PTC: Skins Possibly Violated Child Porn Laws (Updated) | Adweek PTC: Skins Possibly Violated Child Porn Laws (Updated) | Adweek
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PTC: Skins Possibly Violated Child Porn Laws (Updated)

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TV watch dog group the Parents Television Council has demanded that Congress and the Department of Justice investigate both MTV and Viacom for possible violations of kiddie porn and child exploitation laws. The issue stems from MTV’s production of Skins, the network’s new racy teen drama.

The group wrote letters to the Judiciary Committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the DOJ on Thursday (Jan. 20), demanding that they look into the matter. The PTC said it was making the demand in light of a New York Times story, which reported that the network itself was concerned about violating child pornography laws.

“Many of the actors appearing in the show are below the age of 18. It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [several federal statutes],” PTC said. It cited four such statutes that deal with sexual abuse of children and child pornography.

“We call upon your committees to immediately investigate Viacom and MTV for the production of this material. Furthermore, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to compel the attorney general to mount an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the production of ‘Skins’ has violated federal law meant to protect minors from exploitation,” PTC further stated.

PTC’s action came as at least one sponsor of Skin has pulled its ads. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that advertiser is Taco Bell. "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," a company representative told THR.

Asked for comment on the PTC investigation demands, MTV issued a statement that said in part: “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.”

The program’s debut on Monday drew 3.3 million viewers, per Nielsen, 2.7 million of which were in MTV’s core 12-34 demographic.