(Photo by Bob Riha/WireImage)
Last week, after edited versions of Booksmart and Rocketman on their flights caused an uproar for omitting key same-sex love scenes, Delta announced that it will restore the scenes and implement a new process for managing its in-flight entertainment.
That process for most airlines currently consists of working with studios and third-party companies on edited versions of films (read more about that here). But as one editor who has been doing this type of work for 30 years and worked for nearly every major studio in Hollywood tells InsideHook, corners are often cut to save money, and the Booksmart and Rocketman controversies are just two instances of a widespread problem in the industry.
The studios, outside of the creative groups, are full of people who have zero interest in or understanding of the creative process, the editor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution, explains. They are pushing widgets. Decisions get made for cost reasons instead of creative reasons, and the creative execs and producers have moved on in most cases and take little interest in post-theatrical sales other than the number in the profit column of course.Compromises are made in the name of cost. The scene has nudity AND a key story element? Cut it! This has been my fight for 30 years, to find creative ways to protect the story and the original intent of the filmmaker while working under very strict budget restraints.
According to the Directors Guild of America (DGA) contract, studios are required to contact the director of a film to run edits by them in these instances, but that doesnt always happen (as evidenced by director Olivia Wildes reaction to the Booksmart cuts). As the editor we spoke to, who well call E, notes, getting a director involved in the process means more time and money, and studios will often skirt that responsibility.
People dont put a ton of efforts into contacting the directors even though theyre legally obligated to, so what they might do is send a letter which expires in five days, E explains. They send a little letter to the publicist or their agency, and then that gets lost and then somebody doesnt read it or doesnt contact the director. So now the director, after five days, their option to be involved is expired. And when you have a director involved, the director always complicates the process because the director wants to see whats happening.
This is a studio requirement in article 7 of the DGA contract and is often ignored, they add. The DGA needs to take a stronger stance on this topic, and the directors need to always be involved in the fight to protect their film from unnecessary and often arbitrary edit requests. They will often find an editor at the major studios eager to pick up the sword and fight with them.
E has tried to keep up the fight against unnecessary censorship throughout their career, and its a battle that has actually gotten easier in recent years. Airlines, those used to be really big money sales, and theyre not anymore, they explain. It used to be that you would create an airline edit that would show overhead, it would sell for like several millions of dollars. Now, the amount of money that the airlines pay is so little that often those fights are easier to win.
In the past, studios would make an edit suitable for all audiences that would be screened overhead in the main cabin as well as a seatback edit, where the guidelines of whats acceptable are much more liberal. Generally speaking, E says, only nudity and extreme violence as well as visual profanity from the subtitles get edited out for seatback displays in an effort to limit what a child might accidentally see over someones shoulder.
However, certain international airlines have their own sensitivities (Middle Eastern airlines, E says, are criminally strict, and the Chinese dont allow any depiction or mention of ghosts), and some companies will combine these into the one edited version they offer in an effort to cut costs resulting in situations like the Booksmart one.
Sometimes theyll give us specific requests like, Yeah, we dont want to see the women kissing or love scenes. We dont want to talk about gay stuff because you know, thats illegal in our country,' they say. That does happen from time to time. Paramount should have said, No problem, we will create a specific version for you. Its gonna take the editor 15 minutes to cut that out and then well just deliver another file to you. Itll cost us about a thousand dollars. But what they did possibly say is, Well just include that in the edit so that we only have to do this once. And that to me is the biggest crime of all. I mean, its like, how dare you destroy a film for a couple thousand bucks?
Ultimately, E says they hope that the attention that the Delta controversy received will create an ongoing conversation about how in-flight movies get edited.
It kind of illuminates a really big problem in this industry,and so thats something that would be great if it doesnt just kind of fizzle away, if it becomes a big thing that kind of opens up the can of worms that really makes people look at how this shits done and its done recklessly, man, they say. I mean, its like theres people that just dont follow the rules. They look at this stuff not like its a piece of art, but like its nothing. There are people that just have no care. Like, could you imagine if a museum that needs to restore a van Gogh, you know, just sends it out to a third party? Its like, no, you care for that. You know, you care for the product you take care of because it is a piece of creative art thats out in the world. You dont just give it to the cheapest guy, and thats what these people are doing.
- Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda - Bitcoin News - May 19th, 2020
- Here's How to Fight Censorship In a Nutshell - Discovery Institute - May 19th, 2020
- What Triggered a Biology Journal to Demand Government Censorship of Intelligent Design - Discovery Institute - May 19th, 2020
- OpEd: Has Disney Taken Censorship Too Far With the Latest Disney+ Blur? - Inside the Magic - May 19th, 2020
- People are worried about Disney censoring 'Hamilton' when it comes to Disney Plus this July - Insider - INSIDER - May 19th, 2020
- Does Big Tech censorship ultimately fail, giving more legitimacy to the content it tries to hide? - Reclaim The Net - May 19th, 2020
- Hey, Google, your censorship of 'Plandemic' only turned its author's book into #1 bestseller. Its the Streisand effect, stupid! - RT - May 19th, 2020
- Opinion: Conspiracism is a popular phenomenon; addressing it requires understanding and dialogue rather than censorship - Eastern Echo - May 19th, 2020
- The pandemic is making digital rights violation in Africa, the new norm - Techpoint.ng - May 19th, 2020
- YouTube bans content that contradicts WHO on Covid-19, despite its track record of misinformation - MercatorNet - May 19th, 2020
- Bringing Back Blogs in the Age of Social Media Censorship - WP Tavern - May 10th, 2020
- #MeToo in the land of censorship - Human Rights Watch - May 10th, 2020
- The people have cancelled... there's a new kind of censorship in town - Independent.ie - May 10th, 2020
- Dave Rubin interview: His new book, censorship on the left and what he sees happening in Canada - National Post - May 10th, 2020
- The Darlings are discouraged and disheartened by live stream censorship - The Province - May 10th, 2020
- Twitter accused of 'censorship' after banning Wings Over Scotland accounts - The National - May 10th, 2020
- Facebook Won't Fudge Censorship Oversight, Qumra Sells $80 Million in Holdings and Juganu Revolution in Today's Roundup - CTech - May 10th, 2020
- Facing COVID-19 Misinformation and Censorship in Brazil, Russia, and China - Slate - April 23rd, 2020
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle accused of censorship over refusal to engage with tabloid media - The Independent - April 23rd, 2020
- German censorship campaign targets scholar over BDS and applies 'antisemitism' charge - Mondoweiss - April 23rd, 2020
- Rex Murphy on COVID-19: The power to censor speech and other great ideas from our Liberal overlords - National Post - April 23rd, 2020
- News on News: Reflecting on institutional censorship and the conversations with the experts - Grand Valley Lanthorn - April 23rd, 2020
- Facebook Pandemic Philanthropy Overshadowed by Its Censoring of Protests - Breitbart - April 23rd, 2020
- Lady Chatterley's censor: Almost 60 years ago, a court case looked to save us from ourselves - The Big Smoke Australia - April 23rd, 2020
- The ADL wants to fight hate in video games, but ham-fisted CENSORSHIP is the last thing we gamers need - RT - April 23rd, 2020
- Internet Censorship During COVID-19 Is Threat To Cryptocurrencies And Liberty - Forbes - April 2nd, 2020
- Social media censorship in the time of coronavirus - Telecoms.com - April 2nd, 2020
- The Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic in Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, and Around the World - Foreign Policy - April 2nd, 2020
- Landmarks in law: the controversial 80s play that defied gay censorship - The Guardian - April 2nd, 2020
- Turkey among several countries censoring their coronavirus critics - Ahval - April 2nd, 2020
- Bitcoin Core shifts to dark web to resist censorship - Decrypt - April 2nd, 2020
- It's a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump instead, they can help the public identify what's true or false - The Conversation US - April 2nd, 2020
- The mounting human cost of Chinas coronavirus censorship - Reclaim The Net - April 2nd, 2020
- Society's Dependence on the Internet: 5 Cyber Issues the Coronavirus Lays Bare - Nextgov - April 2nd, 2020
- Turkmenistan bans the word Coronavirus, wearing of masks, in a major censorship move - The Statesman - April 2nd, 2020
- Indias government wants to censor the media to fight Covid-19 but transparency is a better weapon - Scroll.in - April 2nd, 2020
- YouTube continues to ban crypto content; None knows the reason - iNVEZZ - April 2nd, 2020
- How Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis to Grab Power - The New York Review of Books - April 2nd, 2020
- Corona Cover-Up? Videos The Chinese Government Would Rather You Don't See Surface on The Internet - Talent Recap - April 2nd, 2020
