I'm bored and thought I'd answer a few questions for the next few hours if anyone was interested. I work for a company that owns a bunch of networks and one of my jobs is censoring movies that come in.

Basically, taking anything rated PG, PG-13, or R and helping to make it "sanitized" for television.

Best proof I can think of: http://imgur.com/0cLV3

Keep in mind, I don't censor live programming, so I'm not on "the button," but I do know a little about what goes on with that, as well.

Comments: 198 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Chiphai54 karma

Are you sick of these monkey flying snakes on this Monday to Friday plane?

moviecensordude50 karma

My favorite was when I was a kid, Police Academy replaced "assholes" with "eggroles'

Ytzombe37 karma

Why do you ruin fun?

moviecensordude94 karma

By order of the Illuminati.

kdar31 karma

I saw the filming of Superbad for TV. They just reshot a bunch of the nastier scenes with non-sense words. How often to movies actually film with an alternative TV version in mind?

moviecensordude32 karma

It doesn't seem to happen too much. I know Harold and Kumar did a similar thing, and a clean screener was sent out immediately when the movie was released in order to say to the networks "See? We can give you a clean version!"

kjoro27 karma

what is the most harmless scene that you've censored?

moviecensordude41 karma

This is tough. There are things I find harmless, but I know they're against the "rules," out of sensitivity to viewers across America. I don't find "God damn" "Jesus Christ!" offensive, but most networks ban those terms.

Use of the n-word and other racial slurs are typically a big no-no. I feel if its in the use of an educational context, it can be done correctly.

There's also an issue with sex. Typically, two naked bodies from the waist up are okay, as long there's no nipple on the woman, but slightest amount of thrust can be a problem.

Echo_Blade20 karma

Any specific scene that comes to mind?

moviecensordude18 karma

While it would be really tough to piece together where I work based on which movies have aired, unfortunately I still need to be vague on the specific titles.

RancidPonyMilk14 karma

why is it okay to depict deadly violence/gore but not sex?

moviecensordude32 karma

Because of American values, seriously. I'm not sure where it came from, but violence has always been less taboo than sex in America.

I remember watching an old documentary on the history of porn on film. While France was making full-on penetration movies in the early 20th century, America wasn't quite there and instead there was quite a lot of bondage movies.

ColonelPanic100022 karma

Why do you bleep 'hole' when someone says 'asshole', or 'god' if someone says 'goddamn'? Makes no sense.

moviecensordude8 karma

As explained elsewhere:

FCC - this applies to broadcast, over-the-air networks. If people complain about content not meeting community standards, they can be fined by the FCC.

Agreements with the cable carriers - Each network has a contract with the cable and satellite carriers, stating that they'll air a certain level of content during certain times. These are done because cable carriers don't want to lose customers.

Advertisers - If something has raunchy content, typically advertisers will stay far away. They mainly fear retaliation from advocate groups calling up on them to "boycott this filth!"

Those words you mentioned are really offensive to a lot of people in 'murica.

rrao121717 karma

No, I think the question was more: Why do you bleep 'hole' instead of 'ass'? Or, at least, that's my question.

moviecensordude18 karma

I think it's because "You're a hole" makes less sense than "You're an ass"

Boo_This_Redditor21 karma

How do you find the sound clips to dub over the cuss words?

moviecensordude29 karma

These are done by the studio that owns the movie. They'll either get the original actor or an impersonator to do a voice over session. It an expensive process. Usually, the movie has been on TV a few times by the time I get it, so I haven't had to worry about it.

MZago114 karma

Do you work with or have any knowledge of cinematic rating systems? I've heard that a movie can use "fuck" 3 times before getting an R rating. I've also heard that saying "fisting" or "fisted" warrants an automatic R. In regards to the latter, I also heard a rumor that was the case for Goldmember.

moviecensordude25 karma

I don't work with anyone directly involved in the movie rating's systems. There's a great movie called "The Film is Not Yet Rated" which show the process. It criticizes the movie academy for their ratings systems, showing favoritism and unclear rules.

