Watchdog Group Denounces FOX Network's Decision to Air Sexually Explicit X-Rated Cartoons
(CNSNews.com) - Beginning Saturday, the FOX network will air a number of animated shows that contain sexually explicit and profanity-laced content never before shown on network television during its "Animation Domination High-Def" (ADHD) programming block.
The X-rated cartoons, some of which feature full frontal nudity and cartoon characters engaging in sexual activity, are modeled after Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" and will also be available on the internet.
FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly stated in an interview with Daily Variety that "I'd like to find the next 'Family Guy' out of this block."
But The Parents Television Council (PTC) strongly denounced the programming. "FOX's ADHD promises to feature intensely graphic, ultra-violent, sexually explicit, and profanity- laden cartoons."
In his statement condemning the shows, PTC President Tim Winter called on parents, grandparents and advertisers to take action and "call their local FOX affiliates and ask that this ADHD programming block be preempted in their community."
"The PTC promises to hold all sponsors of ADHD publicly accountable for the content they are underwriting and allowing to be marketed to children.
"It is extremely disturbing that a broadcast network has produced and distributed such explicit content via the internet without a way to prevent children from watching - one of the first times we've seen a 'mainstream' network do this," Winter said.
In an interview with CNSNews.com, Dan Isett, director of public policy for the PTC, said that the programming contained some "adult-oriented material, certainly raunchy and inappropriate for an awful lot of audiences and frankly beyond the pale. It's not really material that we've really seen produced by a mainstream media company before."
Along with clips from the shows available unfiltered online, two of the shows, 'Axe Cop' and 'High School USA', are slated to premier Saturday evening with others following in the future. Shows that are already produced and distributed online contain full (male and female) frontal nudity, decomposing bodies, and numerous characters engaging in sexual activity, including one character using his genitalia to hit women.
Isett warned that FOX intends to move the programming into an earlier time slot. "They've made [it] clear that they want to move this material into primetime. So, some people might say, 'Oh, well, what's the big deal? It's going to air at 10 o'clock at night, [so] kids shouldn't be in the audience,' but there are two majors problems.
"One is that obviously, you have time-shifted programming (which means) the stuff could be recorded then viewed anytime; and second is that the network has made (it) very clear that they want to move this type of material into primetime where it will have a potential audience of tens of millions of children."
ADHD programs have titles that give little hint of the shows' graphic content, such as 'My Little Cowboys' and 'Scientifically Accurate Ninja Turtles.' These titles, along with the two shows airing Saturday, are what Winter says is part of a slick move by FOX to attract a younger audience than claimed.
"FOX would have us believe that such extremely explicit programming is intended for only adult audiences. Yet they must know the content is inherently attractive to children with animated formats and themes like 'High School USA' and 'Scientifically Accurate Spiderman'."
Isett told CNSNews.com that while the program had a "soft premiere" last week, the material shown was not the most explicit material that can be found on the internet. "Presuming that the material [that will air Saturday] is anything like what we've already seen online, then that's going to be a major concern for parents and families."
"The question," for local FOX affiliates, "is going to be: Where is the market demand for something like 'Anatomically Correct Spiderman'? Where and how does that fit into their public interest obligation as broadcasters to use something that's going to naturally appear to kids that's really a four-minute penis joke? I'm not sure they can justify that."
Isett added that the PTC has already reached out to advertisers via a warning letter informing them of what's in the ADHD programming block and asking them to reconsider whether it would be productive for their company and brand to be associated with such graphic material.
CNSNews.com's requests for comment from the FOX broadcast network were not returned.
Disclosure: The PTC was founded by L. Brent Bozell III, the president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com. Bozell is no longer officially affiliated with the PTC.