Firing of Former The Muppets Producer for “Inappropriate Language in Workplace” Highlights Hollywood Hypocrisy

Written by PTC | Published November 7, 2018

Kushell In Hollywood, it’s not always certain that the old adage, “What goes around, comes around,” is true -- but it is today. Co-showrunner of CBS’ comedy Fam Bob Kushell was fired for using “inappropriate language in the workplace,” TV Line reported. The sad irony of this isn’t lost on us. Just a few years ago, Kushell was the series producer for ABC’s The Muppets and can be credited for exposing children to risqué adult content – sexual innuendo, sexual references, drugs and alcohol -- on this once kid-friendly franchise. Over one million children ages 2-11 were initially watching ABC’s The Muppets each week, but Parents Television Council research found that these children were exposed to adult-themed content every three minutes. And the iconic main characters, Kermit and Miss Piggy, delivered nearly half of all the sexual innuendos and references on the show. In a September 2015 New York Times interview, Kushell said, “Rightfully or wrongfully, The Muppets became more of a kids’ product over the years. We want to bring them all the way back to what they were intended to be and then some. But never so much that anyone has to explain anything uncomfortable to their kids.” Parents ultimately didn’t take Kushell at his word because they saw evidence first hand that The Muppets was no longer child-friendly. Because of the PTC’s research exposing just how adult the series became, The Muppets was eventually cancelled. “I believe our research on The Muppets exposed a hard truth: When you have a show that inherently attracts kids, but frequently exposes them to adult content, it’s bound to fail,” PTC President Tim Winter said at the time. What Kushell’s firing also illuminates is Hollywood’s continued hypocrisy when it comes to the real-life behavior of its creators and the adult content it puts into TV shows. It’s likely that the “inappropriate language” Kushell said in the workplace still proliferates on broadcast television shows aimed at children and families. TV desperately needs to find its #MeToo moment.

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