By mobilizing Americans to get Sex Box cancelled by pressuring the show’s sponsors, the Parents Television Council (PTC) gave parents a template for cleaning up the airwaves to prevent their children from being bombarded by shows that glorify gratuitous sex and violence.
Tim Winter, the president of the Parents Television Council (PTC), said on Breitbart News Sunday that he was “very happy with the news in recent days about the cancellation of the show. It was a wretched show to begin with.”
“We can sit back and do nothing or we can raise our voice and do something,” Winter told host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon. “When the show starts airing with no commercials, it just couldn’t last too long.”
On the show, couples with relationship problems had sex in an opaque and soundproof box and then received advice immediately after from a panel of counselors after they came out of the “sex box.” Even worse, the show was rated appropriate for children to watch.
That was more than enough to compel the PTC to identify and pressure the show’s sponsors and motivate Americans to take action. Since shows “have to go out of business or change their context” if advertisers pull away, “we went after all of the sponsors one at a time,” Winter said. He said the PTC sent an email alert to all of its members and informed them of the show’s sponsors after each episode. Americans then called, faxed, and emailed the advertisers and “one at a time they pulled away,” Winter said. After just five episodes, Sex Box was off the air.
“We wanted to make sure that advertisers knew… what they were paying for,” he said. “We had kind of a scorched-earth campaign talking to every corporate sponsor of the We television network and, one at a time, every single sponsor came away from the show… and after five weeks they were airing the show with no national corporate sponsors.”
Arm & Hammer and Sketchers were some of the prominent companies that pulled their advertisements after hearing from outraged Americans.
Next on the PTC’s list is MTV/VH1’s Walk of Shame, a show where people who have had one-night stands are interviewed in a cab. The show, which airs in primetime, is aimed at teenagers, and Winter said his organization has started to catalog the show’s sponsors and will soon take action.
Since in order to get channels like Fox News, cable subscribers also have to get the WE network (because those channels are in the same bundle), parents often cannot shield their children from watching many “wretched” shows with gratuitous violence (Winter cited Fox’s The Following) and sex, especially since all of these shows are rated appropriate for 14-year-olds to watch. Winter said parents are “being sold a bill of goods” with these television ratings.
He noted that the WE network, in defeat, issued a press release proclaiming that Sex Box broke new ground and quipped that “in order to build a new outhouse, you have to break new ground too.”