• Hollywood’s Hypocrisy on Censorship

    by  • April 12, 2013 • Violence • 0 Comments

    In the wake of horrific massacres like those in Newtown and Aurora, Hollywood continues to claim that what people see in entertainment has no influence on their behavior. (This, in spite of the fact that the entire purpose of showing commercials on television is to influence viewer behavior.)

    In fact, Hollywood is absolutely adamant that any limitation on violent or other content would constitute “censorship.” On the issues of media violence, sex, and profanity, Hollywood wraps itself in the flag and declaims the First Amendment, as though Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were advocating entertainment which glorifies serial killers, f-bombs, and underage sex, not free political debate. By so doing, the “creative” personnel behind Hollywood’s output gleefully abuse the liberties America grants them.

    But somehow, when it comes to a brutal dictatorship like China – one which infamously exterminated millions of its own inhabitants during its “Cultural Revolution” – Hollywood is happy to cave in to “censorship,” gladly deleting anything that nation’s Communist overlords don’t want their exploited masses to see.

    Last December, director Quentin Tarantino – whose response to the tragedy in Newtown was, “There’s violence in the world. Tragedies happen. Give me a break” – adamantly refused to even delay the opening of his ultra-violent film Django Unchained, let alone make any changes to it. Yet, as The Hollywood Reporter mentioned recently, Tarantino has agreed to eliminate violent scenes for the film’s release in China.

    So: when his own countrymen, suffering under a horrible tragedy, ask for some consideration, Tarantino says, “Give me a break,” and bloviates about “artistic freedom”; but when a ruthless dictatorship orders him to cut his film, he obeys without question.

    But Tarantino is far from the only one in Hollywood guilty of such hypocrisy.  The upcoming  film World War Z will change the origin point of its “zombie apocalypse” from China to another country. Iron Man 3 has gone so far as to film separate versions for American and Chinese audiences, so that the latter are not offended by its villain the Mandarin (a Chinese evildoer present in comic books since the 1960s). The recent James Bond film Skyfall even cut a scene in New York’s Chinatown!

    Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with studios choosing to alter the content of their entertainment products to avoid offending viewers. Not only is considering audience sensibilities a polite thing to do, it is a fiscally intelligent one…and Hollywood is, after all, in business to make money.

    But it is a pity that those in Hollywood are more willing to consider the sensibilities of foreign audiences than those in their own country. And it is the very nadir of hypocrisy for them to shove ever-more graphic content at domestic audiences in the name of “freedom,” while simultaneously eliminating it while bending the knee to foreign tyrants.

     

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

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