• PTC Calls on NYC Theater to Enforce NC-17 Movie Rating for Sexually Explicit Film

    by  • October 30, 2013 • Other • 13 Comments

    The Parents Television Council issued a stern warning to the IFC Center in New York City requesting that the theater not allow the admittance of children to the NC-17-rated film, Blue Is The Warmest Color, as the theater has presumably been doing.

    In a letter to John Vanco, senior vice president and general manager of the IFC Center, PTC President Tim Winter wrote:

    “On behalf of the 1.3 million members of the Parents Television Council, whose mission it is to protect children from sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, I am deeply distressed to learn of your decision not to abide by the MPAA guidelines for the motion picture rating NC-17 by allowing minor children admittance to the film Blue Is The Warmest Color.

    “Media accounts regarding the film’s content indicate that it features, among other graphic sexual content, a 15-minute long explicit sex scene.  In a recent interview, actress Lea Seydoux, who plays Emma in the film, said that during the filming of this centerpiece scene that she felt ‘like a prostitute.’ Consequently, the MPAA’s assigned rating of NC-17 for ‘explicit sexual content is not in dispute.

    “The MPAA ratings exist for one reason alone: to give parents information about the content of motion pictures. In your statement regarding this issue, you claimed ‘this is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it is not inappropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds.’ By what measure will the IFC Center be ascertaining the maturity of the children to whom you will sell tickets? At what age, or what unascertained maturity level, will a child be denied entry? And if, in your sole determination, this film is so vitally important for some children to see, then why would you charge them for admission – unless of course this is nothing but a publicity stunt for a film that is D.O.A at the US box office? These are questions left unanswered because there is no reasonable answer you could possibly give that preserves parental input and authority over the media consumption of their children.

    “Simply put, you and the IFC Center are in no position to determine which children are ‘mature’ enough to view explicit sexual content without the presence of a parent or guardian. Whether a child should view explicit sexual content is a decision best left to parents and families, and we strongly object to your theaters’ usurping of their appropriate role.

    “Therefore, we call on the IFC Center to immediately begin enforcing the reasonable MPAA guidelines for the NC-17 rating and not allow the admittance of children. This will in no way inhibit those adults who wish to view the film every ability to do so; but it will ensure that parents have the information they need and the industry backing they’ve been promised for more than 50 years.

    “The IFC Center’s decision to usurp parental and family authority by allowing unfettered access to children of adult-rated, explicit sexual content is a direct assault on parents and families across the country. Your selective unenforcement of the MPAA guidelines in this instances approaches industrial fraud, in that the system is intended specifically for the purpose of parental reliance, and that reliance has been obviated. Parents must be assured that content ratings are accurate, consistent and transparent, and they must be confident that exhibitors will enforce them appropriately at the theater; otherwise the system is utterly worthless.

    “We ask that you immediately reconsider this self-serving and undermining business decision, and instead do what is in the right and best interests of parents, families and children. The Parents Television Council will bring its full weight and credit to bear to make a national issue of your decision, via every available means, until it is reversed.”

    NC-17 Rating



    13 Responses to PTC Calls on NYC Theater to Enforce NC-17 Movie Rating for Sexually Explicit Film

    1. Bonnie Sager
      October 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      I am horrorstruck that this theater in particular is flouting the MPAA NC-17 rating concerning the film, Blue is the Warmest Color. Stop and desist immediately.

    2. Barney McNeill
      October 31, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      PTC is wonderful! We need a strong group like this trying to bring TV back to what it was in the 50′s morally.

    3. Anthony S. Altano
      November 1, 2013 at 4:48 am

      Good JOB PTC!!!! Enforce the laws for us!!! We need to go back to the old movies!! They used to be so clean and fun to watch!! The junk they put in the Movies is trash!!!

      • Mike
        November 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm

        Hmmmm…I think you forgot to mention that the sex scene is girl on girl. If I wanted to watch that, I’d watch lesbian porn. But hey. Nothing is sacred anymore and everything will continue to get shoved in our faces to we realize what the hollywood and music industry are really doing to our youth. This is intentional social engineering. People should just turn off t.v. all together. It’s poison. HD t.v. and flicker rates affect your brain. My ex wife watched many many hours of t.v. and would stare at it with mouth open. Sometimes it was hard to get her attention.

    4. The7Sticks
      November 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

      From what I have read about the movie, the characters in question are supposed to be lesbian teenagers, so I find it perplexing why such a movie should only be seen by adults? It sends a pretty mixed message about encouraging only adults to view a simulated lesbian sex scene between two characters described as fifteen or sixteen years old. There must be a point to this other than prurience if the IFC theater wants only teens to see it. I had also read that in some other countries, the rating this particular movie received was the equivalent of a PG-13 or an R.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        November 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        1) Does any 15 year old need to see explicit sex scenes, simulated or otherwise?

        2) IFC Center says they want “mature” and “inquiring” teens to be able to see it. How is IFC going to determine which teens are “mature” enough, or if their motivation is being “inquiring” vs. being a teenage boy who wants to see two girls make out with each other?

        3) IFC is ignoring the MPAA rating banning anyone under 17. So, what IS IFC’s cut-off age? Do they have one? What age children WILL IFC ban from the theater? 14 year olds? 12 year olds? 8 year olds? They refuse to say.

