Paramount's Jim Gianopulos Meets With Pope Francis

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The studio's chief was at the Vatican on Nov. 14 to join tech execs from Google, Apple and Facebook for a discussion on how to shield children from harmful media and promote "Digital Child Dignity."

Looks like Jim Gianopulos has friends in very high places.

The 68-year-old Paramount chief was at the Vatican on Nov. 14, rubbing elbows with no less an A-lister than Pope Francis. As the sole Hollywood representative at a conference on "Promoting Digital Child Dignity," Gianopulos delivered a speech to an audience of about 80 people at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In the room were heads of state, NGOs, religious leaders, social activists and technology execs from Apple, Google, Facebook and others.

The two-day event centered on how to combat the scourge of child pornography and limit access to inappropriate material. Gianopulos, who is not Catholic, focused on measures that the film studios have historically taken to shield children from harmful content.

Facebook is currently considering a plan to expand its encryption tools for applications like Facebook Messenger, which has prompted concerns among members of congress and other foreign governments that the added security features could make it harder to spot and stop child abuse. 

The conference was the Holy See’s latest foray into the topic of children’s rights and Francis used the event to criticize the technology companies who according to reports said should be held accountable “so that the good of minors and society is not sacrificed to profit.”

A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.