Freeform: Sex Ads on Harry Potter

Written by PTC | Published March 15, 2017

Freeform The cable network airs sex-filled promos even during shows aimed at kids. Even back when it was called “ABC Family,” the Disney-owned network now known as “Freeform” was never truly family-friendly. From its drunken, sex-crazed frat-boy program Greek, to the pre-teen sex on Switched at Birth, to the cracked zirconia in the network’s tarnished crown, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC “Family” was pretty much all teenage sex, all the time. And under its new name, Freeform is continuing the trend, making its programming crasser and more explicit than ever. But even ABC Family never sank to one depth which Freeform has: airing sexually explicit ads during programming aimed at children. On a recent weekend, Freeform showed a marathon of the Harry Potter films -- wildly popular with younger viewers, and guaranteed to draw an audience filled with teens and children. Yet during the Harry Potter marathon – comprising eight movies, shown over an entire weekend – every single commercial break began with a promo for Freeform’s “Happy Hour” programming block, consisting of ads for its shows Baby Daddy, Young and Hungry, and The Twins: Happily Ever After. Like those programs themselves, the promos were dominated smutty, salacious and crude content. Here are some samples of what Freeform thinks is appropriate for an audience of Harry Potter fans:
  • One woman tells another, “You cannot handle purely sexual relationships,” as the second woman is shown falling into bed with a man. “It’s not going to get weird,” she claims – followed by a scene of her boyfriend, naked from the waist down, snapping pictures of his genitals.
  • A black woman sneers at an (outrageously caricatured) gay man, “I still can’t believe you’re playin’ on a softball team. Don’t you play with enough soft, white balls at home?”
  • The same woman shrieks to the same man, “I can’t believe I’m bein’ blackmailed by someone who’s not black. And barely a male.”
  • A blonde woman holds cantaloupes up to her chest and asks, “Are these ripe?” An Asian man shrieks, “Boobies!” and falls backwards.
  • A woman holding a glass of liquor states, “We supposed to start drinkin’ at 9.” “P.M.,” retorts her roommate.
  • One twin sits on a toilet, apparently urinating. She speaks to the other twin, who stands at the bathroom sink. “I had a dream last night – that we got our own TV show.”
That sounds more like a nightmare – and would be, if it wasn’t true. (Masochistic viewers can view the promos themselves here and here.) Are nudity, blatant references to breasts and genitals, and homophobic slurs appropriate viewing for an audience of Harry Potter-loving children? Obviously, Freeform thinks so. And no wonder, when children innocently trying to watch a fantasy movie are deliberately deluged by Disney with such sexually-explicit promos. This – along with overtly sexualized programming like The Real O’Neals, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and others on ABC, and the more “adult” direction being taken by Disney Channel – demonstrates that, not merely Freeform, but the entire Disney empire, is in danger of going off the rails, and destroying the confidence viewers once had in the formerly family-friendly media giant.

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