• F-bomb Bully Weinstein Again Pushing Profanity

    by  • November 14, 2013 • Profanity • 5 Comments

    Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein loves foul language – and ignoring the movie ratings system. In recent years, he has deliberately used the f-bomb in his films, then bullied the Motion Picture Association of America into changing R-ratings to PG-13. This week, Weinstein struck again.

     This week, Hollywood boss Harvey Weinstein successfully pressured the MPAA into lowering the rating on his upcoming film Philomena from an R to a PG-13, despite the movie’s repeated use of the f-word.

    This is the second time the MPAA has knuckled under to Weinstein. Last year, the producer bullied the ratings group into lowering the rating on his documentary Bully from R to PG-13, even though it contained multiple f-words. (The fact that Weinstein has a long-standing relationship with MPAA head Chris Dodd is surely a coincidence.)

    It wasn’t always this way. In 2011, in the otherwise excellent and family-friendly film The King’s Speech, Weinstein deliberately inserted a sequence in which the king rattles off a string of f-bombs. Back then, the MPAA stood firm. After the movie won the Oscar for Best Picture, Weinstein re-released a PG-13 version with the profanity edited out, so that younger audiences could see it (and Weinstein could make more money). 

    In the case of Bully, Weinstein claimed that the subject matter of the film was relevant to and important for children, and that therefore the rating should be changed so kids could see it. But, as PTC President Tim Winter pointed out, that reasoning is ludicrous. If the film was so “important” for kids to see, why didn’t Weinstein simply leave the profanity out to begin with? Or, if he felt the language was a crucial part of the film, why didn’t he release Bully on the Internet as a public service, so kids could see it for free?

    The entire reason a ratings system exists is to give parents an guide to a film’s content, and help them determine what is and is not appropriate viewing for their children. If the MPAA abandons its standards and knuckles under to every producer who whines that they can’t make as much money because the content they chose to put in a film causes it to receive an R rating, where will parents be?

    Hollywood types like Weinstein hide behind “artistic choice” as their rationale for including vile language in their movies. But doing so is ridiculous, as a moment’s thought makes obvious. Are two f-words absolutely, totally, 100% crucial to telling the movie’s story? If Weinstein had taken them out, would the entire plot of the movie collapse? Would all the skilled acting, lighting, cinematography, and direction instantly become completely worthless? Obviously not. 

    This is not about overly-restrictive ratings rules and “artistic choice.” This is about the MPAA’s shameless capitulation to a producer who has been relentless in his repeated attempt to gut the movie ratings system. If the MPAA can be bullied into changing the rating of one film by a producer, it won’t be long before every producer demands the same treatment. The result will be a “ratings” system that is feeble at best…and totally meaningless at worst.



    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.

    5 Responses to F-bomb Bully Weinstein Again Pushing Profanity

    1. Confused
      December 16, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Bully should be the kind of thing for a 13 year old to see – the f-words are true and honest as to what happens on the schoolyard. Censoring it would give the bully power, as he is so foul adults censor him.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        December 17, 2013 at 6:30 am

        You may be right. But assigning the movie an R rating would not have banned 13 year olds from seeing it; it would only have requiref that they have a parent or adult with them. With the huge problem that bullying has become, wouldn’t it be a GOOD thing for parents to see such a movie with their kids?

        And, as some pointed out, if Bully was such an “important” movie for kids to see, why didn’t Weinstein distribute it to classrooms for free? That way, millions more kids could’ve seen and benefitted from it — and had concerned adults watching with them.

        Answer: Weinstein isn’t really concerned about helping kids or preventing bullying. He simply used this movie to advance his agenda: completely undermining the ratings system, allowing him to break any rule or guideline he pleases, do anything he pleases, any time he pleases, completely free from any form of oversight — or consequence for his bad judgment.

        • Animedude5555
          May 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

          You are partially right about that. You are correct that he’s not doing it to help kids. However, I doubt that his motive is undermining the ratings system. He could have successfully undermined the ratings system simply be keeping it unrated, or if he was concerned about being honest about the situation of bullying so as to help kids he also could have released it unrated (never bother to go to the MPAA to get it rated). An unrated movie could be released in theaters, on DVD, or on the internet, and it could have even been released for free, as being a service to the community to help those who are bullied. Instead he chose to give in to the MPAA and censored the words, and of course the movie is certainly not free. These aren’t the actions of someone who’s trying to honestly show the problem of bullying, nor of someone trying to undermine the rating system. Rather, these actions point to only one possible motive that this man has for making this movie. That motive is to make money. These are actions of someone who’s greed for money shows no bounds. This man’s movie is intended to make money, and make it off of the suffering of kids who are bullied. This man is a disgusting coward.

    2. Martha
      November 17, 2013 at 3:53 am

      How ironic that a bully bullies and gets away with it!

    3. Nancy
      November 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Good report. I, obviously, won’t be watching those movies either!

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