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US Censorship News

2012: Jan-March

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Censorship to a 'T'...

Alabama city of Gulf Shores looks to ban 'vulgar' t-shirts from shops

Link Here18th March 2013

The city of Gulf Shores in Alabama is pursuing a city law to censor stores from displaying T-shirts and other merchandise that contain supposedly vulgar messages.

Mayor Tony Kennon started pushing for the law following a recent trip to a Gulf Shores souvenir shop. He told that he was absolutely mortified by the messages on some merchandise being sold in Gulf Shores. He claimed that many of the shirts containing the obscene messages also said Gulf Shores on them. He said he was disappointed and sickened by the messages on the shirts.

City council members say they will consider a proposed ordinance to restrict the open display of vulgar or indecent items. Weary of censorship issues they say the ordinance would not stop the sale of such items, just restrict their open display.



Offsite Article: A Time for War...

Link Here5th March 2013
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Author Michael Savage says the marketing campaign for his new novel depicting China at war with the U.S. has been sabotaged by advertisers who fear the China lobby.

See article from



Outrage Bubbling Up...

Bloomsberg Businessweek winds up the easily offended

Link Here3rd March 2013

Bloomberg Businessweek is taking a beating from the easily offended who claim the magazine's recent cover---featuring a cartoon illustration of what appears to be a black family rolling in cash from a housing rebound---is racist.

The cover depicts the cash-grabbing family members as caricatures inside a two-story pink home above the headline: The Great American Housing Rebound.

Josh Tyrangiel, Bloomberg Businessweek's editor in chief, said in a statement to Yahoo News:

Our cover illustration got strong reactions, which we regret. If we had to do it over again, we'd do it differently.

Jacob Gaffney partly explained about the housing rebound on

The claim that minorities are creating a housing bubble through flipping, no-look bids, and 300% returns is simply not reality. Flipping is a form of fraud and not a typical transaction. No-look bids are not exclusive to Hispanic and African-American investors. No one is making a 300% return.

Andres Guzman was commissioned by Bloomberg Businessweek for the illustration said:

I was asked to make an excited family with large quantities of money. I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know.



Extract Seduction of the Innocent...

How one man's lies almost destroyed the US comics industry

Link Here20th February 2013

For over half a century, the comic book industry has been dogged by the work of one man, the anti-comics crusader and psychologist Fredric Wertham. His bestselling 1954 book The Seduction of the Innocent convinced parents and politicians alike that comics were a direct cause of violence, drug use, and homosexuality among young people. It led to the restrictive editorial code issued by the Comics Magazine Association of America, and a national movement to keep comics away from children and teens.

Though Wertham claimed his evidence came from thousands of case studies, it turns out that he was lying. A new investigation of Wertham's papers by University of Illinois information studies professor Carol Tilley has revealed that the psychologist fabricated, exaggerated, and selectively edited his data to bolster his argument that comics caused antisocial behavior. the full article



Update: Slippery Sloping...

Chris Dodd of the MPAA speaks against restrictions of violent films and games

Link Here17th February 2013
Full story: US Mass Shootings...Gun lobby vs violent media

Reports say MPAA chairman Chris Dodd has warned against efforts to regulate violence in films and instead suggested that the film industry will work with the White House on voluntary steps to help parents decide what movies and TV shows are appropriate for children.

Campaigners and state lawmakers have been suggesting that the marketing of violent movies and videogames should be restricted.

Asked whether Hollywood there is too much violence in videogames and movies, Dodd said the industries give people enough choices across the spectrum, but warns that if you start to get into the business of trying to regulate content, that is a very slippery slope. Dodd said that the focus should be on giving people the information they need to make their choice of what to watch, adding that we are working to provide whatever support and assistance we can to the White House.

Dodd said more attention should be paid to mental health, noting that is the space where we really need attention.



Updated: Is it time for a 15A/PG-15 rating?...

With Die Hard 5 and Taken 2 cut to get a broader rating, is it time that UK and US ratings boards took another look at the system?

Link Here17th February 2013

If, reluctantly, we accept that cinemas and distributors are looking for certificates that don't involve refusing someone a ticket (heck, that might require an usher), then can those of us who want to see our films unsullied at least have another option? Can we - as was suggested by one of our readers (JP) here - have in the UK a 15A certificate, that keeps the parental option open, but also prevents studios chopping films to fit in with existing guidelines?

