Concerned about consumer backlash, the World Diamond Council (WDC) has pumped $15 million into a public relations and education campaign to respond to the new movie "Blood Diamond." The film, starring Leonard DiCaprio, opened to generally good reviews and ranked among the top ten in popularity during the holiday season. It is set in 1999 Sierra Leone, but, a multimillion dollar illicit trade in diamonds from African conflict zones (proceeds from which are used to fund criminal activity) continues in countries such as Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo. WDC created a website, DiamondFacts.org, asserting that the industry successfully participates in monitoring that all but eliminates blood diamonds. WDC also hired the PR crisis management firm, Sitrick and Company, to create an education campaign to neutralize the movie's potential impact. The stakes are high: "The film makes its debut during the heaviest-selling season for the $60 billion-a-year worldwide diamond industry, and the U.S. accounts for nearly half of diamond-jewelry purchases," writes T.L. Stanley.
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