- Under the pretext of combating coronavirus States trying to crush the opposition and to tighten censorship - The KXAN 36 News - April 2nd, 2020
- Reporters Without Borders: If the Chinese press were free, the coronavirus might not be a pandemic - Hong Kong Free Press - April 2nd, 2020
- China's Media Censorship Could Cost Thousands of Lives: Journalism Watchdog - Newsweek - April 1st, 2020
- It's a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump instead, they can help the public identify what's true or false - goskagit.com - April 1st, 2020
- Apple Helps China Censor Citizens By Pulling The Plug On A Keyboard App That Encrypted Text Messages - Techdirt - April 1st, 2020
- Bored with the First Amendment | Scales on Censorship - School Library Journal - April 1st, 2020
- John Wick Producer Ordered to Pay Huayi Bros. Over Axed China Release - Variety - April 1st, 2020
- Some mobile phone apps may contain hidden behaviors that users never see - The Ohio State University News - April 1st, 2020
- Bypassing the China firewall needs & ways to do it - KnowTechie - April 1st, 2020
- Society's dependence on the internet: 5 cyber issues the coronavirus lays bare - The Conversation US - April 1st, 2020
- Reporters Without Borders to track coronavirus disinformation - The Shift News - April 1st, 2020
- virtual minecraft library combats government censorship by housing banned journalism - Designboom - March 16th, 2020
- Lessons From China on the Coronavirus and the Dangers of App Consolidation - Slate - March 16th, 2020
- 'Love in time of' coronavirus: Tinder being used to circumnavigate possible Chinese censorship of outbreak - Washington Examiner - March 16th, 2020
- Coronavirus: The new and ingenious ways Chinese citizens are evading censorship to learn about the outbreak - Hong Kong Free Press - March 16th, 2020
- Censorship and Propaganda in the Time of the Coronavirus - Qrius - March 16th, 2020
- Should OTT content in India have a censor board to strap creative freedom just like films? - PINKVILLA - March 16th, 2020
- The big coronavirus cover-up: Fighting truth and coronavirus, the China way - ThePrint - March 16th, 2020
- The first real liberty of the press in Malta 1839 (Part 1) - Times of Malta - March 16th, 2020
- How Editors From Mexico, India, and the UAE Are Covering the Coronavirus - Slate - March 16th, 2020
- From the Archives: Commentator Suspends Publication After Threat of Censorship - The Commentator - March 1st, 2020
- Apple may be forced to disclose censorship requests from China - The Guardian - March 1st, 2020
- Students Demand Censorship of 'Coronavirus' Theme Party - Reason - March 1st, 2020
- Pompeo accuses China and Iran of censoring information about coronavirus outbreaks - ABC News - March 1st, 2020
- Conservatives censoring themselves in the age of censorship? InfoWars kicked out of CPAC, triggering conference row - RT - March 1st, 2020
- Why we must win the fight for free speech - Spiked - March 1st, 2020
- Critics Say China Has Suppressed And Censored Information In Coronavirus Outbreak - NPR - February 14th, 2020
- Transgender users have accused TikTok of censorship - here's why - Derry Journal - February 14th, 2020
- Rand Paul Blasts YouTube over Censorship of Speech on Senate Floor - Breitbart - February 14th, 2020
- Newspapers fear new social media rules will lead to wider censorship - The Guardian - February 14th, 2020
- Anti-BDS laws are meant to censor & control speech, journalist Abby Martin tells RT after suing Georgia govt over cancelled talk - RT - February 14th, 2020
- Be more tolerant, Anwar tells Malaysians over art censorship - Malay Mail - February 14th, 2020
- China's censors tried to control the narrative on a hero doctor's death. It backfired terribly - CNN - February 12th, 2020
- China Ramps Up Censorship On Coronavirus As Critics Risk Criminal Charges - Forbes - February 12th, 2020
- Heres How China Is Silencing Coronavirus Critics in the U.S. - VICE - February 12th, 2020
- Here are the 9 titles Netflix purged due to government censorship - The Next Web - February 12th, 2020
- Parler: Twitter Suspending James OKeefe Is Political Censorship and Election Interference - Breitbart - February 12th, 2020
- Censorship, lies and death: China's government under fire - TheArticle - February 12th, 2020
- A glimmer of hope: Mallika Sarabhai on the cancelled NID event, CAA protests, censorship and more - Scroll.in - February 12th, 2020
- Penny Thoughts: Editing and Censorship | - West Alabama Watchman - January 30th, 2020
- The many ways to censor cutting-edge art in Russia - The Economist - January 30th, 2020