A parent by the name of Timothy Forsyth has slapped a lawsuit against the Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Theatere Owners, Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
The lawsuit states that the depiction of smoking in movies that carry a rating less than “R” promotes smoking to minors who witness the act on-screen. The lawsuit names a few movies including Iron Man 3 which received a rating of “PG-13″ and contained a scene of cigar smoking by villain Obadiah Stane played by Jeff Bridges.
The class action lawsuit also states that the MPAA Rating System is to be blamed for smoking-related deaths. An argument that the CDC argues to be true and has long since lobbied that smoking should be abolished in movies that don’t carry an “R” rating or higher.
The defendants of the lawsuit believe this is against the freedom of speech and that the lawsuit should be tossed.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have argued that “The complaint raises no question of artistic freedom or of defendants’ right to participate in public debate. Instead this lawsuit deals with quotidian issues of false labeling and advertising. The complaint asserts that defendants cannot affix a PG-13 or lower certification on movies with tobacco imagery, because they know that it has been scientifically established that subjecting children to such imagery will result in the premature death of more than a million of them.”
Currently the lawsuit is being heard in court and it is hopeful that the lawsuit will be thrown out under California’s SLAPP statute.
SLAPP is defined as A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.