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The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) justified their decision by saying that they don’t want to upset the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation. The upgraded classification means that an adult will have to accompany every child under the age of 12A to view these films. Until now, most of those films used Parental Guidance (PG). This meant that children could watch unsupervised by an adult or parent.
PG classification also made sure that films classified as such did not contain scenes that would distress a child aged eight or over.
Even classics such as The Show Boat released in 1936 did not avoid the upgrade.
The film was initially seen as a progressive critique of racial injustice.
But now it’s seen as insensitive and upsetting following the killing of George Floyd.
The film was formerly rated a U, which meant it was suitable for children aged four and over.
Last year it was moved up to 12 due to racist language used in the movie.
The BBFC pointed to the “changing social standards” as justification. The organisation claims that they translate the societal changes into guidelines.
The guidelines are then used by its team of censors after a public opinion survey is carried out. The survey contains around 10,000 participants.
The most recent research revealed a “heightened sense of anxiety” among young audiences.
The younger viewers felt anxious about the representation of the “real world” scenarios. They believed that they could happen to them.
The most common issues were terrorism, suicide, self-harm and discrimination.
Many people, however, fear that films will become another victim of “cancel culture”.
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David Green, director of the think tank Civitas said: “The censors have lost sight of the sound moral messages that these films had at the time and allowed themselves to be distracted by modern sensibilities towards victimhood and grievance.”
The list of films that have been reclassified from PG to 12A include: Rocky, Flash Gordon, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
David Austin, the BBFC chief executive said this in his report: “The issue of discrimination is one of the core issues set out in our guidelines, and in 2020, the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protest showed how important it is that discrimination be tackled and flagged up wherever it occurs.”
Regarding The Show Boat, Mr Austin added: “The 1936 film version of the musical Show Boat, which many people considered to be progressive in its depiction of race relations and racial injustice at the time of its original release, and which we rated U at that time, came into us again in 2020 on video.
“Some of the language, behaviour and stereotypes are not defensible at U under current guidelines, but given the historical context and dated nature of the work, we could accommodate the film at PG for outdated racist stereotypes and discriminatory language and behaviour. However, the extra features included several examples of racist language, necessitating a 12 rating.”
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