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CBS Protest Gets 'Dogma' Ads Pulled

By Lynn Elber AP Television Writer Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1999; 9:58 p.m. EST

LOS ANGELES "Touched by an Angel" triumphed over "Dogma" as ads for the satirical movie were pulled from newspapers and radio because of CBS' complaint that its family series was being exploited.

"Get Touched by an Angel" was the slogan used to tout the Kevin Smith movie, which has drawn fire for its depiction of the Roman Catholic church.

In a Nov. 12 letter to Lions Gate Films, CBS said it received calls from people confused about whether a link exists to "our family oriented television series and your irreverent movie that apparently belittles every religious tenet embraced by our show."

CBS said the promotion exploits the show's name and demadned the ad campaign stop. Lions Gate made the letter public Tuesday; a CBS spokesman said the company had no further comment.

"We've instantly changed our ads," said Mark Urman, co-president of Lions Gate Films. "Sometimes capitulation is the most sensible thing to do. It's not a very big deal. We think it's kind of hilarious, in fact."

The slogan has been featured for several months on "Dogma" publicity posters, Urman said Tuesday. "We never meant to harm or infringe upon them," he said.

"Dogma" has been the focus of controversy since before its release. An outcry by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights over the script prompted Disney subsidiary Miramax Films to withdraw as distributor.

Smith, whose previous films include "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy," has said the film is aimed at open-minded Catholics, using two gun-toting, sinner-slaying angels (Ben Affleck, Matt Damon) to satirize zealots who see violence as a path to heaven.

"Touched by an Angel," CBS' top-rated series, stars Roma Downey, Della Reese and John Dye as benevolent angels dispatched from heaven to help troubled people.