MZago16 karma

I'll definitely have to check that out. The guys at South Park did a documentary last year about production of a single episode and they did a segment about Standards & Practices. They said it's basically some person just sitting in an office deciding what is and isn't offensive on a day-to-day basis.

moviecensordude10 karma

They were also the ones talking about the favortism in the documentary I mentioned above. They said that while making "Orgazmo" independently, they'd get no specifics on how to make the movie "R." When making the South Park movie for Paramount, they got special attention paid on how to make it passable.

dt117311 karma

Why is there so much more censorship of movies/tv in the USA than in other countries?

moviecensordude15 karma

Ive been told it's because America has some of the highest percentages of fundamentalist religious followers, mainly Christian.

Jamitter9 karma

thanks for the AMA.

Question I've always had since watching the Dumb and Dumber movie on TV years and years ago:

When you dub something over the swear word instead of a bleep/removing the sound, how the hell do you choose what word gets dubbed over?

For example... in dumb and dumber, the line is: "Just tell me where to sign buddy!" "Right on my [sandwich], after you KISS IT!"

they replaced 'ass' with 'sandwich'.... I never understood why

moviecensordude11 karma

That would totally get by today, the only thing I can think of is that perhaps that term wasn't acceptable on network TV when the dub was originally made in mid-90s. If you still hear that on TV today, it's probably because that particular version already has all of the other needed parts edited out.

Every network is different, and it the perception of what's acceptable changes over time. I know after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, everything was re-evaluated.

The worst are the airline versions. Those will take out everything, including words like "gay" and "Arabic."

Jamitter8 karma

thanks for the reply

it's not so much why the word itself was censored, it's why they chose to use the word sandwich which made zero sense in the given context. Why not dub "butt", or "behind", or "derriere" or something.

moviecensordude6 karma

That, I'm not sure of why. It could have been a note by the network to change it to something other than a body part. Or, it could have been something the director wanted.

frkcool7 karma

How does one get a job like yours?

moviecensordude6 karma

Any job in TV, you typically start at the bottom, doing a job that's way beneath your bachelor's (and sometimes masters) degree.

The particular area of censoring I've noticed falls to different people at different networks. It all depends on how the network is set up.

Draithegemini7 karma

Since it's an AMA: Do you ever look at the to do list on a film and say "Really? You can't say that !?".

2 personal comment towards the profession.

First off: Yippee Kay Yaa Mr. Falcon. 2nd: Seriously, fuck everyone that makes it so you have this job.

Cheers and all the best in the future.

moviecensordude4 karma

Do you ever look at the to do list on a film and say "Really? You can't say that !?"

The only one I ever saw was mention before, and that was the lord's name in vain. "Goddamnit!" was such a part of my everyday vocabulary that I forgot a significant portion of the US was offended by it.

oviradoi6 karma

Do you have some written rules that you look at to decide what needs to be cut and what gets to stay? Is the censoring more subjective or objective?

moviecensordude12 karma

There are a bunch of rules in writing, but they are open to interpretation. Some are pretty easy to interpret, like the hardcore curse words, others are not. If a person says "suck my dick," that has to go. If a person says "suck it," it could be a problem if they were directly referring to genitalia beforehand.

We have a person who makes the final decision, and I usually play it safe. and make a note of everything.

oviradoi5 karma

Are the people who created the movie/show involved in any way in the censoring process?

Do they get to see what has been cut before the show goes on the air? If so, do they argue with you and do you sometimes change your mind about a certain scene?

moviecensordude4 karma

Yes, the studio is required to notify the director of any edits or changes to the films. Certain directors have a clause that no edits can be made to their films, ever. This keeps artistic integrity, but also prevents the film from making additional money by being sold to TV. Other directors oversee their own TV versions and then say further edits can be made.

Depending on the contract, some indie films can have whatever we want done to them without notification.

Edit: And to clarify, after the studio has contacted the director, it's up to the director to say "yay" or "nay." After a "clean" version has been approved, that version can be re-used by other networks later on without approval.

oviradoi3 karma

That's interesting.

If some directors have a clause that their films can't be edited, then why do they bother sending it to you?

You mentioned a contract. Who is the contract between? The director and the networks? The director and your company?

Can the clean version be used by any network? Or only the networks that are owned by the company that employs you?

moviecensordude4 karma

If some directors have a clause that their films can't be edited, then why do they bother sending it to you?

They usually don't. The studio rep who sells the movies to networks will mention this before the sale. If it's a network that can air almost anything, then they're okay to go.

