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Reality Check Presents: Movie Fame & Shame Awards of 2014

Written By Editor on 3/4/14 | 3/4/14

Cobleskill, NY – Smoking imagery in youth-rated movies is still common and a primary recruiter of teen smokers – just one of the many manipulative marketing tactics embraced by the tobacco industry.  Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties is joining youth around the world to create awareness about the way Hollywood encourages youth to smoke during the International Week of Action (February  24 to March 2), which coincided with the week leading up to the 86th Academy Awards.

To celebrate International Week of Action and recognize the best and worst of smoke free movies, Reality Check youth from across New York State will present awards to the following movie studios and actors:

Fame & Shame Awards 2014
The Fame Awards:

  1.  Walt Disney Studios
Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to Walt Disney Studios for providing family entertainment with a commitment to protecting youth from tobacco imagery.  Tobacco incidents have almost disappeared from Disney’s G and PG movies.  We salute Walt Disney Studios for adopting a policy to keep smoking out of youth-rated movies and producing movies like “Saving Mr. Banks” without tobacco imagery despite the historical use of tobacco by the lead character, Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks.
  1. Stanton A. Glanz & Jono Polansky, Smoke Free Movies Network
    Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to Stanton A. Glanz and Jono Polansky of the Smoke Free Movies Network for their tireless dedication to working to protect youth from tobacco imagery in movies.  The Smoke Free Movies Network is a project of Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.  Jono Polansky works with Professor Glanz and consults with UCSF on tobacco control strategy.  Together they use research, commentary and information about the deadly consequences of tobacco imagery in movies and its recruitment of young smokers to apply ongoing pressure on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to change its rating system and rate movies with smoking R.
  2. National Association of Attorneys General & The New York State Attorney General’s Office
Reality Check presents a 10th Anniversary Fame Award to the National Association of Attorneys General and The New York State Attorney General’s Office in appreciation of their dedicated staff and resources to addressing tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies.  For more than 10 years, Attorneys General have been urging movie studios and the MPAA to reduce youth exposure to tobacco in movies.

The Shame Awards:

  1. Film Director Woody Allen
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to film director Woody Allen for his complete disregard for youth and their exposure to tobacco imagery in his movies.  As a director, Allen decides what appears on screen and could easily avoid the use of tobacco in youth-rated movies, but chooses not to.  His most recent and blatant support of tobacco came in 2013 when he cancelled the release of his film “Blue Jasmine” in India because he refused to air an anti-tobacco message prior to the film as required by India’s Ministry of Health.
  1. Actor Johnny Depp
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to Actor Johnny Depp for allowing the popular animated character he voiced, Rango, to smoke in the movie by the same name. Rango is an animated film rated PG, intended for youth and widely seen by young audiences. This film included more than 60 smoking instances on screen including smoking by Rango, the hero and main character of the film. 
3. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
Reality Check presents a Shame Award to Actor Leonardo DiCaprio for making smoking look cool on screen in the PG-13 rated movie “The Great Gatsby”.  While the novel “The Great Gatsby” only mentions smoking 8 times, this new 3D  version includes more than 150 smoking instances despite the reality that Americans smoked less in 1922 than they do now.  Tragically, this film has already delivered 2.5 billion tobacco impressions to audiences including youth.
4. The 10th Anniversary Ultimate Shame Award:  Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA)
For 10 years, Reality Check has joined with other youth across the U.S. to encourage the MPAA to change its rating system to trigger an R rating when tobacco imagery is part of a film.  In 2007, the MPAA announced that it would “consider” smoking in its film ratings, but has yet to elevate the rating of any film for smoking or implement a policy where smoking generates an R rating similar to certain language.   The MPAA has received thousands of communications from youth, parents and the public in support of a change to its rating system, yet youth-rated movies continue to deliver billions of tobacco impressions.  For not taking action in the best interest of our nation’s youth, shame on you, MPAA.

Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties and 15 other Reality Check contracts throughout NYS will be will sending the Fame recipients a photo of their youth with thank you messages written on the photo by youth thanking the recipient for their work in protecting kids from toxic movies. Each contract will send and empty shipping box to the Shame recipients with nothing in the box but a written message on the inside bottom saying “YOU CAN VIEW YOUR SHAME AWARD ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE AT REALITYCHECKOFNY.COM.” 

For 10 years, Reality Check has been working to get Hollywood to eliminate smoking in youth rated movies with an “R” rating.    “By the 2015 Oscars, we hope to have a new standard for “R” ratings to celebrate,” said C.J. Smith, Program Coordinator for Reality Check of Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties.  “Movies that contain smoking should have an “R” rating because smoking on screen kills in real life.  It’s time for Hollywood to stop glamorizing smoking in the movies kids see.” Smith said. 

According to the Surgeon General’s 2014 Report, youth who are exposed to images of smoking in movies are more likely to smoke; those who get the most exposure to on-screen smoking are about twice as likely to begin smoking as those who get the least exposure.  The report further states that actions that would eliminate the depiction of tobacco use in movies could have a significant effect on preventing youth from becoming tobacco users.  PG-13 movies are the biggest concern since they accounted for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents saw on the big screen in 2012.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has so far been unwilling to change its rating system to trigger an R rating when smoking imagery is part of a film.  Six of the leading movie studios, Sony, Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, Paramount and Viacom have voluntarily adopted smoke free movies policies, but have often failed to abide by their own policies.   One major studio, News Corporation (Fox) has failed to adopt a policy at all.

“Parents, teachers and our community are encouraged to send a message to the movie industry that celebrities enticing kids to smoke has got to stop,” said Will Hodge, a senior at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School and Reality Check Youth Advocate.  “Send an e-mail to the MPAA at”

For more information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing in movies, visit
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some guy said...

This is crap. The actors are just doing what they're paid to do. They don't pick the ratings or write the scenes. Shame on whoever wrote this article. Being ignorant is your god given right but please don't force it on other people thanks.

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