MTV VMAs Chastised by Parents TV Council; Warns Against Miley Cyrus Repeat

The Parents Television Council wants the cable channel to assure there won’t be “mis-rated sexual content”

The Parents Television Council has issued a request that MTV give its Video Music Awards show an appropriate rating for the amount of sexual content it will contain.

In a letter addressed to MTV and Viacom’s senior vice president of standards & practices on Monday, the conservative media watchdog group’s president Tim Winter asked that MTV give the awards show an appropriate rating and make sure that “mis-rated sexual content” doesn’t end up on the show.

The PTC points to last year’s twerk-filled performance by Miley Cyrus with Robin Thicke, which it believed deserved a TV-MA rating rather than the show’s TV-14 rating.

Also read: CW’s Uncensored ‘Reign’ Sex Scenes Are ‘Appalling,’ Says PTC

“While last year’s Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance garnered most of the headlines after the fact, the sexually charged and otherwise inappropriate content of the show was not limited to them. Even more troubling was the fact that MTV still applied a TV-14 rating to the program, despite other adult-oriented performances and advertising messages.”

The organization asked MTV for three things:

1. “Commit publicly that the program will not contain the type of explicit sexual content present in last year’s show

2. “Commit publicly that the program will not violate MTV/Viacom’s own standards and practices as was alleged last year

3. “Commit publicly to rate the program accurately and in accordance with the TV Parental Guidelines which stipulate that crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity, or graphic violence is to be rated as appropriate only for adults – TV-MA.”

Also read: Fox’s ‘Dads’ Semen Joke Draws Explosive Outpouring From PTC

Why are ratings a point of contention here? They were developed to help parents choose what is appropriate TV viewing for children. Also, some TV providers allow parents to block shows given a certain rating automatically. Clearly, if MTV decided to give its VMA show a TV-MA rating, it could lower the show’s ratings.

An MTV representative declined to comment.

Read the PTC’s full letter below:

Parents and families around the country have had ample reason to be concerned about the material distributed and promoted by MTV over the years, particularly during MTV’s original programming.

While last year’s Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance garnered most of the headlines after the fact, the sexually charged and otherwise inappropriate content of the show was not limited to them. Even more troubling was the fact that MTV still applied a TV-14 rating to the program, despite other adult-oriented performances and advertising messages. Such a rating was simply unacceptable to the families who depend on the television ratings system to be applied accurately and to the millions of families whose children are marketed to by MTV. The 2013 VMAs were a public relations kerfuffle for your network that I feel certain you will not wish to repeat.

Consequently, on behalf of our membership and millions of other concerned parents, I call on MTV to take the following proactive steps, prior to the upcoming Video Music Awards telecast:

Commit publicly that the program will not contain the type of explicit sexual content present in last year’s show

Commit publicly that the program will not violate MTV/Viacom’s own standards and practices as was alleged last year

Commit publicly to rate the program accurately and in accordance with the TV Parental Guidelines which stipulate that crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity, or graphic violence is to be rated as appropriate only for adults – TV-MA.

I eagerly await your prompt reply, and sincerely hope MTV will help parents and families to better navigate their children’s media environment.

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