PTC Calls on T-Mobile to Stop Sponsoring Graphic Content Targeted to Kids on Awkwafina is Nora from Queens

Written by PTC | Published February 28, 2020

Advertiser Accountability

LOS ANGELES (February 28, 2020) – The Parents Television Council is calling on T-Mobile to cease sponsoring Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, a new Comedy Central show that also airs on Nickelodeon and MTV2, and is rated as appropriate for 14-year-old children. The PTC has also reached out to other advertisers that have sponsored original and re-aired episodes on each Viacom network.

In just five episodes of its first season, Awkwafina has featured: bleeped and unbleeped “f-words”; unbleeped uses of the “s-word”; positive portrayals of illegal drug use; depictions of prescription drug abuse; pixelated nudity; depictions of graphic “sex toys”; explicit references to masturbation and “anal bleaching.” Original episodes aired on Comedy Central have been rated TV-14, but the content suggests that a TV-MA rating would be more appropriate.

In a letter to T-Mobile, whose ads have frequently appeared during the program, PTC Program Director Melissa Henson urged the company to put this show on its “Do Not Buy” list. Excerpts from the letter are as follows:

“In the opening seconds of episode 2, Awkwafina is depicted smoking pot from a bong, pulling a sex toy (a large pink phallus-shaped vibrator) out from under her bed, and texting her friend ‘I will be masturbating for the next 7 to 12 hours.’

“In just three episodes, Awkwafina featured pixilated nudity, prescription drug abuse (including one scene where Nora crushes prescription Adderall, cuts it into lines and snorts it through a straw), thirteen ‘bleeped’ uses of ‘f*ck’ and 8 unbleeped uses of ‘sh*t.’

“I’m sure you’ll agree that this content is a poor fit for your brand and could erode the trust you have earned with consumers based on your many years of responsible marketing.

“We recognize that on cable, companies like yours will often buy run of schedule ads – and so it is likely you were not aware of this content. Especially as it is so out of character for an otherwise child-friendly network like Nickelodeon. If that is the case, I’d like to encourage you to put Awkwafina on your ‘Do-Not-Buy’ list.

“Finally, I would like to offer you our research and whatever resources we have to help you find more suitable environments for your ad placements going forward. I hope this will be the start of a productive, constructive dialogue.”

Read the PTC’s review of Awkwafina is Nora from Queens.

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