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Film Czars: Movie Smoking Ban Would Defy Free Speech

Image: Film Czars: Movie Smoking Ban Would Defy Free Speech
(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 12:37 PM

Hollywood's governing movie groups are fighting a lawsuit that demands all films which feature actors smoking be denied "G," "PG" or "PG-13" ratings.

If the suit is successful, any flick in which people light up could be restricted to children under the age of 17 — including the family classic, "The Wizard of Oz," in which Dorothy's Uncle Henry smokes a pipe as he talks with Miss Gulch.

The suit, filed by concerned parents, says such popular PG-13 films as "Dumb and Dumber To," "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Iron Man 3" feature smoking and yet are viewable by kids — even though inhaling nicotine can lead to deadly diseases, The Hollywood Reporter says.

But the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners counter that movie ratings are only "opinions" to be used by parents to judge a film's suitability for their kids.

"The First Amendment provides those opinions with 'full constitutional protection' against civil liability," argued the MPAA's lawyers in a motion, according to The Reporter.

Some of Hollywood's most memorable scenes feature actors firing up a smoke, such as Paul Henreid lighting two cigarettes at once and then handing one of them to Bette Davis in the 1942 tearjerker "Now Voyager."

"G" "PG" or "PG-13" ratings mean theater owner can admit anyone into films carrying those designations, although the latter two carry warnings of possible objectionable material including smoking, rude humor, mature language, thematic elements and rear nudity.

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Hollywood's governing movie groups are fighting a lawsuit that demands all films which feature actors smoking be denied "G," "PG" or "PG-13" ratings.
hollywood, smoking, movies, cigarettes
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2016-37-19
Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 12:37 PM
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