Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Smoking Imagery in PG Movies
Any smokers who may have feared their onscreen representation could someday be limited to films granted an R-rating or higher need not worry: The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners beat a lawsuit insisting images of tobacco in movies rated PG-13 and under caused kids to take up smoking.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed a lawsuit filed by a California father named Timothy Forsyth, who claimed movies geared toward kids should not contain any type of tobacco imagery, as it could possibly lead to nicotine addiction, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The suit, which was filed back in February, argued children are particularly susceptible to smoking imagery, and it claimed those visuals directly influence at least 200,000 children annually to take up smoking, resulting in 64,000 deaths.
Forsyth also claims the fault lies within the industry’s ratings system, which he says “amount to negligence, misrepresentation and breach of duty,” according to an earlier report from The Hollywood Reporter.
But Judge Seeborg dismissed the suit Thursday, November 10, saying ratings are only meant to suggest whether a film “warrants a particular level of parental caution."
"Forsyth insists that a rating less stringent than R is a representation that 'the film is suitable for children under seventeen unaccompanied by a parent or guardian,'" he continued. "The ratings plainly make no such representations. Rather, the PG and PG-13 ratings caution parents that material in such movies may be inappropriate for children. More fundamentally, the ratings reflect the consensus opinion of CARA board members. As such, neither intentional nor negligent misrepresentation claims are tenable as pleaded."
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