        4) How is it a theater manager’s place to decide that underage minors should be allowed to see a movie that the Motion Picture Association of America’s recommendations to parents say they shouldn’t?

        As far as the rating in other countries…other countries serve liquor to minors, too. Standards in the US are different.

        “There must be a point to this other than prurience if the IFC theater wants only teens to see it.”
        The IFC Center wants to make money. Announcing that they’ll allow teens to see explicit sex in an “adult” movie — then selling each teen a ticket at $10 a head (or will they charge the full adult price of $14?) –will allow them to make plenty. That’s their “point to this.”

        • Sean C.
          November 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

          It would be the theatre manager’s decision because it’s his theatre, and the MPAA ratings have always been purely voluntary. People have the choice of whether to follow them or not.

          The fact that other countries have different ratings systems that are far less obsessed with keeping people from seeing sexuality than the MPAA and yet their young people seem to be doing fine would suggest it’s not actually a problem.

          • Christopher Gildemeister
            November 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

            So if a theater manager decided to let 6 year olds see the Saw movies,would that be okay? After all, “it’s his theater.” And if it’s not okay, why not? Those movies had R ratings, which also are “purely voluntary.”

            The notion that other nations are automatically more “enlightened” or superior just because they’re different is an assumption worth questioning. You may not like standard American attitudes toward children and sex, but there are reasons those attitudes exist; and they shouldn’t be thrown aside just because other countries do things differently. Some other countries allow — even encourage — 13 year old girls to marry men in their 20s and 30s. Should we do that, too?

            • Justin
              November 2, 2013 at 6:53 am

              First of, I’m sure a theatre manager is smart enough to not let 6 year old kids see the Saw movies. Second, the person above never once said that other nations are automatically more “enlightened” or superior just because they’re different. He was just doing a comparison between the MPAA and other nations own rating systems, that doesn’t mean he’s against standard American attitudes towards children and sex in favor of another nations point of view just because of that and even if he was, understand that everyone has all kinds of opinions and attitudes towards this subject and try to understand why that is without judging or calling out the opinion as wrong.

          • C Perkins
            November 1, 2013 at 10:15 pm

            It’s sad when raising our kids becomes a social experiment where we get our morals only by looking around to see if other kids “seem to be doing fine”. In the least this view is rather naive, but how can you possibly judge how other cultures kids “seem”? Just because you’ve seem some good kids on the street in other countries? Nobody will track each kids who is exposed to such movies, how it will potentially thrust them into a life of premature sexual activity and disease and heartbreak, etc. Wait! Actually, there have been studies showing how these kinds of media DO INDEED NEGATIVELY EFFECT CHILDREN!

            I teach my children principles. I expect them to live by them. I live by them. I don’t take a poll from my neighbors (or other countries) to find out how to raise my children.

            That logic seems ridiculous to me. Take drugs for example. We just concluded Red Ribbon (i.e. Say No To Drugs) Week were I live. Can you imagine me just tossing those ideas out the window, inviting my kids to follow whatever their peers do if they “seem fine”? “Hey kids, look at our druggy neighbors. They seem fine, like nice kids. One of them even helped pick up something I dropped the other day. They waved and smiled to me this morning. They sure seem nice. Why don’t you go hang out with them?” Stupid. Naive.

    5. T. David Jones Jr.
      November 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      We have always feared and tried to avoid theaters who would push the envelope and allow underage children into movies like the occasional adult compelled to show his Playboy or Penthouse collection to children. This must not be allowed. Any theater that allows children under the posted age in must be boycotted. The posted ages are too low to begin with. There seems to be a societal plot to overly sexualize our children. Adults need to wait until marriage for the sexual relationship to begin. When they cannot stand to wait any longer move up the dates. But now because of this too young exposure we have elementary school children having sex. Shame on us!

      • Robert
        January 13, 2014 at 12:14 am

        Have you actually seen Blue is the Warmest Color? Its a wonderful love story and while, yes, the sex scenes are jarring, they are not done in a way that overpowers the film. I would have no problems allowing my 15 year old honors student daughter to see this film as she herself is having questions regarding her own sexuality. And rather than suppress her and tell her these feelings are not natural and some how wicked as people like you love doing, I am encouraging my daughter to be who she is and not what a minority of intellectually repressed members of society want her to be! Rather than shaming kids for exploring their sexuality as is perfectly natural, we should be encouraging they do so in a safe manner. This film is a work of art and is beautiful. Movie theaters are not bound to adhere to MPAA guidelines so perhaps the PTC’s resources would be better spent on intellectual outreach and informing some parents about how to talk to their children about films like these instead of shaming art.

        • Christopher Gildemeister
          January 13, 2014 at 8:13 am


          the PTC is not attempting to “suppress” your daughter or tell her her “feelings are not natural.” We made no comment whatsoever on the lesbian themes of the film. Our entire argument was concerned with an individual theater choosing to ignore the MPAA and the NC-17 rating. If every theater owner chose to ignore the ratings system, and allowed 15 year olds, or 12 year olds, or 8 year olds, into NC-17 films (and the theater in question refused to clarify what its age cutoff would be), it would completely destroy the entire purpose of a ratings system.

          I’m sorry that you believe that the PTC and other “people like you” love telling your daughter she is “wicked” and “shaming kids” — in spite of the fact that we said nothing about that whatsoever. Apparently, bigotry and snap judgments without evidence are not confined to those who oppose homosexual behavior.

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