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Press Release

June 3, 2011


Watchdog Groups: BET Justification for Rihanna’s “Man Down” Is Inadequate  


LOS ANGELES (June 3, 2011) – The Parents Television Council®, Industry Ears and the Enough Is Enough Campaign again joined forces to call out BET for an “inadequate” justification for airing Rihanna’s “Man Down” music video. The groups continued to urge BET to stop airing the premeditated murder video and publicly disclose its broadcast standards. They also called on MTV to keep the video out of its programming lineup.

“BET’s justification for airing Rihanna’s video is beyond inadequate. If BET is serious that the video ‘complied’ with its standards, we would like to know just what those ‘standards’ are. In the interest of full disclosure, we call on BET to issue a public explanation of its programming guidelines and urge MTV to keep the video off its network. This video offers a gunshot to the back of the head as a way out of abuse and assault. Victims deserve better,” said Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council.

“It’s pretty obvious what is going on here. BET said no to Rihanna’s ‘S&M’ and ‘Russian Roulette,’ but cut a deal to support ‘Man Down’ for a performance at this year’s ‘BET Awards’ show. While we all agree rape is a terrible crime, ‘Man Down’ offers no positive solution for rape victims except vigilante justice,” said Paul Porter, co-founder of Industry Ears and a former BET program director. 

“In a letter to me, Debra Lee, the CEO of Black Entertainment Television, stated, ‘BET does not air music videos that contain graphic or excessive sexual activity or violence.’ Then in an interview this April, Ms. Lee boasts the network is ‘more strict in what we allow on the air’ and is ‘looking at it from our young audience’s perspective,” said Rev. Delman Coates, Ph.D., organizer of the Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment and Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md.

“The airing of this and other videos on a program marketed to youth and teens suggests that parents, advertisers, and the general public can have no confidence in the network’s ability to enforce its supposed ‘comprehensive set of standards and guidelines.’  The network says one thing to the public, but does another thing in practice,” Coates concluded.


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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