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March 7, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Joan Graves

The MPAA has commissioned a survey of U.S. parents to determine whether they wish the organization to overlook bad language — in particular the use of the F-word — in assigning ratings to films, the Los Angeles Times reported today. It quoted Joan Graves, who heads the MPAA’s ratings board, as saying that the survey revealed “that, overwhelmingly, parents said they wanted to know what kind of language there was in the film. We asked specifically about the F-word, which clearly bothers a large number of people. That’s just how they feel. Language matters.” The survey, which has yet to be released, came up during the appeal by The Weinstein Company of the MPAA’s R-rating meted out to the documentary Bully for its use of six instances of the F-word. In an interview with the Times‘s Patrick Goldstein, Harvey Weinstein indicated that he was stunned when Graves referred to the survey during the appeal. “Joan summarized it in our hearing and it really hurt us. We lost our appeal by one vote and I think the survey cost us that vote,” he said. Weinstein appeared to express skepticism over the contents of the survey, demanding that Graves release it. “If it makes a strong point, maybe we could learn from it. But I’d like to see the scientific evidence myself.” Weinstein also observed that in 2005 the MPAA appeals board bestowed a PG-13 rating on Gunner Palace, about an artillery squad’s experiences in Iraq in which the F-word was used 42 times. Commented Graves: “It was a different time and a different appeals board.”