|29th September |
Simon Wiesenthal Center overreacts to naive Nazi parade at Thai school
See article from
A Jewish campaign organization has called for Thailand's Christian leaders to condemn a parade at the Sacred Heart School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in which participating students wearing Nazi uniforms performed Sieg Heil salutes.
participants carried a Swastika flag, performed Nazi salutes and donned SS uniforms, while others dressed as Adolf Hitler complete with moustache.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, based in Los Angeles, denounced the event, claiming it was glorifying Nazis.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the images made it clear that the event could not have taken place without the knowledge and cooperation of the school administration:
It is difficult to calculate the hurt such a display inflicted on survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and the families of all victims of Nazism. There can be no justification for such an outrage to emanate from place of learning.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged those responsible for the school to take immediate action against the individuals who promoted and facilitated the event.
A school director apologised: We, the entire Sacred Heart
School [personnel] are deeply saddened by this incident, and explained that the sports day activity involved groups being differentiated by colors, the Red group having used Nazi symbols.
Nazi Germany is not well covered in the Thai
school syllabus and it is very unlikely that any of the participants understood much about the significance of their regalia.
|24th September |
Human Centipede 2 premieres in Texas
The first poster for The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) has been unveiled. And the banned in Britain movie has made its debut at the Fantastic Fest film festival in Texas.
The poster depicts a centipede-like outline made up from 40 people
apparently sewn together.
The film will go on US cinema release from 7th October, but the MPAA Unrated version will limit the amount of cinema's partaking in the release.
And as for the first reactions from Fantastic Fest. It seems that the
BBFC are doing a far better job of recommending the film than any of the early critics.
Update: US Cuts
6th October 2011. Based on
article from newcityfilm.com
While unrated, cuts were
made for U.S. distribution, including a rape scene involving barbed wire and sandpaper.
|18th September |
Mayor of town in Georgia, US, bans a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
article from advocate.com
Facebook page in support of the production
A Mayor in Georgia has shut down a community theater's production of The Rocky Horror Show after deeming it too risque', reports Entertainment Weekly.
A production of the 1973 musical, a send-up of sci-fi and horror movies that
was turned into a still-adored cult film in 1975, was slated to open October 27 at the city-owned Carrollton Cultural Arts Center.
After viewing a video clip from rehearsal, Wayne Garner, the mayor of Carrollton, called the show too risque',
overruled the center's board, and canceled it. He told Atlanta's NBC-11 news:
I found it very offensive, not in keeping with the community of Carrolton, if you will.
I know this community well
and if that play was allowed to proceed, we'd be run out of town.
The director and cast of the production plan to find private sponsors and produce the play on a different stage in the city.
Successful whip round
3rd February 2012. See article from
A Facebook page was created in solidarity with the production, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.
A viral blitz of media coverage and a
grassroots effort were essentially borne out of the cancellation, with thousands offering words -- and dollars -- of support toward getting the production back on its feet after the setback.
Don't Dream It, Be It! Fight Censorship & Fund
Rocky Horror! is splashed across the top of the Kickstarter page, which also shows that 84 donors rallied to raise $5,319 for the production.
The show will now up in the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts at the University of West
Georgia. And those involved in getting the show off the ground couldn't be happier, especially for the sake of cultivating growing talent.
|9th September |
A PG-13 version of Columbiana may be a squeeze too much for the UK
Thanks to Gavin Salkeld
Colombiana is US/French action thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her father's murder.
It has been noted amongst US film reviewers as perhaps the most violent of films that have been squeezed into a US PG-13 rating.
As explained by Vaugh Fry in an article from vaughnonmovies.com
From a business perspective the PG-13 equals an increase in revenue. It allows the attractive high body count that appeals to a huge demographic: teenagers. It also allows these teens to go to the movies
without their parents, be it through their own means or the tried and true dropped off method. Generally speaking, a film is planned out in the vision of the writer and then cut by the studio to meet the MPAA standards to attain this rating.
R-rated franchises have fallen victim to PG13ification in their attempts to return money. Live Free or Die Hard omitted a recurring phrase made famous by series hero John McClane. Terminator Salvation rewrote the
actions of characters, which in their very names are intended to kill, so that they instead harmlessly toss people around like toys.
The themes found in a film should have a bigger role in the MPAA rating. Just this
past weekend I reviewed Colombiana , a PG-13 movie about a female assassin. Maybe I'm on crazy pills but surely I'm not the only person in the world who can read this synopsis and clearly envision an R. By making Colombiana PG-13, the movie
actually fails to deliver expectations, opting to blur or totally cut deathblows.
