F-Word, Dildos OK On Daytime TV Sometimes, Standards Council Says

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Warning: Graphic language

A French-language TV show that featured a crowd of people waving dildos and using the word “fuck” in English didn’t violate the industry’s code of ethics on sexual content and profanity, its regulator has ruled.

Among the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s reasons for the decision: Society’s standards are changing.

ctrl
MusiquePlus' "CTRL" was the subject of a viewer complaint over the use of explicit language and sexual content. Comedians Gabriel Joncas, Camille Piché-Jetté and Rosalie Vaillancourt host the program that features clips from YouTube and social media. (Photo via Facebook)

“Although the CBSC has found in some previous decisions that the English word ‘fuck’ constitutes language ‘for adults’ even in a French-language program, the Panel Adjudicators note that the English word ‘fuck’ does not have the same vulgar connotation when used in French,” the CBSC said in a ruling issued Oct. 19.

“The Panel emphasizes, in this regard, that language is evolutionary and reflects current society.”

The CBSC is a “self-regulating organization” funded by the broadcasting industry itself, and was set up by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.

It received a complaint from a viewer in January about an episode of “CTRL,” a show on MusiquePlus, MuchMusic’s French sister station.

The show, which airs for an hour at noon, features three young adult hosts commenting on clips from YouTube and social media.

In a November, 2015, episode, the f-word appeared twice in English, once as “ah, for fuck’s sakes,” and once as “fucking creepy.”

The episode also featured a 45-second clip of a rally where

...everyone was wielding dildos. Members of the crowd were waving or throwing dildos in the air, hitting others with them and one woman was sucking on one. The majority of the footage was shown in slow motion. It included an interview with a young man who said, in English, “We saw some titties. We smacked some titties with some dildos” translated in subtitles on screen as “Nous avons vu des seins. Nous avons claqué des seins avec des dildos.”



The episode also contained a clip of macaroni and cheese being stirred in a pot which made a squishy noise. A young man then said, “That’s what good pussy sounds like” with the French subtitle “C’est le son que font les bonnes chattes”, to which the older woman stirring the food replied “Ya hmar!”, which means “You’re an ass!” in Arabic.

The viewer complaint argued this material was “totally inappropriate for children.”

But the CBSC ruled that neither the dildoes nor the macaroni and cheese comment constituted “sexually explicit” content.

“‘Explicit sexual content’ refers to scenes showing actual sexual acts or conversations that describe such acts in detail,” the CBSC explained.

"Language is evolutionary and reflects current society.”
— Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

But the standards council didn’t let MusiquePlus off the hook entirely. It found that the network violated a code of ethics rule that requires a written advisory to appear before shows “when programming includes mature subject matter.” MusiquePlus didn’t run an advisory before that episode.

The CBSC also said MusiquePlus violated the rules for displaying the classification icon, in this case 13+. It said the network put the classification on screen for half as much time as the required 15 seconds.

MusiquePlus was required to announce the CBSC’s decision during prime time within three days of the ruling, and to repeat it once more within seven days during the time slot that the episode of “CTRL" aired.

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