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Press Release

January 20, 2011


PTC Calls on Feds to Investigate “Skins” on MTV for Child Pornography and Exploitation 

LOS ANGELES (January 20, 2011) – The Parents Television Council ™ today called on the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice to immediately open an investigation regarding child pornography and exploitation on MTV’s “Skins.” The New York Times reported today that the network itself is concerned about violating child pornography laws. In addition to the sexual content on the show involving cast members as young as 15, PTC counted 42 depictions and references to drugs and alcohol in the premiere episode. The run-time was only 41 minutes excluding commercial breaks.

The following are excerpts from the letter that PTC President Tim Winter sent Committee Chairmen Patrick Leahy and Lamar Smith. The rest of the Judiciary Committee members, Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Committee Chairman Julius Genachowski were also sent copies of the letter.

“On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, ‘Skins.’ The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content. Moreover, future episodes promise much more of the same.

“While that alone is cause enough for concern among parents and families around the country, new information has come to light that is even more disturbing. The New York Times has reported this morning that Viacom executives met yesterday to discuss whether the show might violate federal law regarding the sexual depiction and presentation of minors and has compelled the producers of the show to make certain changes.

“However, many of the actors appearing in the show are below the age of 18. It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of any or all of the following federal statutes:

“18 U.S.C. § 1466A (2008) Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children

18 U.S.C. § 2251 (2008) Sexual Exploitation of Children

18 U.S.C. § 2252 (2008) Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors

18 U.S.C. § 2252A (2008) Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography

“Since it is not necessary for Viacom or MTV to distribute the material in order to be in violation of the law, we call upon your committees to immediately investigate Viacom and MTV for the production of this material. Furthermore, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to compel the Attorney General to mount an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the production of ‘Skins’ has violated federal law meant to protect minors from exploitation.

“On behalf of our 1.3 million members, I eagerly await your reply.”


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Megan Franko at (703) 859-5054 or Liz Krieger at (703) 683-5004 ext. 120.

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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