Well maybe this is all a bit too much of a squeeze for the UK distributors. The version submitted to the BBFC seems to be a little more grown up
and seems to sit happily with the uncut 15 rating awarded by the BBFC.
The US film censors of the MPPA rated Colombiana PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language. The MPAA are
very hot on strong language in PG-13 and stick to a maximum of 1 use, which is then referred to as 'brief strong language'.
However the version submitted to the BBFC contains 9 uses of strong language (eg 'fuck') as well as mild language (eg.
'bullshit', 'bastard', 'shit').
The BBFC also describe the violence in Colombiana, and it seems to sit very easily with their 15 rating, and if anything, seems to be justified against not requiring an 18 rating. The BBFC wrote
(spoiler alert) :
The film also contains scenes of strong violence. The thriller maintains a gritty and violent feel to the action and conflict and there are several scenes of strong,
impressionistic violence with briefly focused upon visual detail. The early shooting of the protagonist's father and the young daughter stabbing a knife in the hand of a criminal both have a strong impact. There are further strong moments such as an
extended fight between the protagonist and a mafia henchman. This includes the some heavy blows to the face and groin, attempted strangulation with a towel, bashing of the head against a bathtub and further images of attempted strangulation with a belt.
The Guidelines on violence at 15 state Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain and injury . While the violence in the film is strong, with some detail and sight of pain and injury being inflicted, it does not
dwell on these elements.
So perhaps the UK and presumably Europe are releasing an R Rated or Unrated version.
|9th September |
Now the Human Rights Law Foundation sues Cisco claiming that the company assisted China to monitor Falun Gong
See article from
Technology company Cisco has been sued by Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, reports ANI.
In its complaint, the Law Foundation said that Cisco made a anti-virus software to aid Chinese authorities in monitoring and imprisoning the
banned Falun Gong members. The monitoring of Falun Gong members is part of the Golden Shield Project that has been undertaken by the Chinese government to censor references to politically sensitive issues.
The Law Foundation said that Cisco
Chief John Chambers is constantly in touch with torture campaign founder Jiang Zemin regarding the project's implementation. The foundation also alleged that senior executives of the company have participated in the project despite knowing that a torture
campaign has been undertaken against Falun Gong members.
Cisco provided a secure connection to provincial security databases allowing for thorough cross-checking and movement-tracing ... [such that] policemen could remotely access the suspect's
work unit, access reports on the individual's political behaviour ... family history ... fingerprints, photographs and other imaging information, says the complaint quoting an engineer.
|4th September |
Recent book censorship by US security services
See article from salon.com
|1st September |
JC Penney pulls t-shirt that winds up the not so pretty
JC Penney has backed down over a slogan sweatshirt after easily offended sections of the blogosphere went into overdrive over its supposedly demeaning message.
The white top read I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me
and was aimed at 7-16 year olds.
It has now been removed from the store's site.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of embittered tweets condemned the shirt, many of which included comments such as appalled , offended , awful
According to ABC News, over 1,600 people signed a petition addressed to JCPenney Chairman and CEO Mike Ulman III. It reads: Under the guise of being cute, J.C. Penney is promoting merchandise that encourages
girls to value looks over brains; to leave academics to the boys, and to aspire to nothing more than fawning after Justin Bieber.
In statement the retailer said:
jcpenney is committed to being
America's destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the "Too pretty" t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale.
merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect.
|1st September |
Brazilian court freezes Google's bank accounts as they refuse to take down blogs that offended a local mayor
Courts in the Brazilian state of Ceara have blocked access to $140,000 in the accounts of Google Brazil refused to take down a series of blogs with content supposedly offensive toward the mayor of Varzea Alegre.
The blogs in question accuse
the mayor of corruption and diverting public funds, although no sources have been cited for the accusations. The mayor has reportedly said the blogs' anonymous messages smear his image.
|1st September |
Forum commenter in the US sues web host netfirms who revealed his identity to Thailand
See article from
A suit was filed on August 24, 2011 against Netfirms Inc., a Canadian web hosting company incorporated in the United States, for releasing personal information to the Thai government.
Netfirms' disclosures allowed Thai officials to identify,
detain, and interrogate the plaintiff, Anthony Chai, both in Thailand and on U.S. soil. These disclosures, without which Chai would have remained anonymous, resulted in the Thai government charging Chai with violating a Thai lese majeste law carrying a
sentence of 3 to 15 years in jail. Ironically, the comments that caused the online grief were criticizing that very same law used to restrict free speech in Thailand.
