The Parents Television Council has launched a campaign to stop NBC affiliates from broadcasting their new series called “The Playboy Club”. The centers around a Playboy Club set in the 1960’s. Already one NBC affilaite in Salt Lake City, KSL-TV, has decided to pull the series. The station cited that the Playboy Club series conflicts with their station’s values. The station also said, “The Playboy brand is known internationally,” Everyone is clear what it stands for. We want to be sure everyone is clear what the KSL brand stands for, which is completely inconsistent with the Playboy brand.” NBC has not yet provided comment to other media outlets to the efforts to take out the show.
Below is a Letter to stations from the Parents Television Council,
About 200,000 Americans are “porn addicts” – meaning they spend 11 hours or more per week looking at pornography. Forty percent of sex addicts lose their spouses, 58% suffer financial losses, one third lose their jobs. Pornography use increases the risk of marital infidelity by more than 300%. Fifty-six percent of divorce cases involved one person having an obsessive interest in pornography. Severe clinical depression is reported twice as frequently among pornography users as among non-users.
I call these statistics to your attention because I assume you must be unaware of how damaging the pornography industry is to our society, to our families, and to individuals. Otherwise, how on earth could you, in good conscience, agree to broadcast in your community a program that glorifies and glamorizes this insidious industry?
I am referring, of course, to NBC’s plans to air “The Playboy Club” this fall and am writing to urge you, on behalf of the Parents Television Council’s 1.3 million members, to preempt the program in your community.
The PTC has received from its members a number of canned responses from NBC affiliates across the country, praising the upcoming series as “a sophisticated series about the transitional times of the early 1960s and the complex lives of a group of working-class women.”
Putting a veneer of sophistication on an industry that exploits women and destroys families is not laudable, it is disgraceful. In what manner does such the airing of such material reconcile with your public interest obligations as a broadcast licensee? Whatever positive spin you may wish to put on the series, it is undeniably a betrayal of the trust you have built over the years with America ’s families – the owners of the broadcast airwaves that you will be using to force this content into the living rooms of every family in your community.
According to Shelley Lubben, founder of the Pink Cross Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping victims of the pornography industry, “What’s shown in The Playboy Club is not real…The series looks like it’s all cute, taking place back in the old days. It seems harmless, but then they show a quick clip of three people going at it in the bathroom. NBC is breaking the law with this show. They’re not meeting FCC standards.”
If you proceed with plans to air this series in your community, be assured that the Parents Television Council will be carefully reviewing every episode and will urge its members to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission about any content that may be in violation of broadcast decency laws.
Please be mindful that it is the affiliate, not the network, that will ultimately bear the financial burden of an FCC fine should any of the content be found to violate broadcast decency laws.
In a recent declaratory ruling, the FCC affirmed affiliates’ ability to pre-empt any network programming that is “unsatisfactory or unsuitable or contrary to the public interest.” The record on this is clear: contracts between networks and their affiliates may not legally prevent preemption of programming that does not meet LOCAL COMMUNITY standards. As a station manager you not only have a right, but an obligation to preempt programs like The Playboy Club that fail to meet that standard.
Utah NBC affiliate KSL has already announced that it would not be showing The Playboy Club, stating that the station’s values are “completely inconsistent with the Playboy brand.”
Is the Playboy brand consistent with your station’s values? Broadcast stations are required by law to take into account the public interest. How does this program serve the public interest? Would members of your community agree?
We are also disturbed by the number of promos for The Playboy Club airing during ostensibly family-friendly programs like America’s Got Talent which air early in the evening. This is inexcusable. There can be no possible justification for exposing children to this kind of content, even inside a network promotion. We insist that you immediately stop airing promos or advertisement for The Playboy Club before 10:00 p.m.