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Press Release

June 30, 2009

PTC Slams Explicit BET Awards


LOS ANGELES (June 30, 2009) – The Parents Television Council™ called for a more accurate and transparent content ratings system and for the cable industry to provide cable choice to consumers, following Sunday’s explicit BET Awards program.


Not only did BET air an unbleeped “s-word”, the show was rated TV-PG, meaning that BET designated the show as being appropriate for children of most ages.


“Filled with depictions of sex and sexual innuendo, foul language, and violent behavior, Sunday’s BET Awards show proves the need for families to choose and pay for only the cable networks they want,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“Cable choice would prevent families from having to subsidize such explicit and mis-rated cable content.  The BET Awards show was rated TV-PG(D), which, if accurately applied, would denote the show was ‘unsuitable for some viewers… and may contain some suggestive dialogue.’  However, given the content, parts of the show were deserving of no less than a TV-MA rating. 


“The program was hastily re-scripted, following the shocking and untimely passing of Michael Jackson.  And given the spike in viewership -- the BET Awards had the most viewers out of every other cable show that night -- the public expected a tribute worthy of the entertainment genius Michael Jackson demonstrated for more than 40 years.  Unfortunately BET turned that opportunity into a disaster for millions of children and families, choosing instead to pander to the audience with explicit content.


“Compounding the situation, there is no clear way for the public to address concerns about misrated or misapplied television ratings except to a ratings oversight board that meets only twice a year and whose members are not publicly listed.  Ironically, just last week the ratings board cancelled one of its two annual meetings, despite assurances that ‘feedback is welcome’ about the TV ratings system.  This review board obviously needs more oversight and must be held accountable to review the application of the entertainment industry’s ratings system. 


“We are urging our members to contact BET about the explicit program and urge their elected representatives in Congress to make cable choice a reality.”


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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