neighbors, marriage proposals, military meetings and animal moments.

Ring founder and inventor Jamie Siminoff previously appeared on “Shark Tank” as a contestant and later as a guest shark.

Now, however, more than 40 racial justice, privacy and labor advocacy organizations are calling on Poznick and MGM Television chairman Mark Burnett to scrap the series. According to the official letter, the Cancel Ring Nation campaign “sounds the alarm about the dangerous precedent that MGM is setting in normalizing and promoting Amazon’s malicious network of surveillance cameras.”

Non-profit Fight for the Future, Media Justice, Alternate ROOTS, Athena, Center for Race and Digital Justice, For Us Not Amazon, The Surveillance, Tech & Immigration Policing Project at the Immigrant Defense Project and WITNESS are among the signers of the open letter.

“The ring surveillance network used to collect clips for Ring Nation is doing so at the expense of blacks and browns. Ring has a long history of using racially coded dog whistles and arming breeds to promote their products,” the letter said. “And the accompanying Neighbors app plays black and brown profiling and criminalization. Ring camera footage was used to track and monitor protesters who took to the streets following the murder of George Floyd and exercised their First Amendment rights. These are not isolated cases. Racial profiling and racist policing are core components of Ring’s business model, which capitalizes on fear.”

The letter also warns of potential consequences for abortion seekers and providers amid the fall of Roe v. Calf. “According to Roe’s reversal, Ring camera footage could be used to track an abortion patient leaving the state for health care — either by filming the clinic, capturing her exiting an Airbnb, or proving that she… it wasn’t going home for a few days,” the letter continued.

The organizations closed the petition by saying: “If this show airs, it endangers the rights and lives of viewers and their families. To ignore Ring’s broader societal impact and broadcast Ring Nation would be reckless. We call [MGM] to cancel Ring Nation.”

Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future, stated: “Ring cameras and the Neighbors app are the backbone of a massive, privately owned surveillance operation. It’s pretty crazy that they’re even considered legal devices, and even crazier that someone would make a TV show out of the recorded footage. The fact that MGM studio executives thought something so dangerous could be fun family entertainment is startling.”

Myaisha Hayes, strategy director of the Media Justice campaign, said: “We cannot ignore the facts about ‘Ring Nation’: This is an Amazon-owned studio producing a comedy show about Amazon’s own dangerous surveillance product.”

Ryan Gerety, director of the Athena Coalition, called the series an “insidious white-washing marketing scheme designed not only to publicize Amazon’s mass surveillance ring cameras, but also to obscure the real damage, the ring.” -Cameras inflict black and brown communities”.

Read the full letter here.

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Lindsay Lowe

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