...Read the full article

Comment: Some Things Are Just Not Meant For Children

17th February 2013. See  article from

The other reason a 15A or PG-15 certificate would not be good for adult cinemagoers, is that there are sometimes things that are simply not aimed at, or intended for children. Sometimes films are made, that are made by adults, for adults, and only for adults.

...Read the full article



Update: Outfoxed...

Senior US politician puts Fox News straight, pointing out that other countries with violent games are relatively safe, maybe because they have good gun laws

Link Here11th February 2013
Full story: US Mass Shootings...Gun lobby vs violent media

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had a good debate against the Fox News argument that violent video games are responsible for mass shootings in the United States.

On Fox News Sunday , host Chris Wallace challenged Pelosi on this plan, saying she should instead simply go to her friends in Hollywood and shame them into action:

As part of your plan, you call for more scientific research on the connection between popular culture and violence. We don't need another study, respectfully. I mean, we know that these video games, where people have their heads splattered, these movies, these TV shows -- why don't you go to your friends in Hollywood and challenge them? Shame them, and say, 'Knock it off?'

Pelosi responded that Democrats wanted concrete scientific evidence in order to write the best legislation possible, and countered that Wallace's assumption about violence in the media could be incorrect:

I understand what you are saying, Pelosi said. I'm a mother, I'm a grandmother. But, they -- not Hollywood, but the evidence -- says that, in Japan, for example, they have the most violent games and the lowest death -- mortality -- from guns. I don't know what the explanation is for that except they may have good gun laws.

When looking at the other largest video game markets around the world, there appears to be no statistical correlation between video game consumption and gun-related killings. Max Fisher at the Washington Post recently examined some of this data and found that:

countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world's safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games).



Update: US De-Pressed...

Propaganda channel, Press TV, censored from satellite broadcast to North America

Link Here11th February 2013
Full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

Press TV reports that it has been taken off the air in North America. It has been dropped from the Galaxy 19 satellite platform that allowed broadcasts both in Canada and the US.

Press TV is a prominent Iranian news station intended to broadcast propaganda that reflects an Iranian government standpoint.

Intelsat, the Luxembourg-based company that owns Galaxy 19, has made no comment on the decision.



Offsite Article: Evil Dead has been cut...

Link Here10th February 2013
Now, will somebody please give a shit?

See article from



US Twitter Joke...

Reveals ineffective threat analysis and over reaction by authorities

Link Here8th February 2013

A US high-school student could face a criminal conviction after posting a joke on Twitter.

In a case reminiscent of the UK's now-infamous Twitter Joke Trial , Scrimalli, 18, of Scranton, Pennsylvania has been arrested for terroristic threats after joking ahead of a local schools basketball game on 4 February:

If there is a Facebook or twitter fight tonight over the HC MV game I will just blow up the schools and students involved. #goonsquad.

The game was stopped in the first quarter and the venue evacuated. The authorities are pressing ahead with charges. Local Assistant District Attorney Gene Riccardo is quote as saying Two municipalities, two school districts have been impacted by that decision so that's why we're going forward with these charges.

Classmates and friends on Twitter have rallied around the hashtag #PrayForTorre.



Update: Games Still in the Firing Line...

US senator introduces a bill to ban under 18s from playing shoot 'em up games in amusement arcades

Link Here7th February 2013
Full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

Connecticut State Senator Toni Nathaniel Harp has introduced a bill, SB No. 328, An Act Concerning Minors and Violent Point-and-shoot video Games .

The proposed bill aims to prevent minors (under 18s) from using violent point-and-shoot video games in public arcades. The bill does not address what ratings these games might have (would it prohibit the use of games by minor even if they are rated Teen by the ESRB) or what the penalty for operators or businesses that violate the statue.



Offsite Article: From Beyond, Stuart Gordon, and MPAA censorship...

Link Here5th February 2013
A detailed look at the history of Gordon's censorship tussle with the MPAA

See article from



Updated: Grown Up Version...

Children's version of adult version of children's fairytale dropped

Link Here28th January 2013

Hansel & Gretel - Witch Hunters [3d]  is a 2013 Germany/USA action fantasy horror by Tommy Wirkola.
With Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton and Peter Stormare. IMDb

The film will be released to US theatres today. But this fairytale is not a bedtime story for kids. In fact, it's gone from a PG-13 rating to R.

Paramount Pictures announced a ratings change this week. Hansel & Gretel is now rated R. It had previously been listed as PG-13 on several websites.

