2ND UPDATE with statements from PTC, MPAA and GLAAD 1:37 PM: The Parents Television Council, the Motion Picture Association of America and GLAAD have sent out statements in regards to the new PG-13 rating given by Classifications and Ratings Administration. Read all three at the bottom of this post.
UPDATE, 11:49 AM: The MPAA and the Weinstein Company have agreed on a PG-13 rating for TWC’s transgender drama 3 Generations, citing for “mature thematic content [and] some sexual references and language.” The Parents Television Council had sought an R rating for the film.
GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis wrote an open letter in support of the protest, highlighting the significance that portraying trans youth in a mainstream media can have on younger audiences. Ellis later spoke with Joan Graves, head of the Classification and Rating Administration for the MPAA, as well as with Harvey Weinstein in an effort to mediate a solution. TWC opted to make some edits to the film as a compromise.
“It’s organizations such as GLAAD, the ones that don’t shy away from the difficult conversations, that are the reason we are able to move this country forward and really shift the cultural conversations,” Weinstein said in a statement.”I spoke with Joan Graves at MPAA extensively on this, and I am thrilled that we came to a solution that maintains the integrity of this crucial film while making it accessible to its intended audience.”
PREVIOUSLY, April 11: This time, it’s personal. The Parents Television Council is standing behind the “R” rating from the MPAA for TWC’s transgender drama 3 Generations (formerly titled About Ray), which stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon. “The most worn-out page in (TWC head) Harvey Weinstein’s playbook describes how to whine about an age rating from the MPAA. And with his new film, 3 Generations, he is back at it once again, suggesting that his film is too important to be rated accurately. Mr. Weinstein must think that if a standard is good, then a double-standard is twice as good,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
Weinstein says the double-standard that exists is actually at the MPAA. “I disagree with the MPAA. I find that at the big studios they get clearances on films that are violent. I have children and I see them watching scary and horrifically violent PG-rated films and I’m supposed to trust the rating?” he asked. “The story (of 3 Generations) has a lot to do with a teenager making a choice. We asked for a PG-13 rating based on the MPPA having the ability to actually determine that in their discretion. We did this for Bully, too. We’re not doing it for our commercial movies. We’re not arguing with them on our commercial stuff … the only movies we protest is on those which are socially conscious.”
The MPAA assigned the R-rating on 3 Generations because of language and sexual content. The PTC also battled Weinstein when his company wanted to change MPAA’s “R” rating on the documentary Bully. That film’s rating was eventually changed to PG-13. Weinstein also went to bat on what turned out to be a four-time Oscar-award winning movie (including Best Picture) in The King’s Speech with some compromise and he said that the ultimate result was met with approval by many parents.
“On King’s Speech, we had so many letters from parents of stuttering kids who thanked us. (3 Generations) is also a very compassionate look at a very important subject and it has every right to be seen by teens. I have tremendous respect for the MPAA but we have a double standard for violence,” said Weinstein. “I know the LGBT community supports the movie and supports us in this. Also, we have (attorney) David Boies representing the case and he wouldn’t take the case unless he believed in this.”
Boies played a pivitol role in 2009 to overturn Proposition 8, California’s discriminatory ban on gay marriage.
For 3 Generations, Winter says, “The MPAA should stick with the assigned R rating if that movie ratings body believes it to be warranted by the content of the film, period. Either Weinstein can remove the content that causes the film to be rated R, or he can keep the content in and have the film rated R. Regardless of his two options, the man has been exposed for his dishonesty when he suggests that his film is too important to be rated R. If he is truly advocating for children, and if it is a ‘travesty’ that children won’t be able to watch his film if it is rated R, then why must those same children pay him to watch it?”
Weinstein said he does care about children and that is why he is fighting the rating, so that teens can watch a movie that is important to so many trying to make such a personal decision.
“There is abundant evidence pointing to inaccurate and inconsistent age ratings for entertainment media content. The various age rating systems are becoming muddled and more confusing not because of what parents want, but sadly because of what entertainment industry executives can get away with. If the MPAA chooses to create special age rating criteria for Harvey Weinstein, then it will simultaneously destroy whatever level of trust parents have placed in the system over the past 50 years.”
To that, Weinstein said issued a challenge directly to the MPAA: “Take 400 parents and teenagers above the age of 13 and let them watch our movie, and let them decide (what it should be rated). I will abide by that decision.”
Here are the statements issued Thursday by the PTC, MPAA and GLAAD:
Said PTC President Tim Winter: “We understand and agree that this film centers on a very important topic. But the trustworthiness of the MPAA’s content rating system is also important. In light of today’s announcement, one of two things has happened: either the production company has removed the specific instances of content that required it to be R-rated, or the MPAA has chosen to disregard its own standards for what is acceptable in PG-13 films. We don’t yet know the answer to that question, but there is no third option. Either parents are going to be able to rely on a system based on standards that were put in place to help them, or they won’t,”
“Harvey Weinstein said he spoke with Joan Graves at MPAA extensively about his film’s rating. If Weinstein can speak with Ms. Graves at MPAA extensively and secure a reduced rating, then why can’t parents speak with Ms. Graves extensively and secure a higher age rating, if they feel it is appropriate?
“Whether it’s MPAA or the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, we are clearly on a path where the content ratings systems protect the interests of Hollywood, not parents.”
MPAA stated: “This film has gone through all of the regular procedures outlined in CARA’s rules. While we cannot discuss the process for a particular film due to a confidentiality agreement, we can confirm that TWC has accepted the PG-13 rating for the last version of 3 Generations screened by CARA. While we regularly meet with a wide range of organizations to discuss the rating system, no outside groups have any influence on the rating process. Each film is rated by a team of raters, who are themselves parents, in order to serve CARA’s purpose of providing information to parents about viewing choices for their children.”
GLADD applauded the CARA decision, saying: “3 Generations is a film that all families should be able to see,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “When audiences around the world meet transgender teen Ray and see the love that his family shows him, it will not only send a powerful message to LGBTQ youth, but to families of all types. The MPAA made the right decision and once again The Weinstein Company dared to tell culture-changing LGBTQ stories that Hollywood too often shies away from.”
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.