Date: 22nd November 2000

FTC Won't Crack Down On Hollywood

The Federal Trade Commission does not intend to prosecute filmmakers for marketing R-rated movies to underage children, FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky has told Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ).

In a letter to McCain, Pitofsky wrote: "Proving a deception case might leave the FTC in the position of differentiating which R-rated films are, in fact, inappropriate for young people. ... This would place the agency in a position that raises serious questions under the First Amendment." He also said that it would be difficult to prove that the films caused injury. Responding to the letter, MPAA chief Jack Valenti said, "Chairman Pitofsky's letter plainly states that any attempt to charge the movie industry for deceptive advertising of R-rated films would be fatally inflicted with serious constitutional problems."

And, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, FTC spokesman Eric London remarked: "If you are running an R-rated advertisement on a show kids are watching -- what is deceptive about that? Kids can go to R-rated movies with their parents."

Source: Studio Briefing