Censorship Hub

MPAA Accused Of Homophobia Over 'Pride' R Rating - VIDEO


US censors have been accused of homophobia over the rating of new British movie Pride, a culture-clash comedy-drama that tells the true story of lesbian and gay activists who supported workers during the 1984 National Union of Mineworkers strike, reports Digital Spy.

The movie - which contains one scene in which two men kiss at a Bronksi Beat concert - has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America, judging it unsuitable for 17-year-olds unless accompanied by an adult.

Activist Peter Thatchell said that the decision is “outrageous, knee-jerk homophobia”:

"There's no significant sex or violence in Pride to justify strong ratings. The American classification board seems to automatically view any film with even the mildest gay content as unfit for people under 17."

This isn't the first time the MPAA has faced backlash for slapping an adult rating on a film with LGBT content either. This year's Love is Strange starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow was also given an R-rating despite its lack of explicit sex scenes or violence. 

Read Towleroad’s review of Pride and watch a trailer, AFTER THE JUMP

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21 Instagram Photos from the Hong Kong Protests That China Doesn't Want You to See


China just blocked Instagram. Here's what they're hiding.

HkInstagram is down in China, and if you've been following the news, you already know why.

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in an outpouring of frustration over politics and representation. Under Hong Kong's present electoral system, citizens don't elect their own leaders. Instead, they're appointed by a Beijing-friendly electoral committee. That will change — sort of, but not really — in 2017, when Hong Kong citizens will get to choose from among two or three candidates pre-selected by a Beijing nominating committee.

Protesters call the new electoral system "fake democracy." Sounds about right.

As we've come to expect, social media has played a large part in getting the word out. On Twitter and Instagram, activists and sympathizers use a variety of hashtags to organize information and speak to the wider world. If you want to follow along, check out #OccupyCenter, #hongkong, #hk and #UmbrellaRevolution. The last one refers to protesters' creative use of umbrellas to defend against tear gas. Ten years from now, it might be the name we remember this demonstration by.

Beijing's not having any of it. Following a police crackdown in Hong Kong on Sunday, Chinese authorities struck a major blow against demonstrators' ability to transmit news and images of the protest via social networks. They blocked Instagram on the Chinese mainland.

What's Beijing so afraid of?

Here are 21 photos from Instagram users on the ground at the protests. China doesn't want you to see them. And if you live in China, you can't.

1) This large gathering of people


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Lawmakers Ask FCC to Ensure LGBT Content Is Not Blocked By Internet Filters at Public Schools & Libraries

In a letter to top officials at the Federal Communication Commission on Thursday, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and 13 other lawmakers asked the FCC to ensure that internet filtering software used at federally funded schools and libraries does not block LGBT-related content. 

From the letter:

HondaA 2014 report by the LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute 'Vision for Inclusion: An LGBT Broadband Future' concluded that LGBT people are dependent on the Internet to meet a range of individual and social needs, which also makes them especially vulnerable to discriminatory Internet policies enacted by schools and libraries.

In an age when high-speed broadband is transforming almost every aspect of our lives, we must ensure online access to every adult and child. We are aware that you are in the midst of a proceeding to modernize the E-rate program. We encourage you to consider this problem in the course of this proceeding and adopt a solution to end this practice. For example, the Commission's regulations could make clear that LGBT educational content should not be filtered in a discriminatory manner.

The letter was also co-signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Trevor Project, and other organizations. 

Read the letter in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

And in related news, Ars Technica recently reported that American Airlines' in-flight wifi was blocking the website misterbnb.com - a version of Airbnb that helps users find a gay-friendly place to stay - under the category of "adult-and-pornography."

MisterbnbHal Lonas, the chief technical officer at Webroot, said that according to Webroot's records, Misterbnb has been blocked since March 2013, supposedly for multiple uses of the word "lesbian." "The count was pretty high," Lonas said. Webroot uses a count of words like these to identify sites as containing "adult" content, and that one criteria alone is enough to get a site filtered. Since that time, according to Lonas, Misterbnb has been lingering in American Airline's Gogo Wi-Fi content filter, waiting for someone to navigate to the site and then find the right person to speak to about the error.

Lonas told Ars that Webroot relies on keywords, apparently sometimes on keywords alone, to filter content. He said medical websites sometimes get caught in the filters the same way Misterbnb did, noting that Webroot does take complaints from partners or customers about what to whitelist or change in its approach. "We're not anti-gay or anti-LGBT, we don't have an agenda," he said. "Of several hundred suggestions for changes (to filtering choices), four or five percent might be false positives." Terms that surround gay culture just conveniently happen to be a statistically effective way of blocking pornography, according to Webroot.

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Ad Agency in Kazakhstan Fined for Poster of Kissing Poets as Leaders Push Ban on Gay 'Propaganda'


In August we reported that a gay club in Almaty, Kazakhstan was under fire for an online ad banner featuring folk singer Qurmanghazy Saghyrbaiuly kissing Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, a clever take on the fact that the club is located at the intersection of Qurmanghazy and Pushkin streets.

Conservative Kazakhs and Russians, angry over the poster, filed lawsuits, and now the club has been fined, Radio Free Europe reports:

A court in Almaty found Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan Company guilty of "advertising goods and services banned in Kazakhstan."

The court ruled on September 24 that the company's director, Daria Khamitzhanova, must pay a $700 fine and her company a $1,000 fine.

The case against the company was filed by Almaty youth authorities.

Some politicians in Kazakhstan have recently been pushing for Russian-style bans on gay "propaganda". Dauren Babamuratov, leader of the Bolashak national movement, held a press conference last week calling for the laws and claimed that gay people can be identified by "colored pants" and blood tests for "degeneracy."

A History of Hollywood's Sex-Obsessed Censorship in Film: VIDEO


If you've ever wondered why you can blow someone's head off on-screen, but you can't blow someone's "head" off on-screen, this Cinefix video does a great job outlining the early history of censorship in the U.S. mainstream film industry and how we arbitrarily put sex above violence on the "adult-content" list. 



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BBC Facing Backlash for Censoring Gay Kiss from Asia Broadcast of Doctor Who Premiere: VIDEO


The BBC is facing criticism for self-censoring its Asia broadcast of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series by cutting a lesbian kiss scene, South China Morning Post reports:

Thousands of fans missed out on the kiss between lizard-woman Madame Vastra and her human wife Jenny Flint, which the BBC says was cut to comply with broadcasting regulations in Asia.

Local gay-rights groups called the edit "outrageous" and "scandalous" and said it was unfair not to treat the kiss the same as a kiss between a man and a woman.

The BBC Worldwide's London-based compliance team made the cut to conform with laws against homosexuality and broadcast content codes in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Daily Mail adds:

Campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘The BBC should not bow to censorship demands from other countries. 

'If these countries are bigoted and are not willing to show same-sex love, they have no right to demand that the BBC conforms to their standards of prejudice.’

Last week we reported that the scene - featuring the first same-sex kiss for Doctor Who in its 50-year history - drew the ire of some anti-gay viewers in the UK.

Watch the 'controversial' scene in question, AFTER THE JUMP...

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