You mentioned a contract. Who is the contract between? The director and the networks? The director and your company?

The contract as far as the sale goes is between the network and the studio (company). That's typically where the stipulations about editing are

Can the clean version be used by any network? Or only the networks that are owned by the company that employs you?

Typically, once a clean version is made by the studio for a particular, they'll keep it in their vaults. When the network contacts the studio, they'll ask which versions they already have on hand from previous sales to previous networks.

If the previous network version isn't "clean" enough for the next one, additional changes will be requested.

Domsyy6 karma

Since you get to watch movies for your job, what was your most and least favourite one to watch and censor? It must be nice to watch them for a job whereas others spend precious free time doing it. :}

moviecensordude37 karma

As said before, I won't go over specific titles, but keep in mind, it is a job. Lots of notes, you have to pause for every interruption and go back and re-watch, so it can take 3 hours to watch a 90 minute movie.

Funny story, I was on a long train ride once and watching a movie for work that had some questionable nudity. I'm writing down thing thing like "Side boob at 01:15.29," and "Possible pubic hair at 01.18.22" Then I realized there was a dude sitting next to me, awkwardly seeing what I was doing. I explained what I did and where I worked, and he laughed his ass off. He said for a while, he thought I was Mr. Skin.

ska_robot6 karma

Is there any censorship that you don't agree with?

moviecensordude6 karma

Pertaining to my job, there's nothing I've been thought was totally outrageous. I've said before, terms like "God Damn!" I think are okay, but i can understand why it's censored. I'll say "Goddamnit" on any given day, but I wouldn't say it if I were in the middle of the bible belt.

anotherguy25 karma

have you ever purposely let anything slip through?

moviecensordude6 karma

Nope, I'd get chewed out. Sometimes if we tell the studio that we'd prefer to have something censored, and the director refuses, we have to live with it. Any of those instances, however, have been minor and were things that aired on other networks in the past.

Estrisk4 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

What's your take on censor strictness?

Should it be more loose? More strict?

moviecensordude11 karma

Children seem to be at the center of censorship since the once complaint you'll always hear is "My child saw this when the family was together!" or "What if a child saw this?!?" Yes, adults can find content offensive, but chances are they've seen it already and know when to turn the TV off.

My personal feelings is that censorship should be much looser and parental controls should be used in place more. That said, I'm not a parent so I don't know how tough it really is, and I think the reality is that most parents are not using parental controls since they're either oblivious to them or just lazy to learn.

thedeejus4 karma

What happens when you find a stranger in the alps?

moviecensordude3 karma

get checked for STDs the next day?

thedeejus2 karma

In case you're not familiar, in the famous scene in "The Big Lebowski" where Walter is destroying the sports car with a crowbar and is screaming "do you see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass?!" it was dubbed for basic cable with "do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps" and then later "when you fix a stranger scrambled eggs."

moviecensordude7 karma

I got the reference, hence the STD reference. C'mon man, we gotta work together on this thing here.

newtonsapple3 karma

I hate when they show movies like Saving Private Ryan on tv and keep all the blood and gore, but edit out the cussing. I mean, really, what do you think is going to scar children more, the f-word or someone's intestines getting blown out?

moviecensordude3 karma

American culture. Violence is okay, but boobies and a bad word will send little Billy to the looney bin.

Seriously, out of all of the viewer complaints that I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot), they've all dealt with something sexual.

ThatsMrAsshole2You2 karma

Do you guys ever sit around and just laugh at how fucking stupid your job is? Censoring words for adults that those adults use every fucking day? No offense to you at all, but your job is a stupid fucking waste of time and resources and is an insult to any thinking human being.

moviecensordude3 karma

Censoring words for adults that those adults use every fucking day?

I think the thinking is that if you're an adult and can't afford to watch your favorite movie unedited in some way, you're doing it wrong.

yyx92 karma

How did a melon farmer like yourself get such a monday to friday job like that?

moviecensordude7 karma

I sucked a lot of cluck.

usrevenge2 karma

is it more then just you per movie or is there a team? do you have the final say on what is or isn't going to be allowed or does someone check your work?

moviecensordude3 karma

It depends. The more "R" rated it is, usually more ore one person checks it over. If it's pretty safe, then only one person will check it.

