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NEW YORK, January 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Six major advertizers have pulled their ads from the MTV show “Skins,” after MTV executives became concerned last week that the show, a sexually explicit and drug-laden depiction of the lives of its teenage characters, may violate federal child pornography statutes.

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“Skins,” an imported and remade show from Britain, made its début on MTV last Tuesday.  Wednesday found executives ordering the producers to make changes to tone down some of the most explicit content out of fears that the show might break child porn laws, reported the New York Times.

While MTV has been known to “push the envelope” for years, the Times reported they have “pushed too far this time.”  Known for sexually explicit reality shows that cast mostly adults, in “Skins” MTV is dealing with a cast of 15-19-year-olds who have never acted before. 

Child pornography is defined in the United States as any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  A minor is anyone under the age of 18.

According to the Times, executives are particularly concerned about the third episode of the series, which is to be broadcast Jan. 31.  In the episode, a 17-year-old male actor is shown running naked down the street after being locked out by his parents, after which his genitalia become the focus of ongoing jokes.

In a press release last week, the Parents Television Council (PTC), a TV supervisory group aimed at informing parents, called on the chairman of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice to investigate whether “Skins” breaks child pornography and exploitation laws.

The premiere episode, said PTC, “included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content. Moreover, future episodes promise much more of the same.”

PTC pointed out that many of the actors on the show are below the age of 18. “It is clear that Viacom [MTV unit channel] has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [federal statutes].”

Another media watchdog organization, Morality in Media, has also called for MTV and Viacom to halt distribution of “Skins” because the show may violate U.S. child pornography and obscenity laws.

MTV spokeswoman, Jeannie Kedas, initially responded to the controversy, saying, “Skins’ is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way.”

“We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

MTV has also said that the show is “specifically designed to be viewed by adults.” Episodes of “Skins” are rated TV-MA, indicating the content may be unsuitable for viewers under 17.

However, according to the Nielsen Company, the first episode drew 3.3 million viewers, 1.2 million of them younger than 18. 

The PTC has labelled “Skins” the “most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children.”

Since the airing of the first episode last week, Schick, Taco Bell, GM, Wrigley, Subway and H&R Block have all objected to the content of the show or otherwise said it violates company policies, and pulled their ads.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with our advertising partners about the best fit for them across our diverse line-up of shows,” said MTV this week. “We know that not every show works for every advertiser. That said, we are confident that ‘Skins’ will continue to connect with the audience it was created for and that advertisers will take advantage of the opportunity to reach them.”

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