WASHINGTON -- A top official of the U.S. Catholic Conference said Saturday the motion picture industry's new PG-13 rating is just another way to exploit young people.
'This transparent ploy to exploit the young for crass commercial purposes lacks even any pretense on the part of th Motion Picture Association of America that this decision was preceded by an objective scientific research or indeed consultation with those educational, social or religious groups concerned with the welfare of the young, Richard H. Hirsch, Secretary for Communication of the Catholic conference said in a statement dated Saturday.
'Rather than assisting parents in determining what films are suitable, the PG-13 will only make a hard job still harder for them.' he said.
The motion picture association announced in late June it was creating the PG-13 rating in response to criticism of excessive violence in recent films rated PG (parental guidance).
Targets of the criticism include this summer's hits, 'Gremlins,' and 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.'
The new rating wil carry the warning: 'Parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.'
Neither the PG nor the PG-13 rating, however, involves any restrictions on theater admissions policy.
Hirsch said the film industry has been under pressure to reduce the number of R rated films, which do carry some admission retrictions, and the PG-13 rating is the industry's response.
'The solution, it would appear, that the industry has developed is to classify those R films previously described in industry parlance as 'soft,' -- that is, those in which the sex and violence are relatively less graphic -- as PG-13, thus removing any box office constraints on the marketing of such films to younger audiences,' he said.
'Far from being a means of restoring some respectability to the classification system, the PG-13 rating will instead rob the R classification of much of whaterver usefulness it has for parents, because ingenious movie-makers will quickly find the means of getting graphic sex and violence into the PG-13 and thus avoid the loss in revenue at the box office that an R rating entailed, however laxly enforced,' he said.
'As a consequence, parents of children in the critical 13-16 age bracket will have much greater cause for worry than they had before,' he said.