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Entertainment

Brokeback Mountain banned in US prison

Katherine Knowles April 13, 2006
Just 2 per cent of recent big budget films include meaningful LGBT stories

Jake Gyllenhaal starred in Brokeback Mountain with the late Heath Ledger. (Focus Features)

A Massachusetts corrections officer found himself in hot water last week when he screened Brokeback Mountain for his inmates.

The so-called “gay cowboy” film, was not on a list of approved video material, because it violated official policy of showing sexual content. The officer who pushed the play button now faces a disciplinary hearing.

However, approved prison films are not all Lassie and the like; the popular “Get Rich or die Tryin'” makes the final cut, along with the often requested “A History of Violence”.

“Get Rich” caused near riots at cinemas with it’s blood-soaked plotlines, and was deemed unsuitable for some non-prison audiences in Pennsylvania, when the movie was pulled from a theatre after a customer was shot dead in the lobby following a screening of the film. What “A History of Violence” lacks in sheer gore, it more than makes up for with drug abuse.

Yet the romantic “Brokeback” stands apart in its unsuitability.

The whole question of what prisoners should or should not be able to watch in jail is now being hotly debated in the corridors of power at the department of corrections. Spokeswoman, Diane Wifflin said: “Clearly this needs a top-to-bottom review.”

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