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Press Release

March 6, 2008

Disney CEO Defends Nudity and Profanity on Public Airwaves

PTC President Asks Disney to Drop Lawsuits and Admit Wrongdoing


ALBUQUERQUE (March 6, 2008) – At the Walt Disney Shareholders meeting today, the Parents Television Council™ President Tim Winter requested that the company reconsider its lawsuits against the federal government that assert a “right” to air unedited profanity and nudity on its broadcast network – even in front of children.  Disney President and CEO Robert Iger thanked Mr. Winter for his comments but defended the company’s decisions by saying that they do not want the government interfering in what they can broadcast.


“Joining a federal lawsuit that asserts a right to use the ‘F-word’ on broadcast television at any time of the day – even in front of children – is a contemptible step for a company named ‘Walt Disney’ to take.  Yet when an actress recently used the ‘F-word’ during a live interview on Good Morning America, that was the course of action ABC chose, instead of offering a commitment to make sure it didn’t happen again.  I ask that you reconsider suing for the right to air the ‘F-word’ in front of children on the public airwaves,” said Mr. Winter during the meeting.


“When the FCC recently imposed a fine on ABC for airing a scripted primetime drama with a fully-nude woman, this corporation defended the nudity and initiated a legal action against the FCC.  Can you imagine Walt Disney airing a naked woman on primetime television, and then suing the FCC when it found the nudity to violate broadcast indecency laws?  I urge this company to admit the wrongdoing, and promise not to do it again.


“I also ask that ABC reconsider the content contained on its series Ugly Betty.  Ugly Betty was created by the Family Friendly Programming Forum – a group of advertisers who underwrite the development of television pilots that it believes will be appropriate for a family audience.  We commend FFPF and its noble goals.  But somewhere between pilot and series, something changed.  During the first season of Ugly Betty, the PTC recorded 205 instances of sexual content and 154 instances of foul language.  The PTC has also recorded scenes from the program which implied oral sex, reference to genital size, pornography, strippers, anal sex, threesomes, kinky and fetishistic behavior, statutory rape, S&M and partial nudity.  Foul language in Ugly Betty frequently includes words like ‘suck,’ ‘bitch,’ ‘ass,’ ‘screw’ and ‘damn.’  Mr. Iger, is that family entertainment?  Please help to restore this program to its original vision as a program the entire family can enjoy together.  Or in the alternative, do not hold this program out to be family-friendly; for clearly it is not.


Mr. Winter also commended the company during the meeting.  “I think it is safe to say that no other company in the world has created more positive and wholesome entertainment for children and families than this company.  And the value you’ve created for shareholders over the years demonstrates just how profitable family entertainment can be.  Last year provided even more evidence of this, and it is my pleasure to publicly thank you.”


“The Disney Channel continues to fill a massive entertainment need for millions of families.  High School Musical 2 not only continued to build on a franchise that every family in America can enjoy together; it obliterated cable viewership records in the process.  Your motion pictures Ratatouille, Enchanted, and others were inspiring for families at theatres; and the financial return was inspiring for shareholders.


“We at the PTC are eager to be the loudest voice to commend you when you are working on behalf of families.  But with that comes the responsibility to be the loudest voice when you are not doing the right thing for children and families.


“I sincerely thank you for the good work of this company over the past year.  And as a parent, as an advocate, and as a shareholder, I ask you to reconsider the decisions that this company has made recently which hurt children and families.”


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, 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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