Filmmaker Michael Moore is taking on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) after the organisation gave his upcoming documentary, Where To Invade Next, an R rating.
The award-winning director has said that in light of the decision, he is publicly rejecting the rating and appealing against the decision so that a wider audience, particularly teenagers under the age of 17, can see the film.
"I will make no cuts," Moore told Variety on 2 November. "We don't believe in censorship in this country. There can't be any compromise on this sort of thing."
Under the MPAA guidelines, which are not enforced by law, an R rating means that anyone under the age of 17 who wants to see the film must be accompanied to the cinema by a parent or guardian.
Where To Invade Next sees Moore look at how how foreign countries deal with social and economic issues compared to the approach in the US. With a scheduled 23 December release date, Moore must have hoped the film would garner some awards buzz, particularly given its controversial subjects.
The MPAA cited the inclusion of strong language, violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity as factors for the rating. While Moore does admit that a lot of these things are in the film, he said nothing was any more disturbing or inappropriate than the content you would see on the evening news on television.
The 61-year-old, whose previous documentaries include Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling For Columbine, took to his personal Twitter account to explain which scenes would have prompted the MPAA's decision, based on the description it gave.
He said that the violence the film featured was of law enforcement officers beating Eric Garner, a man whose death last year sparked a much wider debate about police brutality, and that the drug use referred to a section in the film that covered Portugal's decision to decriminalise narcotics.
Moore also said that the word "f**k" was said once by an Icelandic man during a protest in 2009 about the collapse of the country's banks. And of the the nudity, he said: "You see a total of two seconds of naked Germans going into a jacuzzi.
"It's amazing how 25 years have passed — we invented the internet, gay marriage is legal and we elected an African American President of the United States, but the MPAA is still intent on censoring footage that is available from any evening network news show.
"The MPAA doesn't want teenagers to see these things without parental supervision. My advice to the teenagers of America is: you know what to do and you know how to get in.
"I wish the MPAA would just be honest and stick a label on my movies saying: 'This movie contains dangerous ideas that the 99% may find upsetting and lead them to revolt.' Teens will be the most agitated when they learn they will soon be $80,000 in debt just by going to school."