Marines Denied Right to Film in San Francisco


ACRU Staff


September 26, 2007

The facts for this comment, but not the legal conclusions, came from an article published on KGO7 TV on September 24.

The US Marines proposed to shoot a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco, as they already had on the streets of New York. They wanted their famed Silent Drill Team to perform for just a few minutes on ordinary city streets. New York said yes. But San Francisco said no.

The ACLU was not directly involved in the rejection in San Francisco, but it’s thinking on the subject of military recruiters definitely was. If the ACLU was genuinely concerned about preserving freedom of speech, it would take the side of the Marines in San Francisco. But for some odd reason, the ACLU is silent on this.

The rejection of the Marines in that City came from the Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission, Stefanie Coyote. She said the Marines could shoot film on California Street, “as long as there are no Marines in the picture.” Of course, the function of a film commission there, as anywhere else in the country, is to promote film makers’ choice of that locale for shooting.

Captain Greg Corrales is in charge of the police unit that supports film crews working in the City. He is also a Marine veteran, and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He’s also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. He said, “Ms. Coyote’s politics blinded her to her duty as the director of the Film Commission and as a responsible citizen.”

Originally, Ms. Coyote refused to offer the TV station any reason for censoring the Marines. At the meeting of the Film Commission, she claimed that it was “because they wanted to shoot in rush hour.” But Captain Corrales pointed out that the Commission often approves shoots during rush hour, especially if they are short and have limited impact. The Marines wanted to close one lane, for a few minutes.

Several Marines who commented on the City’s actions pointed out that it routinely allows events which can totally block traffic in the City, such as anti-war protests, and Critical Mass (a large bicycle event). They noted that this refusal is similar to the City’s refusal of docking space for the USS Iowa, banning Junior ROTC from the high schools, and attempting to bar the Blue Angels from the annual air show.

Source for original story on the Net:



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