The suit alleges that the company's conduct violated California state law, as
well as Constitutional and international human rights law. This case lies at the intersection of privacy guarantees, freedom of expression, international human rights law and the Internet.
As set out in the complaint, Chai, who owns a
computer store in Long Beach, California from which he and his patrons would access and anonymously post comments on a Thai-language pro-democracy website, Manusaya.com, hosted by Netfirms. Many of the anonymous comments expressed concern with Thailand's
lese majeste' laws which prohibit any negative statements about the Thai monarchy and provide for severe punishment.
Chai's privacy rights were violated when, at the request of Thai government officials, Netfirms suspended Manusaya's account and
provided Chai's IP address and e-mail address to the Thai officials without notice and without his consent. As a result of this release of Chai's confidential personal information to Thai government officials, he was subsequently detained at the Bangkok
airport, taken to the Department of Special Investigations, and interrogated about his postings on the website. After finally being released from police custody in Bangkok and returning home to California, Chai was then interrogated by Thai officials
over the course of two days on U.S. soil at a hotel in Hollywood, California. Chai was later informed by Thai officials that if he returns to Thailand, he will be arrested and charged with violating lese majeste' laws.
Theresa Harris, Executive
Director of Human Rights USA said, Internet companies need to take great care before releasing confidential information to investigators, especially when those requests come from foreign governments. Information is power, and these companies have the
power to place a person at peril of imprisonment for the equivalent of an anonymous letter to the editor. Companies must be held accountable when they disregard the rights of the people who use their services.
|28th August |
FCC finally getting rid of last vestiges of the Fairness Doctrine
article from radiosurvivor.com
The Fairness Doctrine was a US requirement banning one-sided news programming. Of course this proved somewhat stifling in the land of 'shock jocks' and Fox News.
The US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced The
Doctrine from the late 1940s through the early 1980s. The agency, not Congress, created the rule. It said that broadcasters had to provide reasonable opportunity for contrasting points of view. In the early 1980s the FCC concluded that the policy
(which, in fact, was rarely enforced) was having a chilling effect on broadcasters, and let it go. Then Congress tried to restore it several times, but these efforts were vetoed by Presidents Reagan and the first President Bush.
But now FCC
Chair Julius Genachowski announced that the policy needs to be scotched yet again:
An unnecessary distriction, Genachowski called the Fairness Doctrine, which holds the potential to chill free speech and the free
flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.
In fact the FCC left vestigial references to the concept in its rule book, eg:
The Fairness Doctrine is contained in section 315(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which provides that broadcasters have certain obligations to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of
conflicting views on issues of public importance.
Section 315(a) covers broadcasters obligations to political candidates. It says that if radio and TV station licensees offer air time to any given political candidate,
they have to offer equal opportunities to other candidates, except when it comes to news stories.
Now it, and 82 other outdated and obsolete media-related rules have been dumped, Genachowski pledged:
The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction, his press statement added. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what
has long been a dead letter remains dead.
|27th August |
ABC kindly ban trailer for Our Idiot Brother
See article from
There's nothing like a censorship 'controversy' to help market a movie.
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is surely emjoying ABC's decision to ban one of the trailers for Our Idiot Brother . The TV network didn't like the shots of what
looked like a drug exchange or a shot of Paul Rudd pretending to urinate, or the general talk about smoking and getting high.
So The Weinstein Company cut another red band trailer aimed at mature audiences. And Weinstein issued a
flippant statement: We'd like to dedicate our new red band trailer for Our Idiot Brother to censorship everywhere. Enjoy!!
|16th August |
American photographer detained by police for taking photos with no apparent esthetic value
Thanks to Nick
Based on article from
Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures with no apparent esthetic value is within Long Beach Police Department policy.
McDonnell spoke of an incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long
Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a local refinery.
McDonnell explained: If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery , it is
incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.
McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters. McDonnell says that while there is no police training
specific to determining whether a photographer's subject has apparent esthetic value, officers make such judgments based on their overall training and experience and will generally approach photographers not engaging in regular tourist
This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD's policy ... to make every
effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism.
Among the non-criminal behaviors
which shall be reported on a SAR is taking pictures or video footage with no apparent esthetic value .
|15th August |
Human Centipede 2 set for a US theatrical release
See article from
The Human Centipede Part 2 (The Full Sequence) continues to languish in the UK banned vault. The last I heard, the appeal against the ban is still in progress.