AliceAndTheHatter2 karma

I am incredibly interested in more of your thoughts on the relationship censorship of TV/Film has with sex and violence. What would you like to see happen in the future with these two subjects?

moviecensordude9 karma

I think it's an overall attitude adjustment I'd like to see in America.

I mean, it really is odd when you can watch a person shoot another person on TV and have that be okay. Whenever cops shoot a suspect in real life, they're usually given leave time and and assigned to a therapist. It's a pretty big deal and its taken so lightly in media.

If you show a woman's breast, and in a lot of cases even if you can see nipples through a shirt, it's considered something that's offensive and potentially traumatizing. Obviously, hardcore pornography could mess up a kid at an early age, but something as simple as breasts or a guy's bare ass? I mean, c'mon.

One of the times I realized that American values were screwed up in this regard was the Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" scandal. A hidden part of the game was discovered where the characters had sex (fully clothed) and THAT's when the outcry started. Not when the game required you to murder a shitload of people and steal everything you could.

The two aren't opposite sides of one coin, but it's a shame that some parents have no problem with their child watching death after death, all while being embarrassed to talk about sex.

jxj243 karma

If this country came to its senses, you'd be out of a job :)

moviecensordude1 karma

Thankfully, it's only a part of my job. And by the time the country does, TV probably won't exist as it does.

travass2 karma

Did you have anything to do with censoring Casino on AMC? or any opinion of it, specifically the scene where Sharon Stone and Robert De Nero are arguing and it's "freak you" or "get the freak" out of here over and over again. It's almost comical. As a viewer when someone butchers a movie like that it makes me wonder why even bother airing it. Or on the other hand I just laugh because it sounds so ridiculous and I'm taken right out of the movie.

moviecensordude3 karma

That's so funny, because I just watched that too a few weeks back. I think it was pretty comical, too.

IMO "screw you" and "get the hell out' would have been better, but I'm guessing there were worries that lip movements would be making obvious "F" sounds and they wanted that to match.

As far was why it gets played on TV is because it still makes a lot of money for the studio and the networks, regardless of how it's butchered. People will still watch.

NealsFedora1 karma


moviecensordude1 karma

On one hand, I think a lot of America needs to lighten up to a lot of things and not get so offended by a movie, on another hand it helps pay the bills and the like I said before, approved by the guys who make the the, which I guess helps the movie make more money and pay their bills.

Qazerowl1 karma

Are you American? You seem to talk about America a lot, which makes me think you are not, especially since you work in the media industry.

moviecensordude1 karma

I am, and I work for an American company, hence, my comments on censorship in America.

babaoriley71 karma

Is the guy who did Die Hard named Mr. Falcon?

moviecensordude1 karma

Not sure. The only edit I remember seeing of Die Hard had it say "Yipee-kay-a, Mother-" which I thought was effective enough.

[deleted]1 karma


moviecensordude1 karma

They actually are, mostly, depending on the network. Actually, "God" is typically okay on its own, "God Damn" is not.

casualmat1 karma

Why "ass" but not "asshole"?

moviecensordude1 karma

Not sure, maybe because one could be a donkey? Or maybe because one is an outer body part while one is an internal organ?

GarenBushTerrorist1 karma

Do you bleep out, over-record, both, or other?

moviecensordude5 karma

Mostly we just drop audio over a word in a movie if need be. Recording over the voice is handled by the studio and can be quite costly since it involves bringing in actors or impersonators. I've seen some studios make edits which were really well done and you couldn't tell the words were spoken at all.

thehotelambush2 karma


moviecensordude8 karma

For certain movies there would be way too many hits of silence back-to-back that people would think there was something wrong with the audio. Also, it used to be status quo on the major networks to never have any dropped audio, so you'll find that a lot in older movies. Since cable networks and smaller and have less resources, they just tend to drop audio.

Snakes on Plane was the first movie I've seen to actually make it a parody out of the dubs, but it worked since that was an over-the-top movie anyways.

GamingCombustion1 karma


moviecensordude2 karma

There actually was a show once called "Good Clean Porn" which was old porn with just the plotlines and all of the actual porn cut out. I would have loved to haved worked on that.

