Good news: New MTV show may actually violate child porn statutes

posted at 8:42 pm on January 20, 2011 by Allahpundit

Gosh, I hope it’s not true. If/when I have little ones myself someday, I’d love to be able to plop them down in front of this show for a few hours while I do chores.

Or, I suppose, I could just put a DVD of “Kids” on and loop it.

In recent days, executives at the cable channel became concerned that some scenes from the provocative new show “Skins” may violate federal child pornography statutes…

Child pornography is defined by the United States as any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. In some cases, “a picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive,” according to the Justice Department’s legal guidance. Anyone younger than 18 is considered to be a minor.

The youngest cast member on “Skins” is 15…

It is unclear when MTV first realized that the show may be vulnerable to child pornography charges. On Tuesday, a flurry of meetings took place at the network’s headquarters in New York, according to an executive who attended some of the meetings and spoke only on the condition of anonymity. In one of the meetings, the executives wondered aloud who could possibly face criminal prosecution and jail time if the episodes were broadcast without changes.

The scene they’re most worried about, apparently, is one showing a naked 17-year-old actor from behind as he runs down the street with some sort of Viagra-fueled erection. In fact, according to a lawyer who talked to Fox News, merely editing out scenes like that might not be enough for MTV to avoid criminal liability. You’re guilty of a child porn offense if you merely possess illegal footage — and simply erasing it could amount to destruction of evidence.

In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, the total number of viewers under age 18 for the series premiere, according to Nielsen: 1.2 million. Good work, mom and dad.

News Busters has more on the particulars of the premiere, but here’s the trailer to give you a taste. Exit question: Still not as viscerally offensive as “Jersey Shore,” right?

Update: At the Daily Beast, Jace Lacob says the scene with the naked boy isn’t played for titillation at all (although other, less graphic scenes assuredly are) and raises an even more disturbing possibility — whether MTV is actually leaking the “child porn” angle to the media to drum up press for the show.

In fact, there’s nothing remotely in that sequence that could constitute a breach of the federal child pornography statute. Even the simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, etc. that occur within Skins—which are more troubling than the context of the bare buttocks here—still don’t constitute a violation, as there’s nothing explicit about them nor do they feature nude genitalia or breasts, or any content that could be perceived as crossing the line into what’s legally defined as pornography…

The more cynical among us might wonder whether the story in the New York Times was intended by MTV to generate controversy and bring more viewers to the series in the first place by playing up the more salacious aspects of the show. Which, if true, is extremely troubling, if not vile. It’s one thing to be sensitive to the concern of whether child pornography laws were being violated, but it’s quite another to use fears of child porn in order to further leverage a show.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Boy do I miss Red Dwarf!

Did you see the special they did a few years ago around Christmas?

It was great.

Vera on January 20, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Reason 549 that we do not have cable or satellite tv… And never will! No need – the kiddos could watch I Love Lucy dvd’s all day. (If we’d let ’em!!)

outwestdownsouth on January 20, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Time until John McCain’s humongous gargantuan obese pig face daughter chimes in….5…..4….3….2….

csdeven on January 20, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Her mouth is probably full…I saw her daily delivery of twinkies barreling down the highway earlier today.

HornetSting on January 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM

I adopted 3 girls and I know as early as 1989 I would not allow them to watch the music videos of MTV. I certainly wouldn’t now.

Oleta on January 20, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Or, I suppose, I could just put a DVD of “Kids” on and loop it.

Oh my God, I actually watched that movie once. I’ve never seen a more wretched excuse for cinema.

Caiwyn on January 20, 2011 at 11:29 PM

By the way folks, this is the reason cable providers include parental controls. You can lock your kids out of this crap. I for one have absolutely zero qualms about blocking MTV; it’s not like they have any quality programming I’d be missing.

Caiwyn on January 20, 2011 at 11:31 PM

I’m missing my satellite TV less and less every day.

All that technology, creativity, and talent, and this is what we do with it.

Socratease on January 21, 2011 at 12:34 AM

MTV is part of team Obama so I would expect no real problems for them.

Goodale on January 21, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Strangely enough, the video is unavailable to the region where 61% of the men think it’s ok to rape your woman friend.

Michelle Dubois on January 21, 2011 at 4:51 AM

One can only hope, its about time for Mindless Tele Vision to make a departure.

Viper1 on January 21, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Remember when MTV used to play Music?
Kini on January 20, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Yes, indeed. Political and personal issues aside, I still like the old John Mellencamp videos, like this one. The carnival, with its scenes of typical American life, is irresistible.

Seeing many of those old videos on Youtube, I am struck by the talent that went into making the video portion of those music hits. No more.

Before pornification of the G-rated commons, the folks didn’t have to worry about what we watched (not to mention the dearth of leftist propaganda).

I was a teenage cathode-ray mutant and the days of distant cable stations were a hoot. Creature Features and reruns of hit shows were staples. Subtle adult humor was woven into some shows. Grown-ups laughed knowingly while question marks danced over the skulls of kids.

I predict more people “cut the cord” of overpriced cable crap in favor of antennas, Netflix, and streaming video. Heck, people can program their own TVs with a catalog of old shows and the technology out there.

Feedie on January 21, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Tell me again: Where in the constitution does the federal government get to define pornography? Not that this isn’t offensive, but if they aren’t allowed to do a department of education, they aren’t allowed to regulate this, either.

