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Press Release

June 14, 2007

PTC to eBay: Stop Underwriting Vulgar TV Content


BOSTON, Mass. (June 14, 2007) – Today at the eBay shareholder meeting in Boston, the Parents Television Council™ called on the company to set media guidelines that reflect its corporate values. The PTC asked eBay to reconsider its sponsorship of the CBS television series CSI and use its advertising dollars to support more family-friendly programming. The following are excerpts of remarks given by Gavin McKiernan, national grassroots director for the PTC, at the meeting:


“I am here today because eBay, Inc. is advertising on programming that contains graphic violence, excessive sexual content and foul language.


“Through our research, we know that eBay is well aware of the importance of community. From observing your website, we have garnered that one of your main objectives is to foster a community based on the cornerstones of respect and camaraderie; one in which its members are trustworthy and reliable. To become an active participant in eBay, it is understood that one must adhere to guidelines established to protect and maintain the status quo of community; by upholding these core values, your company has blossomed into the premiere auctioning site on the Internet.


“However, it would be admirable if you did a better job translating your strict adherence to promoting community on eBay to your advertising practices. It is only as of late that we have seen your renewed dedication to being philanthropic with the eBay Foundation and the appointment of Matt Bannick to supervise eBay’s initiatives into corporate charity.


“Although some of your money is supporting family-friendly shows such as Deal or No Deal, a significant portion of your budget for advertising on television is supporting shows dedicated to vulgar content. For example, you support the CBS franchise series of CSI, concerning forensic teams stationed in various cities in the United States like Las Vegas, Miami, and New York. The teams use various sleuthing skills to solve grisly crimes. Throughout each episode, the crimes committed are slowly reconstructed and shown in flashback sequences and violent acts may be replayed several times. Graphic images shown often include autopsies, bloody injuries, and scantily clad strippers/prostitutes. The series is also known to cover peculiar situations including cannibalism, a man with a biting fetish, S&M beatings, and mutilated victims of a deranged killer. We understand that you are targeting a young demographic with these so called ‘edgy’ shows but there are alternative ways to successfully reach your target market.


“The PTC our message to you, eBay, is simple – your advertising dollars reflect your corporate values and promote your reputation to the public.  I doubt the Board of Directors or the shareholders would be proud of these content examples your media dollars support.


“We encourage you, eBay, to do your best in avoiding advertising on programming that contains graphic violence, excessive sexual content and foul language. We plead with you, on behalf of millions of Americans, to stop underwriting sleaze and adopt responsible advertising guidelines that will keep eBay, Inc. off of such programming.


“Ms. Whitman, tell me now whether this is important to you or not - I’ll go ahead and let our 1.1 million members know eBay’s position.  If you are not interested, I will them know that eBay has no media guidelines and frankly, doesn’t care where its message will appear.  If you are interested, we can work together toward that end - but I need your personal commitment today to change the way eBay buys media time. Is this important to you Ms. Whitman?”


To learn more about our Advertiser Accountability Campaign Click Here.

To contact an advertiser Click Here.


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 more than 1.3 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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