Friday , September 18 2020

“Rated R for Butt Puffing”

I was just railing against TV irresponsibility, but what about film responsibility? Variety reports that the AMA and the World Health Organization have called for movies that “glamorize” smoking to be rated R:

    “As countries worldwide grapple with the devastating and increasing impact of tobacco use, the entertainment industry must acknowledge the role it plays in shaping behavior — particularly for youth who are so susceptible to the onscreen glamorization of smoking,” said Chitra Subramaniam, head of the WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative.

    UC San Francisco School of Medicine professor Stanton Glantz, founder of Smoke Free Movies, is waging the campaign endorsed by the AMA and the WHO. Armed with the endorsement of those two groups, Glantz is likely to make plenty of noise in the days ahead. His project is asking the movie biz to do the following:

    = Encourage the Motion Picture Assn. of America to issue an R rating to films that show smoking but don’t reflect the dangers and consequences;

    = Eliminate all tobacco brand images, even those in background shots;

    = Show anti-tobacco PSAs before any film that makes even the slightest reference to tobacco;

    = Roll onscreen credits in films with smoking certifying that nobody on a production accepted anything of value from any tobacco company or its agents.

    ….The MPAA, however, is unlikely to comply with the request and begin applying the “R” rating to movies with smoking.

    MPAA president-CEO Jack Valenti has long argued against eroding the ratings system by expanding the parameters to include new behaviors.

    Glantz says his group is not asking Hollywood to alter content. Rather, he says he wants to make sure moviegoers are at least educated about the dangers.

It seems to me the obvious answer is to elucidate what the rating represents, as is done for TV: “rated R for graphic violence, deviant sex and glorification of smoking.”

The line between responsibility and nanny-state, PC overkill is elusive and ever-moving, but image does count and with the glut of pre-feature nonsense already shown in theaters, one more delay in the form of an anti-smoking PSA couldn’t hurt.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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