But across the Atlantic in
the Land of the Sometimes Free, the film is set for a theatrical release (albeit limited).
According to the guys over at Arrow in the Head, The Human Centipede Part II: [Full Sequence] will hit select Landmark theatres on October 7th.
|14th August |
San Francisco police shut down underground mobile phone service to prevent protest about police shooting
See article from
In response to a threatened protest in its subway system, San Francisco authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone service in the underground stations of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, known locally as BART.
A civil disturbance
during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators, BART officials claimed in a statement. BART temporarily interrupted [mobile
phone] service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.
According to the local-news website SFist, the demonstration had been publicized by a group known as No Justice No BART in
response to the July 3 fatal shooting by BART police of an intoxicated homeless man, Charles Hill, who had allegedly thrown a knife at an officer.
To protest the shooting No Justice No BART posted on its website that it wanted to mobilize
without public announcement beforehand to preserve the element of surprise .
Unfortunately for No Justice No BART, their web posting was noticed, BART police were informed, and the mobile phone shutdown was instituted. The call to
pretest was removed from the website and the protest did not take place.
Rapper could face charges over flash mob tweet'
article from telegraph.co.uk
|12th August |
An NC-17 for 3D Sex and Zen makes distribution difficult
See article from
3D Sex and Zen has earned a NC-17 rating from Motion Picture Association of America, meaning big, fat corporate theaters weren't interested in showing the movie and most smaller, independent art house theaters don't have the technology to show
The Distributor Milt Barlow, CEO of China Lion, says in general, finding happy host screens in the US has been a battle, but San Francisco seems to be the biggest loser in this round. On the surface, America is a very conservative
country and I find it quite puzzling. It's supposed to be the land of free speech, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, says Barlow, chuckling, although audibly disappointed. Americans invented porn, didn't they?
According to the MPAA, NC-17
simply means the film contains visuals most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under and does not mean 'obscene' or 'pornographic' in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a
negative judgment in any sense. Many corporate theaters uphold policies that restrict the showing of anything past the R rating. When you take a glimpse at the types of programming available on cable or even prime-time TV, it feels likely some
creepy censorship shit.
|10th August |
US commentator has a go at supposedly increasing violence in PG-13 films
See article from reuters.com
|9th August |
A US federal court has backed the government's domain siezures
See article from cyberlaw.org.uk
|6th August |
The 10 best music videos banned by MTV
See article from blogs.dallasobserver.com
|5th August |
US to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
The Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center (NOC) will monitor blogs, social media, public forums, message boards and keywords to create a real time estimate of the U.S. national threat situation.
The Mexican paper Milenio
reported a few weeks back that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPC) through its National Operations Center (NOC) will monitor social media websites, blogs, public forums, news websites and keywords to
create a real-time snapshot of the [U.S.] nation's threat environment at any moment.
As the document, titled Privacy Impact Assessment of Public Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative , states:
The NOC will use Internet-based platforms that provide a variety of ways to follow activity related to monitoring publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards. Through the use of
publicly available search engines and content aggregators the NOC will monitor activities on the social media sites.
The NOC will review information posted by individual account users on third-party social media
websites of activities and events necessary to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. The NOC will access these web-based platforms to identify content posted by public users for the purpose of providing situational
awareness and establishing a common operating picture.
|4th August |
See article from deadspin.com
|2nd August |
A Serbian film scheduled for US DVD and Blu-ray
A Serbian Film will debut on Blu-ray in North America on October 25, 2011, courtesy of independent distributor Invincible Pictures. The news comes after the Serbian horror movie had a brief theatrical run and appeared on VOD through FlixFling.
Twitch Film is reporting that Invincible hasn't yet released the content, runtimes and extras that will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD. However, the studio has listed that the Blu-ray is expected to include the unrated version of the movie,
which features approximately an extra minute of footage. However it has previously been suggested that the unrated version will still be cut.
The Scandinavian release on the Cinematic Vision is uncut but
has no English subtitles for the Serbian soundtrack
|30th July |
Should PG-13 rated Pirates of the Caribbean by advertised on children's TV?
See article from
US film censors of the MPAA have said that ads for Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Fox's X-Men: First Class on kids TV shows were approved for the specific times and places they ran.
