And the hits just keep on comin’: After the Parents Television Council last week helped convince Taco Bell, H&R Block, GM and Wrigley to pull ads from the envelope-pushing teen drama, Morality in Media has called for MTV and Viacom to stop distributing Skins altogether to avoid the exploitation of children and because the show may violate U.S. child pornography and obscenity laws. As well, a rep for Subway told The Hollywood Reporter it will not be advertising on the next episode (Subway appeared on the premiere).
Morality in Media said it was pleased that PTC initiated a call for an investigation of MTV/Viacom by the DOJ if Skins continues to air in the US (it’s based on a British version).
“Given the allegations of sexually explicit conduct by minors that have been made in news reports and by the show’s distributors, MTV and Viacom, some material may constitute child pornography under U.S. law if certain conditions are met,” said Patrick Trueman, Morality in Media CEO. Trueman is a former Chief of the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
US child pornography laws prohibit any visual depiction involving children under the age of 18 engaged in ‘sexually explicit conduct,’ which is defined under those laws as ‘actual or simulated’ sexual intercourse, including ‘genital-genital, oral-genital’ sex and a variety of other sexual acts, noted Trueman.
“Attorney General Eric Holder should investigate MTV and Viacom now to satisfy himself that the American episodes of the show comport with U.S. child pornography laws,” he added. “Viacom and MTV could also violate U.S. obscenity laws, which prohibit the distribution of obscene pornography, depending on how sexual conduct is depicted.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Apparently, the British episodes of “Skins” do depict sexually explicit conduct with minors involved. What may be OK there, we doubt is going to fly here, at least in this respect. Now not that we’re preaching here, but it’s basically sensationalizing bad behavior, and there’s enough of that on TV as it is.
The danger for MTV is that if they do not seriously consider pulling or changing the show, the push will go to advertisers to pull from MTV altogether. Not to mention the legal liability this show is creating. We’d say its days are definitely numbered.