Melissa Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the impact of entertainment media on children and American culture at large. As the Parents Television and Media Council’s Program Director, she directs the organization’s educational programs, research, and advocacy for a safe media environment for children and families. The PTC is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment.
During her 24-year tenure at the PTC, Ms. Henson has championed the protection of children from harmful media that Hollywood markets to them. From leading the PTC’s Advertiser Accountability Program, she has urged corporate accountability from sponsors of entertainment media. Ms. Henson has mobilized grassroots members of the PTC to urge enforcement of the broadcast indecency law. She has tackled issues of child sexual exploitation in the media, and urged Hollywood to present more positive, empowering images of girls in the media through the PTC’s “4 Every Girl” Campaign.
Ms. Henson produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies documenting graphic sex, violence and profanity on television and in streaming media, including: Over-the-Top or a Race to the Bottom: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Video; The Ratings Sham I & II; Dying to Entertain; Faith in a Box; The Sour Family Hour; The Blue Tube; and TV Bloodbath.
Ms. Henson contributed her expertise to a national discussion on media violence at a 2018 White House roundtable discussion with President Trump, Congressional leaders, and representatives of the entertainment industry. She represented the PTC’s “4 Every Girl” Campaign in a United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women panel discussion to address the sexualization of girls that was hosted by AXIOS-Mision Mujer, a Mexican NGO, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television.
Ms. Henson is a sought-after entertainment expert and has appeared on a variety of TV programs on the Fox News Channel, CNN, CBNC, and MSNBC. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such as Entertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg.
Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.