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Press Release

November 14, 2006

PTC Calls on Microsoft to Evaluate Advertising Practices

Microsoft Frequently Sponsors Violent and Vulgar Television Programming


SEATTLE (November 14, 2006) – Today at the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting, the Parents Television Council™ called on Microsoft to examine its advertising practices in light of the evidence that the company is sponsoring some of the most violent and vulgar television programming.  The following excerpts are taken from a statement that was given by the PTC's Manager of Advertising Programs Glen Erickson to executives attending the meeting:


"I am here today representing the Parents Television Council, a non-profit, nonpartisan group committed to protecting children from sex, violence and profanity in entertainment.  I am here today because Microsoft consistently advertises on programming that contains graphic violence, excessive sexual content and foul language and we think this needs to stop – now.


"Microsoft is clearly a leader in the betterment of the lives of children.  Mr. Gates, your philanthropic work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has helped children all around the world.  Surely, you understand how Microsoft's irresponsibility in the media marketplace can undermine your good works.


"It is a shame that Microsoft cannot demonstrate leadership as a responsible corporate citizen as reflected in the support of the company's consistent pattern of advertising on some of the most violent and vulgar programming on television.  It is clear to me, and to the Parents Television Council's 1.1 million members, that Microsoft does not have media guidelines in place to keep its name off of programs containing graphic and explicit content.


"Over the past year, Microsoft has sponsored such shows as The Family Guy, CSI, The O.C., The War at Home and Nip/Tuck on the F/X network.  Last season, the XBOX was advertised in a Nip/Tuck episode that included this exchange between two lead characters:  Christian: ‘How would you feel if I took a mold of my cock, passed it around South Beach and called it a career?'  Kimber:  ‘If you thought it was a solid business venture, I would let you.'  Christian: ‘Now you're full of shit.'  Later in the show, the Colleen character approaches Christian and he grabs her hands and presses them to his crotch.  And this is a show sponsored by Microsoft's XBOX. 


"The PTC's message to Microsoft is this – your advertising dollars reflect your corporate values.  I doubt the Board of Directors or the shareholders would be proud of these programs your media dollars support.


"I am here today to plead with you, on behalf of millions of Americans, to stop underwriting sleaze and adopt responsible advertising guidelines that will keep Microsoft off of programming that contains foul language, gratuitous sex, and graphic violence.


"Will Microsoft continue paying for the ‘cultural sewage' that is broadcast into our homes on a nightly basis?  Or, will Microsoft be a responsible corporate citizen and dedicate its advertising dollars toward sponsoring pro-social, family-friendly programming.


"The Parents Television Council would like your response to this question by the first of December so that we may let our 1.1 million members know whether or not Microsoft is dedicated to responsible advertising and not to return to sponsoring some of the most offensive and violent programming on television.  I hope that I will be able to tell them that Microsoft is adopting advertising guidelines that reflect its corporate values."


To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has over one million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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