Parent Group Calls for Cancelation of Max’s ‘The Idol,’ Citing Show’s ‘Torture Porn’ Theme

The Parents Television and Media Council is calling on Warner Bros. Discovery not to renew Max (HBO) drama “The Idol” for a second season, citing the program’s extreme content — nudity, sexual abuse, torture —that the advocacy group says could be harmful to young viewers.

The PTC has called on Max to stop marketing the five-episode series, which stars Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp as an aspiring pop star who enters into a sordid relationship with a self-help guru (played by rapper The Weeknd), to youth through social media, and to shore up wide gaps in its parental “controls” that enable youth to watch the show and other explicit TV-MA content like “Euphoria”.

“‘The Idol’ has been rightfully panned by TV critics because each episode delves deeper into ‘torture porn’ and sexual abuse,” Melissa Henson, VP of the PTC, said in a statement.

Henson said the show has sunk into “depravity,” claiming that its niche audience has “clearly” turned against it. She said WBD should “run far” from the Sam Levinson-produced program that she claims glamorizes and egregiously markets extreme sexual abuse to teens.

Indeed, videos tagged with #theidol on the TikTok social media platform have generated more than 1.2 billion views. There are more than 120 variations on that hashtag on social media.

The PTC cited reviews from TV critics who have criticized “The Idol,” citing it as “pornographic,” a “sordid male fantasy,” a “darker, crazier, and more risqué version” of Max/HBO’s “Euphoria.”

“Why would HBO only air five of the expected six episodes?,” Henson said, underscoring her belief that the show’s content has gone off the rails.

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Parent Group Calls on Congress to Pass ‘Family Movie Act Clarification Act’ as Christmas Gift

The Parents Television Group, the longstanding censorship advocacy group founded by Christian conservatives, Dec. 5 called upon House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass the “Family Movie Act Clarification Act of 2018” (H.R. 6816) before lawmakers break for the winter holidays Dec. 14.

The bill seeks to amend the “Family Entertainment and Copyright Act,” which included the “Family Home Movie Act of 2005,” enabling third-party software to edit playback of Hollywood movie DVDs containing up to 14 different categories of objectionable content.

The amended resolution seeks to include technology capable of editing streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

“With the quickly approaching end of … this session of Congress, we call on our elected leaders in Washington immediately to pass the Family Movie Act Clarification Act and present it to the President [Trump] for his signature, thereby providing an important and urgently-needed Christmas present for parents and for families,” Tim Winter, president of PTC, said in a statement.

In 2016, studios won a court decision against VidAngel, a company selling software enabling users to filter out language, nudity, violence, and other mature content from movies and TV series. The studios said the software was a form of copyright infringement.

The PTC claims 30 pro-family groups support the new bill, including Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, Dr. James Dobson of Family Talk, Bishop Harry Jackson of ICC Churches, and Ted Baehr of Movieguide.

Winter questions studios’ motives for fighting home entertainment editing software, claiming doing so deprives the industry much-needed sales of packaged media and digital content.

“The legislation is a no-brainer,” said Winter. “It simply brings the Family Movie Act – which allows families to filter explicit content from DVDs – onto contemporary streaming media platforms used by most Americans today. The pending legislation is consistent with, and perfectly honors, the congressional intent expressed when the original measure became law in 2005.”



Netflix Greenlights ’13 Reasons Why’ Third Season Despite Parents Group Criticism

Netflix has approved a third season of its controversial teen original drama, “13 Reasons Why,” despite pushback from a parents group calling on Netflix to drop the show.

The series is about fictional teenage girl Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) explaining posthumously why she committed suicide.

The SVOD behemoth announced the third season June 6, the same day of its annual shareholder meeting. CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said “13 Reasons Why” has been “enormously popular and successful” among its subscribers, without providing exact numbers.

Nielsen claimed the recent launch of the show’s second season generated 2.6 million viewers. Netflix does not officially reveal viewership data of its original programming.

Hastings admitted the show is controversial, which is what he has long advocated Netflix must do to separate itself in the cluttered media landscape.

“But nobody has to watch it,” Hastings told shareholders.

Which is exactly what the Parents Television Council, a Los Angeles-based conservative Christian advocacy group founded in 1995, hopes to accomplish through an online petition launched last month.

Claiming to want to protect “young minds from dangerous streaming content,” the group – in the petition – is asking Netflix to immediately cease streaming season two of “13 Reasons Why,” in addition to implementing a pricing structure that enables Netflix subs to opt-out of streaming “sexually explicit, graphically violent, and harshly profane programming.”

“Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch ‘13 Reasons Why.’ The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected,” Tim Winter, president of PTC, said in a statement. “We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency.”

The PTC itself has long courted its own controversy, with critics contending the group is doing nothing more than promoting censorship. Indeed, the FCC reportedly disclosed in 2004 that the majority of its content complaints originated from the PTC.