The Motion Picture Association of America is being accused of homophobia for slapping a restrictive R rating on the British film Pride, reports The Guardian of London.
Directed by Matthew Warchus, Pride recounts the true and heartwarming story of a group of gay and lesbian activists who rallied together to raise money for struggling families affected by the U.K. miners’ strike in 1984, and it contains no significant depictions of violence or sex. This has caused outcry from LGBT supporters who claim the MPAA’s rating, which bars anyone under the age of 17 from seeing the film without a parent or guardian, is unjustified.
“It is outrageous, knee-jerk homophobia,” British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell told The Guardian. “The American classification board seems to automatically view any film with even the mildest gay content as unfit for people under 17.”
The film’s two most explicit moments — one scene where a group of women find a stash of gay porn magazines in a bedroom, and another that takes place in a gay bar where some patrons wear mild leather gear — only earned the film a 15 rating from the British Board of Film Classification, which also cited Pride’s “occasional strong language” for its decision. A 15 rating means those under the age of 15 cannot see the film.
This is not the first time the MPAA has been accused of homophobia influencing its ratings. Love Is Strange, which stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as two gay men who do nothing more than snuggle and kiss onscreen, opened in August with an R rating as well.
In a recent interview with The Advocate, Love Is Strange director Ira Sachs spoke out against the rating, saying, “I have a strong feeling that many of those same people — mostly men — are still on the MPAA board today, making these arcane decisions very out of step with our times.”
Despite the film’s restrictive rating, Love Is Strange found success the weekend of its limited release in August, and Pride has done the same, receiving mainly rave reviews following its limited theatrical release in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco last weekend.