Taco Bell Yanks “Skins” Ads Amid Child Porn Probe
Move over, Jersey Shore: You’re no longer the only popular series stirring up controversy for MTV.
In the wake of a mounting scandal over a possible child pornography investigation of MTV as a result of the racy new show Skins, Taco Bell has opted to pull all of its advertising from the program. Skins, the American version of a popular British show that debuted Stateside this week, features teenage characters played by teenage actors simulating sex, drinking, and using drugs, much to the chagrin of the Parents Television Council (PTC), which also counts Gossip Girl and Glee among its foes.
On Thursday, the media watchdog group called on lawmakers and law enforcement officials to open an investigation regarding possible child pornography on the cable network’s newest series. The PTC believes the teen drama about, and starring, teens as young as 15 could violate US laws against the sexual exploitation of minors and statutes against child pornography. Skins features several teenage actors engaging in “foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a letter sent to the chairmen of the US Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice.
In a statement released Thursday, MTV defended the show, which they claim addresses “real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way.”
The fast food chain disagrees.
“We advertise on a variety of MTV programs that reach our core demographic of 18- to 34-year-olds, which included the premiere episode of ‘Skins,’” Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch told The Hollywood Reporter.“Upon further review, we’ve decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming.”
The move is reminiscent of one pulled by Dominos in Nov. 2009. The pizza makers pulled ads from MTV’s Thursday night lineup after several public interest groups squawked about racy behavior on Jersey Shore.
Monday night’s Skins series premiere attracted 3.3 million US viewers, the vast majority between the ages of 12 and 34, according to preliminary figures.