Hilary Rosen

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Hilary Rosen
Hilllary Rosen testifies on Napster.jpg
Born 1958 (age 57–58)
West Orange, New Jersey
Known for Lobbyist for the RIAA & BP, punditry

Hilary Beth Rosen (born 1958) is an American communications consultant,[1] Democratic pundit, and former registered lobbyist.

She worked for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 16 years, including as CEO from 1998 to 2003. During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rosen worked as a consultant to BP. She has worked for the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker since 2010.

Early life[edit]

Rosen was born in West Orange, New Jersey in 1958. Her father worked as an insurance agent and her mother became the city's first councilwoman.[2][3] In high school, Rosen served as student council president.[2] She earned her bachelor's degree in international business from George Washington University in 1981.[4] Her parents divorced while Rosen was at college.[3]

Registered lobbyist for the recording industry[edit]

Rosen was with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from 1987 to 2003 and served first as President and then Chair and CEO from 1998 to 2003.[5] She presided over the RIAA during the period of when the rise of the Internet notably conflicted with the established recording industry interests. She was paid to lobby for the recording industry at a time against proponents of file sharing and new Internet technologies.

During her tenure the RIAA filed lawsuits against early peer-to-peer file-sharing communities including Napster, Audiogalaxy, and Grokster. The organization lobbied the U.S. Congress to pass controversial legislation supporting Recording Industry interests, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Record Rental Act, and numerous trade treaties (see Societal views on intellectual property). Despite the RIAA's aggressive tactics, online file-swapping has continued to grow. Industry critics, including those within the Association, have begun to question the effectiveness of the campaign. Indeed, many believe that the RIAA's activities alienated consumers and some popular artists from the very music industry the RIAA is supposed to protect. Rosen has expressed her agreement with this assertion.

Under Rosen, the RIAA attempted to lobby for strict digital copyright protection, including copy protected CDs and DRM-enabled media formats for personal computers. Copy-protected CDs were widely rejected by consumers for a variety of technological and political issues. Rosen's RIAA advanced a legal and public relations campaign to limit the digital file swapping of copyrighted music.

In 2002, Rosen began to argue that the recording industry should begin even more aggressive tactics aimed at individual citizens engaged in file sharing. The content industry, already facing an anti-copyright backlash, opted against Rosen's approach.

Speaking in 2007, Rosen said:

It's pretty well known that I was impatient with the pace of the [Music] industry's embrace of online distribution of music. There's no substitute for speed when times are dire. The record companies had valid reasons for their caution, but that caution let the situation get out of hand.[6]

In 2010, Rosen gave an interview and spoke candidly on her career:

When I gave $1,000 or $2,000 to a lawmaker, I wanted him to listen to my business proposition. And when I helped organize an event that raised $50,000 or $100,000, you bet I expected their vote. Why else do it?[7]

Departure from RIAA[edit]

Rosen resigned as head of the RIAA at the end of 2003 because she wanted to spend more time with her partner, Elizabeth Birch, and the twins they had adopted in 1999. Birch was then the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, an organization devoted to LGBT rights.[8]

Rosen and Birch separated in 2006.[9]

Communications consultant and pundit[edit]

Over her career, Rosen has worked on political campaigns of several Democratic politicians including New Jersey governor Brendan Byrne, Senator Bill Bradley, and Senator Dianne Feinstein.[10] In 2006, Rosen founded Berman Rosen Global Strategies, a short-lived consulting firm, with Jason Berman, Chairman of the International Recording Industry Association. In 2007, she was involved in creating the now-defunct OurChart.com for fans of the television series The L Word.[11][12]

She began working for the Brunswick Group, a London-based PR firm, in 2008.[13]

Rosen left the Brunswick Group, joining the PR firm SKDKnickerbocker in 2010.[14]

Consultant to British Petroleum (BP)[edit]

Fire on Deep Water Horizon

In June 2010, during Deepwater Horizon oil spill, The Washington Post revealed that Rosen was a consultant for British Petroleum (BP). This revelation led Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post, which she worked for during the 2008 election, to cut ties with Rosen.[15]

Cable news pundit[edit]

Rosen began a television pundit career, first with CNBC and then with MSNBC. She signed with CNN in early 2008.

On April 11, 2012, during an appearance on CNN, Rosen criticized Mitt Romney for using his stay-at-home wife as an adviser on women's issues, stating that Ann Romney "has never worked a day in her life."[16][17] The statement sparked a backlash,[18][19][20] and Rosen apologized for her comments the following day.[21]

In popular culture[edit]

External video
"Jimmy Kimmel on Hilary Rosen" on YouTube

The internationally-broadcast 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner included the featured speaker Jimmy Kimmel satirically commenting on Rosen's brief role in the 2012 campaign, saying:[22][23][24][25]

One of [White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's] jobs is to keep track of all the Hilary Rosens. For those of you who aren't familiar with this story [...] Hilary Rosen is the woman who said Ann Romney never worked a day in her life, even though Mrs. Romney raised five kids. And of course, the administration tries to distance itself from those comments. They said she's not an adviser to the Obama campaign, even though, as we later found out, her name appeared on the White House visitor log 35 times.

