Harvey Weinstein’s change of heart and why the problem of movie violence isn’t going away

Harvey Weinstein, producer of some very violent movies including “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “Django Unchained,” recently said that in the future he will be producing movies that “aren’t as violent or as violent as they used to be.”

One has to wonder why he took this bold stance that seems to contradict his life’s work.

Mr. Weinstein appears to have had a change of heart because of his children. He recognizes that media violence can have an impact on young people.

He recently told CNN’s Piers Morgan that, “The change starts here. It has already. For me, I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite.”

Mr. Weinstein joins millions of parents and grandparents across this country who know that media violence does have an impact on children.

Research supports what parents instinctively know. More than 3,000 medical and sociological studies in the last 50 years have proven that children are affected by the media content they consume.

We’re always told by the entertainment industry that the more violence in a movie or in a TV show is better because it sells.

But maybe if more industry leaders like Mr. Weinstein boldly speak up and take a stand against producing TV or movies with graphic violence, then maybe our culture will change for the better.

We can hope.

We certainly know that most of the entertainment industry does not want to change. Consider that after meetings with Vice President Joe Biden in January 2013 about the impact of media violence on children, the industry released a statement saying that they have a “longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families.”

While parents might have tools like the TV and movie ratings systems at hand, evidence proves that both of these systems are inaccurate and inconsistently applied.

New Parents Television Council research shows the networks routinely assign age ratings for horrifically violent content on broadcast TV deeming it appropriate for children. In fact, some of the most violent TV-14-rated shows on broadcast TV have similar levels and types of violence as TV-MA-rated cable TV shows.

Content such as child molestation, rape, mutilation and disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and injuries by gunfire and stabbings, violent abductions, physical torture, cannibalism, burning flesh, and suicide all showed up as types of violence in the study – yet broadcast TV programs containing these types of violence were rated as appropriate for 14-year-old children.