Where to Invade Next: Michael Moore Refuses to Edit for PG Rating

Michael Moore will not edit his documentary Where to Invade Next in order to earn a PG-13 rating.

“I will make no cuts,” he told Variety. “We don’t believe in censorship in this country. There can’t be any compromise on this sort of thing.”

The director is appealing the MPAA decision to give his satire an R rating. The organization cited “language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity” in making its decision.

Moore acknowledged that all of those things are in the film, but that nothing in the picture is any more provocative or disturbing than the content of an evening news broadcast.

The violence in the picture includes footage of law enforcement officers beating Eric Garner, a Staten Island man whose death last year stirred debate about police brutality.

The drug use is in the film about Portugal’s decision to decriminalize narcotics — a move that some suggest has led to a reduction in substance abuse.

The language stems from the use of “f–k” by Icelandic citizens protesting the 2009 collapse of their banks.

The nudity is a fleeting image of a naked man, from a vignette that shows how some Europeans are able to enjoy three weeks at a spa to treat stress thanks to government-backed healthcare.

“You see a total of two seconds of naked Germans going into a Jacuzzi,” said Moore.

In Where to Invade Next Moore compares how foreign countries like Finland and France grapple with social and economic issues to the approach in the U.S.

Its endorsement of European systems of government and condemnation of this country’s military-industrial complex might draw fire from the director’s conservative critics

A Dec. 23 release is planned to qualify the film for awards. The picture is being handled by a new distribution venture formed by TWC-Radius founders Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League.

This isn’t the first time that Moore has clashed with the ratings board. The director appealed the R rating given to his anti-war film Fahrenheit 9/11.   Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine also drew controversy for their ratings.

The MPAA is not doing this against me personally, Moore said. “It’s the subject matter that makes them nervous. It’s volatile subject matter that we are still without adequate healthcare in this country. But there isn’t gratuitous violence in the film and nobody is having sex. I’m not encouraging drug or alcohol or tobacco use, so what’s the problem?”

“I see PG-13 movies where literally hundreds of characters are mowed down with guns or bombs,” he added.

Moore has the option of releasing the film without a rating, but he won’t do that because many theater chains would refuse to play the picture.

The director said he was hopeful that the MPAA will change its ruling, but believes an R rating is better than no rating at all, because he does not want to reduce the audience for the picture.

“I won’t edit my films to placate them,” said Moore. “I never offer anyone a mediocre experience. With me you get the real deal, and I refuse to break faith with my audience. I don’t want you thinking I pulled a punch so I could somehow get a TV release or play in an airline.”