WASHINGTON -- A group of progressive Internet freedom activists have created a website mocking the Batman movie appearances of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy, who shepherded last year's Hollywood-friendly Protect IP Act in the Senate, has appeared in several Warner Brothers films, a situation which has irked good government advocates.
Undeterred, Leahy will make his next Batman appearance in "The Dark Knight Rises," set for release Friday July 20.
HuffPost previously reported on Leahy's ties to Hollywood in December. PIPA and its companion in the House of Representatives, the Stop Online Piracy Act, were pushed by Hollywood movie studios but loathed by open Internet advocates and tech companies, who warned that several provisions threatened the basic functionality of the web. As HuffPost noted at the time:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) is Hollywood's current favorite son in Washington. His top two career campaign contributors are Time Warner and Disney, according to data compiled by Center for Responsive Politics; Time Warner has even given him cameo appearances in Batman movies, an experience Leahy talks of proudly.
The new site, organized by Demand Progress, is http://www.holyconflictofinterest.com, and features a blistering satirical comic strip of the iconic Batman and Robin superheroes denouncing Leahy's appearance in "The Dark Knight Rises."
"I know Robin, it's hard to stomach," Batman is depicted as saying. "Hollywood moguls feed his ego by letting him appear in summer blockbusters -- like the Dark Knight!"
In an email to HuffPost, Leahy spokesman David Carle defended his boss' film career.
"Batman's connection to Vermont is a great thing that spans many years," Carle said. "The Batman character has been one of Patrick Leahy's lifelong passions, and it has spawned and energized an enduring bond to Vermont. By now this legacy includes collaboration with his crusade against landmines and helping to protect children in conflict zones, as well as ongoing help for the children's library where he developed a lifelong love of reading."