Writer Adam Chitwood on the Collider website stated that two versions of the film had previously been made to test how much violence to include:

The discrepancies between the cuts may have been a result of the studio trying to see if audiences prefer a more graphic version of the fairy tale over a tame cut.

Stuart Klawans with the Nation described the film as bodies being pierced, stabbed, shredded, beheaded and splattered like gore-filled water balloons.

Update: Director speaks of deleted scene

28th January 2013. See article from

Collider: Was there ever talk of making it PG-13?

Tommy Wirkola: No -- thank god. I was afraid. I actually made sure they could never cut it to PG-13.

Collider: I mean the film that exists now is fairly violent -- Was it more violent than this and how so?

Tommy Wirkola: It was.

Collider: Like Dead Snow-level of violence?

Tommy Wirkola: Never that extreme. But there was a scene where [Hansel and Gretel] burst into a house and there's a witch. She puts up her hands and they tell her to step aside. She steps aside and behind her is a tiny little baby hanging from a rope that's she's about to eat. [Hansel and Gretel] end up saving it -- but people were shocked. Again -- I'm not stupid. I see that's too much. So it's about



Update: Game Winning Strategy...

US government wisely decides that gun control should be the focus of efforts to prevent further shooting rampages

Link Here17th January 2013
Full story: US Mass Shootings...Gun lobby vs violent media

For the past month, the US focus on gun control laws has been unprecedented.

Vice President Joe Biden was assigned the task of meeting with various powers that be to discuss what can be done to reform our gun laws. One of those entities was a conglomerate of representatives from the video game industry. What Mr. Biden took away from those meetings, however, may or may not surprise you.

After reviewing the Vice President's findings, United States President Barack Obama signed a twenty-three point executive order for Congress to act upon and address the issue. Nowhere in the order does it propose any changes which need to be made to video games in this country. Just sensible measures like banning assault weaponry.


However the games industry has not got off entirely unscathed. President Barack Obama called on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to conduct a study on whether there is a correlation between gun violence and violent video games and other forms of media.

Video Game Labelling Bill

GamePolitics has also learned that a new video game labeling bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Jim Matheson has introduced bill HR 287, which would require ratings label on video games and prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.



Update: Games Blamed for Driving Players Barmy...

Missouri lawmaker proposes tax on violent video games to fund mental health programs

Link Here16th January 2013

A Republican lawmaker from Missouri bucked has called for a sales tax on violent video games in response to the recent school shooting.

Representative Diane Franklin said a proposed 1% sales tax would help pay for mental health programs and law enforcement measures aimed at preventing mass shootings. The tax would be levied on video games rated teen, mature and adult-only by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Franklin explained that: History shows there is a mental health component to these shootings. She added that she hopes her bill will start a discussion on the relationship between violent games and mental illness.

Update: Withdrawn

4th June 2013. See  article from

It turns out that the bill was quietly withdrawn by Franklin in March, without comment. At least that's what it says about the bill here . Perhaps some of her colleagues dissuaded her from moving forward, or perhaps she realized that it wasn't a very good idea to begin with. Either way, the citizens of the great state of Missouri can be happy in knowing that they won't be paying any extra taxes on their entertainment.



Update: Still Lives Remaining...

Senator Jay Rockefeller to resubmit bill calling for research into video game violence

Link Here11th January 2013
Full story: US Mass Shootings...Gun lobby vs violent media

A bill introduced in Congress last year calling for a study into the effects of violent video games and other content on children, died when the 112th session ended on January 2.

But the bill's author, senator Jay Rockefeller, plans to reintroduce that bill during this session, likely by the end of the month, a staffer at the senator's office tells Polygon.

The will call for the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to jointly undertake the study with the help of the National Academy of Sciences and will investigate:

  • Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children.
  • Whether there is a connection between exposure to violent video programming and harmful effects on children.

The results of the study would be due to Congress, the FTC and the FCC within 18 months.

If passed, this would mark the eighth such study conducted by the FTC since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. None of those found any link between violent video games and violence in children.



Bad Reviews Stand...

A Virginia Supreme Court judge rules that bad internet reviews cannot be censored without proof of false statements

Link Here3rd January 2013

Many businesses complain when they get bad reviews on Yelp. On Wednesday there was a court ruling on whether they can censor the reviews.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that merchants have no right to automatically censor a bad review on Yelp. They must first prove the statements are false.

In the Virginia case, a business claimed that a customer falsely accused him of theft via a review. A lower court judge ordered the customer to take the statements off Yelp, but now the high court said that violates free speech. The business must first prove the reviewer's statements are libelous

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