First there was ‘Jersey Shore’ pushing the envelope with its sex, drugs, drinking and wild partying. And people just ate it up and made the actors household names – so this means money and money dominates any other concerns in the entertainment business, and in business in general. So MTV decided to push matters one big step further – they are presenting a US version of the hit British show ‘Skins’ which is like ‘Jersey Shore’, only raunchier and filmed with children!
But there are serious fears that the U.S. version features scenes which are too explicit, and may even violate federal child pornography statutes. Taco Bell and other advertisers have pulled its ads off ‘Skins’ after the Parents Television Council urged people to contact the company and protest. In the last few days, executives at MTV, which airs the program, have ordered the show’s producers to make changes to tone down some of the most explicit content, according to the New York Times.
They are said to be particularly concerned about the third episode of the series, to be broadcast in on January 31. In it, a naked actor (Jesse Carere, who plays Chris) is shown from behind, running down the street in a storyline which features him taking erectile dysfunction pills. MTV has gradually reduce the number of music videos it plays in the last few years, replacing them with controversial reality shows such as ‘Jersey Shore’, ‘The Real World’ and ‘Teen Mom.’
However, unlike these shows, Skins features child actors, with an age range of 15-19. MTV’s president and other executives declined interview requests with the New York Times, but MTV spokesman Jeannie Kedas insisted that all forthcoming episodes were works in progress.
But she would not confirm that MTV executives were fearful of falling foul of child pornography laws. ‘Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,’ she said in a statement, adding ‘We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.’
However, child pornography is defined in the USA as any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, with anyone younger than 18 considered to be a minor. In some cases, ‘A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive,’ according to the Justice Department’s legal guidance.
Despite these fears, the show has so far been a hit, attracting 3.3 million viewers to the first episode which aired on January 17. It also set a new first-episode record for MTV among viewers aged 12 to 34, with Nielsen ratings reporting that the episode drew 1.2 million viewers younger than 18. This, despite MTV stating in news releases that the show is ‘specifically designed to be viewed by adults.’ How can a show that features children playing almost all of the roles be designed to be viewed by adults? How stupid does MTV think people are? The answer is clear – very stupid.
By the way, we have just put up quite a few photos from the premiere episode of Skins on Monday night, featuring the teenage stars in quite racy situations, which ignited the Parent’s Television Council to call the series “dangerous”. You can view the photos by clicking here.