OAKLAND, Calf. (March 10, 2009) – Today at the Walt Disney Company annual shareholders meeting, the Parents Television Council™ praised the company for its tradition of providing wholesome family entertainment, but cautioned Disney about risqué advertisements, marketing its stars on adult-oriented programming, and the direction of ABC Family Channel. Caroline Fyffe, the grassroots director of PTC’s Central Valley chapter in California, addressed Disney executives and shareholders at the meeting; the following are excerpts from her remarks:
“As a mother, I know that no other company in the world has created more positive and wholesome entertainment for children and families than Disney. 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 I thank you on behalf of our membership. But in spite of many positive developments in the past year, there are three very concerning developments which I respectfully ask you and the board to reconsider.
“First, I realize that this corporation markets different entertainment products to different audiences, some of which exclude children and families. However, I am asking the Disney Company to apply reasonable standards and practices to its acceptance and placement of commercials. Erectile dysfunction ads, lingerie ads and horror film trailers are appearing all over your schedule in every distribution outlet. All of your networks urgently need to adopt a policy so that families may be aware of where these ads are appearing. Watching a family-friendly show that carries primetime network promos of a violent nature is unacceptable.
“Second, the marketing of Disney stars for adult-oriented programming is simply irresponsible. Recently the popular Jonas Brothers hosted an episode of the CW Network program 90210, a program that is wholly inappropriate for the Jonas Brothers’ young demographic base. When our children look up to these celebrities as mentors and may emulate their behavior, you have a duty to market and utilize these TV personalities wisely.
“Finally, I ask the ABC Family network to truly honor its name. The Secret Life of the American Teenager is not a family-friendly series when the program deals with adult themes and visuals. Most recently, this series which airs at 7:00 pm Central has been implying incest between two siblings. It is absolutely disturbing that Disney would actually permit this type of innuendo when the two characters in question are stepbrother and stepsister. Please reconsider calling your cable outlet ABC Family until it is truly family-friendly.
“We at the PTC are eager to recognize you as a media provider who genuinely cares about children and families, but with that comes the responsibility to do the right thing. 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.”