Sony Pictures had a plan to offer “Clean Versions” of movies to families…but Hollywood shot it down.
“This is absolute bull****! Sony Pictures is gonna get hell for f****** with our movies. Shove the clean versions up you’re a**!”
So shrieked filmmaker Judd Apatow on Twitter, in reaction to Sony announcing its plan to offer sanitized editions of its films to audiences. These versions are typically shown on airlines and broadcast TV but are not otherwise available.
Sony intended to make the “clean versions” available to family audiences on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime – no doubt in response to the lawsuit by VidAngel, a filtering service which allows viewers at home to screen out offensive content. The pilot program was “developed in response to specific consumer feedback, that offers viewers the option of watching an airline or TV version of certain movies when they purchase the original version,” said Sony Home Entertainment President Man Jit Singh.
Unfortunately, within a day of the “Clean Version” story making the news, the Director’s Guild of America unleashed a blistering attack on the studio head, who was just trying to make more money for creators by making their works available to family audiences.
Confronted with the DGA’s rage, Sony immediately folded. One day after he announced the “Clean Versions” program, Singh backpedaled, saying “Our directors are of paramount importance to us, and we want to respect those relationships to the utmost. If any of them are unhappy or have reconsidered, we will discontinue [making the ‘clean version’ available] for their films,” Singh said.
But now, the DGA is complaining that Sony’s president hasn’t groveled enough. “While we’re pleased that Sony is acknowledging its mistakes in this area,” a DGA statement sneered, “the DGA has notified Sony that it expects the immediate removal of all ‘clean’ versions of the affected films from availability until Sony secures permission from each and every director.” A more direct response came from director Seth Rogen: “Holy s***! Don’t do this to our movies,” Rogen said on Twitter.
Under the guise of “artistic freedom,” and “protecting the rights of directors,” the Hollywood community is willing to deny audiences THEIR freedom and rights to protect their children from ultra-graphic content, as guaranteed by Congress in the 2005 Family Home Movie Act.
The Hollywood community is adamantly opposed to anyone seeing any version of their “artistic” movies with profanity, explicit sex, and graphic violence removed, despite the obvious audience demand for this. By ignoring their audience’s concerns, and refusing the considerable extra revenue they could gain by releasing ‘clean’ versions of their films (or making cleaner films in the first place), Hollywood is exposing their true intentions. This isn’t about an artist’s speech. It’s about an agenda.