Ifeelinfinite11 karma

How does it make you feel that you get to ruin art for a living just because some people can't handle anything they don't like? This is why America is so over-sensitive.

moviecensordude17 karma

I've learned a lot about America's sensitivity since I started doing this. One thing I've come to learn is that violence is waaaay more acceptable than sex, which logically, is pretty baffling.

Echo_Blade4 karma

This is why America every damn country is so over-sensitive.


moviecensordude11 karma

Not really. Certain public channels in the UK show unedited movies after 9pm. I visited Spain about 15 years ago and saw an English movie on TV with f-bombs everywhere, airing in the daytime.

Apparently, the Japanese market is really heavy on censorship over TV, though.

Ifeelinfinite12 karma

What's your moral stance on it? Is it just to get paid or do you agree with what you do?

moviecensordude2 karma

I watch everything and get a offended by very little. But that's me.

I don't have kids, but I did, I would certainly use every parent control available on what to censor what they see. I'd be more inclined to censor violence than I would sex, but I think that's almost opposite of most parents out there.

Since, honestly, a majority of parents don't use parental controls, there's still a need to censor things. Also, TV is pretty much still seen as a "safe haven" for kids, but that's been gradually changing.

DarehMeyod0 karma

has anything been missed that make it to tv?

moviecensordude2 karma

Not on my watch, but we were once alerted to a "holy shit!" that got through on someone else's. These do go through a number of people before getting on the air (editors, quality control), so typically someone will notice and say something.

heriman0 karma

what do the ladies say, when you tell them that you censor their favorite shows/movies?

moviecensordude3 karma

I get thanked everyday for saving the children of America and they all want to have my babies. Actually, most people don't give a shit.

mysterybkk0 karma

why do you do it? do you believe you are making the world a better place? do you not feel that it is ruining art the way it was meant to be portrayed?

moviecensordude1 karma

why do you do it?

Because I get paid to.

do you believe you are making the world a better place?

Not at all.

do you not feel that it is ruining art the way it was meant to be portrayed?

Not really, since it's approved by the directors who created it. It's not as if its government censorship which won't allow people to track down the the original movie if that's their burning desire.

Kepgnar0 karma


moviecensordude2 karma

Ever since Eve ate that damned apple, boobies have been evil.

nondimensionaltravel-1 karma


moviecensordude1 karma

Honestly, your kids are great for you, but I'm still indifferent towards them.

[deleted]-13 karma

People like you make television unbearable. I hate you.

moviecensordude11 karma

I know it's a troll comment, but I'll answer it seriously. The reason behind censorship on TV come from a variety of sources:

  • FCC - this applies to broadcast, over-the-air networks. If people complain about content not meeting community standards, they can be fined by the FCC.

  • Agreements with the cable carriers - Each network has a contract with the cable and satellite carriers, stating that they'll air a certain level of content during certain times. These are done because cable carriers don't want to lose customers.

  • Advertisers - If something has raunchy content, typically advertisers will stay far away. They mainly fear retaliation from advocate groups calling up on them to "boycott this filth!"

Personally, I think America is way too uptight about this stuff, as well. This is all business.

[deleted]-18 karma

I'm serious. Censorship has ruined every TV movie experience for me. Thanks for nothing.

lisbethsalamander1 karma

mitt romney would have ruined every life experience for me, so I hate you for your username.

moviecensordude3 karma

haha, I just realized the irony of his username. There's a documentary on Netflix right now called Cleanflix, about the movie censorship that went on in Mormon communities. I was watching that when I started this AMA.

lisbethsalamander1 karma

Oh god, that really is some delicious irony. Question for you: do you have a favorite dubbed in profanity substitute? I do. Mine is from The Faculty, when they replaced fucking alien with fuzzy alien. LOVE IT.

eta: you probably can't answer that.

moviecensordude4 karma

There's one in Robocop, I remember seeing it as a kid and its still used on TV versions today. When Clarence Bodecker (Kurtwood Smith) breaks into that guys house and says "Bitches, leave!" to the hookers, it's changed to "Ladies, leave!"

I just found it funny since he was basically there to slaughter the guy, and in the TV version he became suddenly polite to the women.

[deleted]-4 karma

I am watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on Spike as I write this. Just thought I would thank you for raping my childhood in the ass.

moviecensordude4 karma

Thank Mr. Spielberg, he's the one who approved it.