So when reporters ask Jay, why her name showed up 35 times, this is where it gets hilarious. He said, he wasn't sure it was the same Hilary Rosen. He said, I personally know three Hilary Rosens.

You personally know three Hilary Rosens? Where did all these Hilary Rosen come from? Did you pick them from the Hilary Rosen garden?

I'd bet you $10,000 you don't know three Hilary Rosens, but I'm not running for president though.

Consultant and alleged lobbyist[edit]

White House visitor logs list 35 instances where a "Hilary Rosen" visited the White House.[26] In 2009, the AP reported that Rosen was present at a White House meeting between health care industry lobbyists and senior White House strategists.[27] In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rosen was consulting with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.[28]

Rosen attended the March 2012 White House state dinner with her client John Kelly of Microsoft.[29] Rosen supported the Stop Online Piracy Act.[30] In April 2012, The Nation's journalist Lee Fang penned an article entitled "The Real Hilary Rosen Scandal" in which Rosen's firm is described as "an unregistered lobbying firm that has become one of the biggest names in the influence business by using its ties to President Obama and leaders in Congress." An unnamed senior Democrat was quoted as saying: "It’s an open secret in the Dem consultant community that [Rosen's firm] SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment."[31] Articles in Newsweek and New York Times also have described her as a lobbyist.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

Rosen is a lesbian. She adopted twins, a boy and a girl, with former partner Elizabeth Birch.[34]


  1. ^ Jim Geraghty (12 April 2012) Who Is Hilary Rosen? Crass? Gilded? Stern? National Review. Retrieved 7 December 2013
  2. ^ a b Holson, Laura M. (August 20, 2001). "Recording Industry's Top Lobbyist Seeks Harmony in a Time of Discord". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). ISSN 0362-4331. OCLC 1645522. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Bai, Matt (February 1, 2003). "Hating Hilary". Wired (Condé Nast). ISSN 1059-1028. OCLC 24479723. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie. "10 things about Hilary Rosen". Politico. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ Bai, Matt (February 2003). "Hating Hilary". Wired. 
  6. ^ The Daily Beast - Uncharted Terrain
  7. ^ May 2010 issue of Freeman magazine, quoted here
  8. ^ Holson, Laura M. (January 23, 2003). "The Media Business; Recording Industry Lobbyist Plans to Leave Her Position". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie (12 April 2012). "10 things about Hilary Rosen". Politico. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "10 things about Hilary Rosen". POLITICO. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  11. ^ "Uncharted Terrain". The Daily Beast. May 27, 2007. 
  12. ^ "The L Word: A New Year A New OurChart". Showtime. Retrieved April 12, 2012.  Part of OurChart were included in Showtime.com
  13. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 21, 2008). "Hilary Rosen To Lead Brunswick's D.C. Office". The Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Allen, Mike (July 29, 2010). "Hilary Rosen joins SKDKnickerbocker". Politico. 
  15. ^ Ben Smith, HuffPost cuts ties with BP consultant Rosen, Politico (June 4, 2010).
  16. ^ Pickert, Kate (April 12, 2012). "Ann Romney and Hilary Rosen Debate Motherhood: What American Women Really Think". Time. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ Lowen, Linda (April 12, 2012). "Transcript of Hilary Rosen's Actual Ann Romney Comments Reveal Intent Yet Still Spark Working Mom / Stay at Home Mom Conflict". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  18. ^ Rosen, Hilary (April 12, 2012). "Ann Romney and working moms". CNN.com. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  19. ^ "Ann Romney criticism sparks political row over women". BBC News. April 12, 2012. 
  20. ^ Friedman, Emily (April 11, 2012). "Ann Romney Fights Back: Debuts on Twitter to Counter DNC Advisor’s Insult". ABC News. 
  21. ^ "Rosen apologizes over comments against Ann Romney". CNN Political Ticker (CNN). April 12, 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  22. ^ Kimmel video on YouTube
  23. ^ Noah Rothman , Jimmy Kimmel Goes After Obama, Republicans And The Press At W.H. Correspondents Dinner, Mediate, April 28, 2012.
  24. ^ CNN Transcript: Live Coverage of White House Correspondents' Dinner, CNN,April 28, 2012.
  25. ^ Joel Gehrke, Kimmel all but calls Jay Carney a liar, Washington Examiner, April 29, 2012.
  26. ^ The National Review Hilary Rosen, Frequent White House Visitor
  27. ^ AP Records Show White House Health Care Talks
  28. ^ Langley, Monica (February 16, 2012). "Combative Top Democrat Gains Clout in Campaign". The Wall Street Journal. 
  29. ^ Slate - Meanwhile, Political Consultants Are Still Horrible
  30. ^ Daily Caller Hilary Rosen supported SOPA
  31. ^ Lee Fang, The Real Hilary Rosen Scandal, The Nation, April 13, 2012. Quote: “a Democratic lobbyist”
  32. ^ Michele Cottle, Michelle's To-Do List, Newsweek, November 19, 2012. Quote: “top Democratic lobbyist Hilary Rosen”
  33. ^ Jeremy W. Peters, The Gayest Place in America?, New York Times, November 15, 2013. Quote: “a longtime Democratic lobbyist”
  34. ^ Weinger, Mackenzie (April 12, 2012). "10 things about Hilary Rosen". Politico. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 

External links[edit]