10 Things About Hollywood’s Opposition to Filtering

Ten facts that help us understand Hollywood’s opposition to filtering.

  1. Hollywood’s response to the filtering industry has always been litigation. In 2002, the studios sued every filtering company in existence.  And in 2016, they sued VidAngel, the leader in filtering streamed movies.
  2. When Wiki-leaks published many Sony documents, it revealed that studios have quietly inserted clauses in their contracts with streaming services that prohibit family filtering. As a rationale, the contracts reference a deal the studios have with the Directors’ union (the DGA) to forbid filtering.
  3. The DGA has always opposed family filtering, led by the most powerful directors, who contractually get full control (final cut approval) over all versions of their movies. It’s interesting that the DGA bows to this pressure from the elite, because most of its director members do not have control over edited versions of their movies for airlines, TV, foreign countries, etc.  And many, even if they can make recommendations for edited versions, don’t ever get involved.
  4. Surprisingly, Disney is leading the charge against filtering. That’s right—the company of Mickey Mouse and “The happiest places on earth.”
  5. Disney has stated that it is not opposed to filtering, and that its objections to VidAngel and new FMA legislation is not intended to stop filtered streaming, but rather is all about their concerns with VidAngel’s business model. So now that Congress is drawing up new language for the bill which does not support the business model, it will be interesting to see if Disney supports it, or instead finds a different reason to oppose family filtering.
  6. Disney and the other studios have also claimed that they are fine with family filtering as long as it is licensed by the studios. However, this position is clearly a smokescreen, as the studios have never, ever offered to license family filtering.
  7. Hollywood has unleashed a swarm of high-paid lobbyists to Capitol Hill to thwart the clarification of The Family Movie Act to include streaming. For perspective, Chris Dodd, the former Senator and head of the MPAA, has an annual salary of $2.4 million.
  8. Why is Hollywood so sensitive about this? Maybe it’s because the industry is self-conscious about the levels of sex, violence, profanity and general ugliness that is in movies at steadily increasing rates.
  9. One self-righteous argument Hollywood has made about family filtering is that if families don’t like the content, they shouldn’t watch the movies. This comes across as a little disingenuous in light of the average $50 million in marketing they spend to lure Americans into each movie—much of it targeted at minors.  For the blockbusters, it’s as much as $100 million.
  10. Hollywood has no economic motivation to oppose the streaming clarification of the Family Movie Act. It doesn’t take a nickel out of their pockets.  And in fact, it makes them more money through more movie viewings.  It would be nice if studios agreed to simply do the right thing.  But since that hasn’t happened, we need a legislative solution—a clarification update to the Family Movie Act of 2005.


Hollywood’s Infatuation with Sex, Violence and Profanity

  • VidAngel: Profanity in Movies, paintball style. Watch the video that has been viewed almost 2 million times!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7t85SESTXI
  • The Pediatrics: “Similar rates of co-occurrence between PG-13 and R-rated films suggest that the Motion Picture Association of America ratings system is not sensitive to the joint portrayal of violence and alcohol, sex, and tobacco-related risk behaviors. The on-screen clustering of violence with other risk behaviors is cause for concern and worthy of additional research.“ http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/133/1/71
  • Hollywood Reporter: Gun Violence in PG-13 Movies Has More Than Tripled Since 1985 (Study). “Of the 420 movies studied since 1985, 396 films (94 percent) had one or more five-minute segment containing violent sequences.”
  • Hollywood Reporter: Study: PG-13 Films Combine as Much Violence, Sex and Alcohol as R-Rated Titles. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/study-pg-13-films-combine-663899
  • The Heritage Foundation: New Study Shows Increased Sexual Content in Movies Leads to Earlier Teen Sex. “The researchers found that for each additional hour of exposure to sexual content in movies, the risk of initiating sex at each age increased more than five times. The increased risk between teens with high exposure and those with low exposure widened significantly during the later teenage years.https://www.myheritage.org/news/new-study-shows-increased-sexual-content-in-movies-leads-to-earlier-teen-sex/
  • Parents Television Council: Protecting Children or Protecting Hollywood? “The scientific consensus is that exposure to graphic sex and violence in the media places children at risk of harm. Sadly, despite the proven science demonstrating the link between media content and harm to children, a vocal opposition to this scientific evidence has developed, with the loudest voices of protest coming from those who produce and profit from explicit media. When confronted with the concerns of parents and even the evidence of science, the entertainment industry and its minions dismiss legitimate concerns as “moral panic,” or claim that their products have no influence over viewers.” http://w2.parentstv.org/MediaFiles/PDF/Studies/2016RRStudy.pdf
  • New American: Sex in Movies Correlates to Sexualized Adolescents, Research Shows. “Youth who regularly view movies with sexual content have a greater tendency to begin engaging in sexual activity at a younger age, have more casual sexual partners, and engage in what the researchers referred to as “unsafe sexual practices” — e.g., having sex without a condom.” https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/family/item/12471-sex-in-movies-correlates-to-sexualized-adolescents-research-shows
  • Institute for Family Studies: The Problem with Exposing Kids to Sexual and Violent Content. “…according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, prolonged exposure to violence increases agreement with the idea that violence is an acceptable way of solving problems. It also promotes acceptance — in children — of the “mean world” syndrome: a belief that the world is a dark and sinister place. Ongoing (or even periodic and accidental) exposure to sexual and violent content is empirically proven to have a desensitizing impact on both children and adults. The more we watch it, the less concerned we are about it — and the greater the potential impact on us, on our children, and on our society.  We may not become “violent” or “sexual,” but our behaviour and our responses are impacted by what we have seen. Empathy is reduced. Objectification is increased. Morality erodes.  https://ifstudies.org/blog/the-problem-with-exposing-kids-to-sexual-and-violent-content/
  • Parents Television Council: An Examination of Violence, Graphic Violence and Gun Violence in the Media: “Data revealed there were great discrepancies in how the shows were rated. Shows with the lowest volume of violence were given higher content ratings. In contrast, shows with the highest and most graphic violent content were given lower TV content ratings indicating the content was appropriate for a younger audience. The Walking Dead, the most violent show in the study, was initially rated TV-14 and later changed as the network deemed subsequent episodes worthy of a TV-MA rating. The present study shows that within 4 hours of programming The Walking Dead contained a total of 546 acts of violence. This is equivalent to 136.5 acts of violence per hour of programming. Minus commercials, the show averaged 1 act of violence every 19 seconds. During the 4 hours of The Walking Dead the viewers witnessed 202 dead bodies, 82 stabbings, 54 individuals being injured or killed by gunfire, 90 guns, 80 bladed weapons, 33 decapitations, 21 attempted shootings and more.”  http://w2.parentstv.org/MediaFiles/PDF/Studies/VStudy_dec2013.pdf
  • CNN: Inside the billion-dollar, super-censored inflight movie industry. “In a small, darkened editing suite with no windows, a man peers into his monitor at the Will Ferrell movie “Bewitched.” He’s scanning for the scene with the sausages, so he can edit it out.  He’ll censor any dialogue that mentions sausages and edit the subtitles too. He works for a company that sells movies to airlines, and this particular customer comes from the Middle East, where pork and its derivatives are taboo.”  http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/12/travel/secrets-of-in-flight-movies/