Kafir on January 21, 2011 at 6:51 AM

Never mind the porn charges. Anybody stupid enough to let their kids watch this vile subject matter, depicting delinquency as though it were normal teen behavior, needs to be arrested for neglect.

philwynk on January 21, 2011 at 8:31 AM

.. and they complain about a little legal boobie-flashing in Girls-Gone-Wild vids ?? Sheeeesh.

“I know porn when I see it”: SKINS isn’t even good porn.

/.

CaveatEmpty on January 21, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Gotta get those teen pregnancy numbers back up so the govt can take care of more people who can’t take care of themselves. Parents everywhere should block this cr#p and run that network out of business.

Kissmygrits on January 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Saw the previews for this show and made sure that the whole family was watching something else when it aired. Disgusting is all I can say about it.

milwife88 on January 21, 2011 at 9:02 AM

Boy do I miss Red Dwarf!

Bubba Redneck on January 20, 2011 at 10:09 PM

A couple of years ago our local PBS affiliate ran the time machine/JFK assassination episode “Tikka to Ride” on the anniversary (11/22). That’s one of my favorite episodes, along with “Stoke Me A Clipper”, with the great Ace Rimmer.

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I havn’t seen it and probably will not get an opportunity. It does seem as if the inmates are running the institution when the likes of ‘leadership’ at MTV and the Daily Beast are deciding what’s alright for the kids to see. If anyone has bothered to look into the enormous problems the Brits are having with their young people, perhaps they should look no further than this and the people they have let take over their country under the guise of ‘government’. Are we headed the same way? Are we already part way there?…on both the government’s ‘progressive yuck’ take over and theproblems with young people. I’m surprised that the Obama’s, who seem to be very supervisory parents, have not taken a stand on this. I hope they do. If nothing else, it might give Michelle another crusade, one that conservatives might actually welcome this time.

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

I’m sooooo glad that we got rid of cable.

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Some years ago I spent a day visiting at a girls shelter run by a prominent religious denomination. The girls there were mainly runaways or from abusing homes.–nothing truly delinquent. One of the things that left me pondering the place was that these girls mostly sat around all that day watching MTV. This was back in the day when it was all music videos and not the suggestive variety that MTV espouses these days.,,but even then I wondered , still wonder, what on earth this was doing to maturing minds. Wouldn’t bother me any if the likes of MTV were banned altogether on the basis of fostering overwhelming boredom and dulling minds.

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Her mouth is probably full…I saw her daily delivery of twinkies barreling down the highway earlier today.

HornetSting on January 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Bwahahahaha!!!

Fatty evolved and grew legs because whales need legs to find Twinkies!

csdeven on January 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The total degradation of culture and humanity. For ratings.

PattyJ on January 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM

The NYC subway is plastered with ads for the show. So scummy looking. The underage ‘actors’ look thoroughly debauched and corrupted like a bunch of sleazy Linday Lohan wannabes. Really disturbing to look at. I can only imagine what’s in that show. YUCK!!

Urban Infidel on January 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

While there are no CHILD PORN law being broken here in my view, this show is still in violation of TEXAS LAW in another statute and an arrest would be appropriate if this was being filmed in Texas.

TEXAS LAW:

Sec. 43.25. SEXUAL PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD.

(b) A person commits an offense if, knowing the character and content thereof, he employs, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance. A parent or legal guardian or custodian of a child younger than 18 years of age commits an offense if he consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance.

(1) “Sexual performance” means any performance or part thereof that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age.

(2) “Sexual conduct” means sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.

(3) “Performance” means any play, motion picture, photograph, dance, or other visual representation that can be exhibited before an audience of one or more persons.

tx2654 on January 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM

I’m sooooo glad that we got rid of cable.

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Don’t get cocky. Have you blocked the MTV website from your kid’s computer – the full episodes are posted there. Then there’s the clips showing sex, drugs, drinking, etc on You Tube and other video sites.

But hey, it’s all good because “we don’t have to watch it,” right?

Right?

Cricket624 on January 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Ward Cleaver on January 21, 2011 at 9:57 AM

All eight seasons plus the new hour-long episode (the “9th” Season – watch the show) are on iTunes. I broke down and did the download . . . .

Those episodes you mentioned are excellent! One of my favorites is the one where they are trapped on a planet that is one big amusement park and they get caught in a battle between good and evil amongst the wax dummies! Gandhi carrying an M-16!!

Bubba Redneck on January 21, 2011 at 1:14 PM

naked 17-year-old actor from behind as he runs down the street with some sort of Viagra-fueled erection.

Where does a 17-year-old get viagra? Thats legal?

Greed on January 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Really? We’re getting up in arms about an MTV show? I’ve watched the BBC version of Skins, and if you think that teenagers trying to have sex, sneaking off to fool around, seeking products to improve performance, etc. are new developments, then it’s been too long since you’ve been a teenager. I thought that Skins was a pretty good show depicting what is not uncommon teenage behavior. I’m sure MTV will ruin it because that’s what we do in America, but just calm down. And for those calling parents who don’t block MTV in a fit of pique bad parents…my parents didn’t put many limits on what I watched as a child. I could watch R-rated movies (even American Pie – THE HORROR!) and shows that had sexual content because they trusted me to know the difference between reality and TV, and even to know that realistic depictions of life are not necessarily an endorsement of such activities. Maybe the problem is that we treat children too much like delicate flowers and they’re forced to figure everything out for themselves.

sobincorporated on January 21, 2011 at 4:18 PM

my parents didn’t put many limits on what I watched as a child AND ESPECIALLY AS A TEENAGER.

Just wanted to make that more accurate.

sobincorporated on January 21, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Does MTV still do music videos ?

J_Crater on January 21, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Comment pages: 1 2