Recently, one of our Defenders Captains, Richard Aronson, sent a letter to DreamWorks Animation Studios asking them to stop using the term “pimp my shell” in the promotion, trailers, and animated film “Turbo”. This is a great example of how one person, or a small group of people, can make significant social and cultural change. Thanks for being a stand up Defender, Richard!
Here is his initial letter:
Hello Miss Rawlings,
I am writing to voice my concern over the use of the term ‘Pimp my shell’ in DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming release, “Turbo.” I am one of many advocates fighting against sex trafficking here in the U.S. and hope that you will hear me out.
DreamWorks Animation is undoubtedly unaware of the vast problem we have in this country. Over 100,000 kids, every year, are forced into prostitution. Those kids are terribly aware what the word pimp means. Now, with your help, another generation of children will learn how cool it is to be a pimp. I know DreamWorks does not mean to do that but it will be the result. MTV is not who you want to emulate. To show you how wrong the term ‘pimp my shell’ is let me make a statement. I will let you pimp my shell if you will let me pimp your kids. You can tear that statement down and use semantics to bend its meaning but the word ‘pimp’ only means one thing: a pimp is nothing more than a modern day slave owner and whether you pimp a car, house or woman, you are treating all like objects.
I would appreciate it if DreamWorks Animation remove the statement ‘pimp my shell’ from the movie “Turbo.” I would also like you to stop using that term in any marketing, including the “Turbo Racing League” app.
Before you write me off as some Lone Ranger or isolated voice I would like you to know that I currently work with the following organizations in the fight against sex trafficking:
Shared Hope International
Roadmap to Redemption
We are people in the fight against modern day slavery. I am not the only one that thinks this way. To hear another person’s perspective please read the following article: Pimp My Shell
I have been in the media industry for over 20 years so please do not respond by telling me it is to late to remove that term from the film. I have seen many movies make last minute post changes a week before release and in today’s digital distribution age I know how easy it is to create new release prints.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Here is DreamWorks response:
We appreciate your thoughtful note on this matter. As you allude to in your letter, it is not DreamWorks’ intent to cause any harm.
We have removed the language in the Turbo Racing League Mobile Game – the game now highlights a player’s ability to show off his/her customized shell. In regards to the rest of our ad campaign, the phrase was initially used in minimal marketing materials, but we will not produce any spots going forward that contain the language. Please know that the use of the word pimp is not in the film, and that any reference to the snails’ customized shells is meant as a comment on car culture versus anything else.
DreamWorks Animation Public Relations