The New York Times
had reported that the Children's Advertising Review Unit had suggested that Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox may have gone against industry guidelines against the use of ads for PG-13 films during most TV shows targeting young children.
MPAA spokesman said in a statement:
Generally, a few PG-13 rated motion pictures are considered by the Advertising Administration to be compatible with children's programs. In the noted instances, the Advertising
Administration approved the advertisements for the specific time and placement in which they ran.
The Advertising Administration approves ads for rated films on a case-by-case basis, taking various factors into
consideration, including not only the rating of the motion picture, but its content, the content of the programming with which it will be placed and the time of day in which the ad is run. The PG-13 rating is a strong caution to parents that they should
investigate the motion picture before taking their young children; it does not necessarily mean that the motion picture is inappropriate for children under 13. Indeed, that determination is best left to parents who know and understand the sensitivities
of their children.
|25th July |
Torchwood cut by the BBC but to be shown uncut on US Starz TV
19th July 2011. Thanks to Nick
article from digitalspy.co.uk
The BBC has cut a sex scene from an upcoming episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day .
The moment featured Captain Jack (John Barrowman) sleeping with a barman and is expected to be shown in the US on cable network Starz, The Sun reports.
However, the scene will be cut from the UK broadcast. A BBC spokesperson explained:
It wasn't that it was a gay scene that worried people, but just the fact that it was such an explicit sex scene full stop, a
source said. You can get away with scenes like that on American cable channels, but you can't on primetime BBC One.
Even though the show airs after the watershed, it has a lot of young fans who would have been shocked
at the graphic nature of the sex.
The BBC spokesperson added that a violent moment will also be cut later in the series and said:
The UK and US versions of Torchwood are slightly
different. However, these differences do not change the story in any way and the strong storylines are first and foremost to the series.
Update: BBC statement
25th July 2011. From
Complaint to the BBC
We're received complaints from some viewers unhappy with reports that we have edited out a sex scene from the UK version of Torchwood: Miracle Day.
It is not unusual for co-productions to have slightly different versions of a show to reflect its different audiences. For episode three of Torchwood, as part of the usual discussions between broadcasters and the production company,
small potential edits in two intercutting scenes of gay and straight sex were discussed and made by production. This minimal edit makes little difference to the episode to be broadcast in the UK. Both scenes remain but run a few seconds shorter than the
US version. In a later episode a sequence of gay sex is important to the story and therefore both the US and UK will show the same version.
Torchwood continues to be a series that will ask important questions of how we
all live in today's society and the drama reflects life as we recognise it. The BBC and Starz have both been huge supporters of the writers' vision for the series.
|7th July |
Appeal for a PG-13 rating for Dream House rejected
The MPAA Appeals Board have ruled against Morgan Creek Productions, deciding that Dream House , starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, that the R rating stands.
The board decided that the movie merited the rating because of some
Morgan Creek's executive VP of marketing, Greg Mielcarz, told TheWrap that he still believes the film will ultimately receive a PG-13 rating: They gave us a list of several things in the movie that they thought should be cut.
We're going to ... work with them together to ensure that we receive a PG-13.
In order to have a rating changed, two-thirds of the members of the appeals board have to agree that the rating is clearly erroneous.
Picture Association of America says that the ratings board reviews between 800 and 900 films each year and that fewer than a dozen ratings are appealed each year.
|2nd July |
Alaska fails in its attempt to make the internet only fit for children
article from business.avn.com
A federal judge in Alaska has struck down as unconstitutional a state law criminalizing the electronic distribution of adult material to minors.
The judge said the broadly written law could have a chilling effect on free speech. He said people
communicating online have no reasonable way to know the age of those accessing their communications.
Beistline said the state has a compelling interest in protecting minors but said the government may not reduce the adult population to only
what is fit for children.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a group that included bookstores, a photographer, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and ACLU of Alaska.
|1st July |
A CBS affiliate will air NBC's The Playboy Club
article from business.avn.com
A Mormon controlled Salt Lake City NBC affiliate TV station has previously announced that it will not air the new NBC series The Playboy Club .
Now, two weeks later, the city's CBS affiliate, MyNetworkTV, says it will run the series. The
station that has snatched up the show is KMYU and it will air the new series in the Monday 9 p.m. timeslot NBC gave it on its own lineup, reported TV Guide.
Yes, the television business works in mysterious ways. Utah will get its Playboy series,
and CBS will reap the rewards that NBC's own affiliate passed up to avoid being associated with the Playboy brand, as if airing a program means the station agrees with its content.