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Ethics Center: Why cultural relevance and shared values make the difference

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[MUSIC PLAYING]

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Logo, US Bank. Text, Cultural relevance. How a Hollywood media company creates a culture of ethics.

An office. A man stands near a wall with several inspirational words and phrases, including, Serve, Create, Aspire, Respect, and Achieve.

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My name is Garson Foos. I'm the president of Shout Factory.

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Red and black Shout Factory logo.

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We started Shout Factory in 2003 to release music and movies. We're putting out 20 to 25 releases a month.

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A series of clips from old movies and tv shows. Text, music and movies, cult and classic TV, legendary comedy.

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We've always felt like we need to and want to adhere to really high ethical standards, both from our own sense of pride and self-respect to wanting to do right by people to create a great business reputation for ourselves so that people want to work with us.

In the future, we feel like it's critical to be honest. To do what we say we're going to do. To follow through.

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A man sits on a couch. A series of clips from old movies. A display of Mystery Science Theater 3000 memorabilia.

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We're acquiring the rights to a lot of movies and TV series. We put out a lot of horror films. Horror films have a lot of violence in them or what many of us might consider negative messages.

 

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Old memorabilia is displayed. A clip from an old horror movie is shown.

 

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It's hard to figure out where to draw the line. It's a bit subjective, and it is something that we debate a lot inside the company. And there are things that we decide not to release because we think that it goes over the line and is not something that we want to be associated with.

 

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Clips from old films rotate on the screen. A man sits on a couch.

 

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We have been faced with the decision of whether or not to put something out where someone involved in the film had been convicted of a crime of some pretty unsavory behavior. It was offensive to some of the people working in the company, and we decided not to do the project.

 

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Red and black Shout Factory logo is shown. A pumpkin engraved with the logo. A man sits on a couch.

 

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The entertainment business definitely has the reputation of not holding to the highest ethical standards. Known for what people often call studio accounting or creative accounting, there's the promise of getting something down the road that just doesn't end up coming true.

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A man sits on a couch. Shout factory core values, Serve, Respect, Aspire, Achieve, Create are shown.

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We embarked on a process a couple of years ago to define our core values. We had been talking for a long time about who we wanted to be, what we wanted to be as a company, and we just hadn't really codified what we were about in terms of the way we wanted to treat each other and the things that were really important to us in terms of the way we conducted ourselves in business and the fundamental tenets of how we wanted to run our business.

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Core values are shown. A man sits on a couch. Signage around the studio.

 

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To small business owners and growing business owners, I would say, thinking short-term is not going to get you the results that you're going to want. Making a decision to do something that is questionable in terms of how it will be viewed by outside parties, how the people within the company are going to view it may not get you the quick buck, but will pay off for you long-term.

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A man sits on a couch. Logo, US Bank. Equal housing disclaimer. 

Why cultural relevance and shared values make the difference

How a Hollywood media company creates a culture of ethics.

Tags: Community, Ethics
Published: October 30, 2019

For Garson Foos, president of Shout! Factory, doing business in the Hollywood film scene presents its share of ethical challenges. In this video, he explains how his company maintains its reputation for high ethical standards by focusing on a culture of shared values.

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