After the language was found to be the most contentious in a study, and generated the strongest response among the participants, movies using the n word are guaranteed at least 12A ratings

  • British Board of Film Classification did research about discrimination
  • It discovered that the n word was “the most contentious” and generated the strongest reaction
  • The governing body will be stricter in its classification of film and television shows using this word

According to the British Board of Film Classification, films that contain the n-word must be given at most a 12A rating.

The BBFC noted that in its research about discrimination, of all the language considered, this word was the ‘most contentious’ and sparked the ‘strongest response’.

It will reveal today that it is adopting an ‘even stricter position’ on the classification of the racially offensive term at the ‘junior’ categories.

Films and videos which use the n-word should receive at least a 12A rating, the British Board of Film Classification has ruled where previously they may have been classed as a PG

Films or videos that use the n word should be given at least a rating of 12A by the British Board of Film Classification. This is because they are no longer classifiable as a PG.

But it said that while the word will usually ensure a piece was not classified lower than 12A for film or 12 for video, this could happen if there was a ‘clear and strong educational value’, such as in a documentary which appealed to younger audiences.

Race, a 2016 Jesse Owens biopic, was rated PG. The film features a racist white man using the n-word to describe a legendary black sportsman from the 1930s.

It would likely be considered a 12A/12 if submitted again today, despite its encouraging message about conquering adversity.

The film body’s research also revealed the public do not think older films and TV shows should ‘necessarily’ need higher age ratings if they have ‘outdated behaviour or language’.

However, they are keen to be warned about inappropriate words and portrayals.

Jesse Owens biopic Race (pictured) featured a white man using the n-word and was classed as a PG but the BBFC feel that it would be classified as 12A or 12 on video if resubmitted now

Race (pictured by Jesse Owens) was a biopic about a white man who uses the n-word. The film was initially classified as a PG, but the BBFC feels that the video would have to be resubmitted.

The BBFC will now use the phrase ‘an actor in make-up portraying a different ethnicity’ when describing ‘assumed racial identities’.

Its report also said that this type of behaviour – sometimes called blackface portrayals – would likely require a higher age rating in a modern film than it would in older movies ‘where the intent may be different’ and the content can be seen ‘as a product of its time’.