MAX Markets “The Idol” to Youth and Lax Parental “Controls” Give Kids Access to Watch

Written by PTC | Published June 15, 2023

LOS ANGELES (June 15, 2023) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) is calling on MAX to stop marketing The Idol to youth through social media, and to shore up wide gaps in its parental “controls” that enable youth to watch The Idol and other explicit TV-MA content like Euphoria. TV critics have slammed The Idol, citing it as “pornographic,” a “sordid male fantasy,” a “darker, crazier, and more risqué version” of HBO’s Euphoria.

Videos tagged with #theidol on TikTok – one of the most popular social media sites with tweens and teens – have racked-up more than 1.2 BILLION views. There are more than 120 variations on that hashtag, adding up to millions more views.

“As we expected, HBO is deliberately trying to market the series to young audiences through social media, and yet it has ensured youth have easy access to the series on the MAX streaming platform. The MAX app gives children complete access to all of HBO’s adult and mature-rated content, including The Idol. This is unacceptable,” said Melissa Henson, vice president of the Parents Television and Media Council.

By default, no password, no pin-code, no age verification is required to watch content like this scene in The Idol, described by Variety:

“Meanwhile, Jocelyn and Tedros are in the bedroom, where he is directing her to perform sexual acts on herself while he’s sitting in a chair, narrating his fantasy experience (“I want to grab you by the *ss while I suffocate you with my c*ck. I want you to choke on it.”).

The scene is filled with explicit nudity, sexual dialogue and some X-rated foley work when Jocelyn audibly gags while performing o*** s** on Tedros. Meanwhile, there’s also an element of voyeurism when one of the cult followers, the mostly-nude pianist Chloe (Suzanna Son), gets stuck in the closet and watches Jocelyn and Tedros’ activities.”

According to Variety, “HBO series often owe nearly two-thirds of their viewership to streaming” -- and those viewers skew younger than the live-TV audience. Nielsen Media Research notes, “those streaming The Idol on MAX are an average of 21 years younger than those watching on HBO, which represents a wider spread than that of most HBO dramas.”

“If Warner Bros. Discovery is going to sell MAX as a streaming service for the whole family, the very least they should do is to ensure no children are able to access the p*rnographic content on that platform and we call on the company to fix these problems immediately,” said Henson.

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