Is child molestation a joke for television?

by Michael Foust, Guest Reviewer |

LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) – A prominent TV watchdog group is urging the FCC and Congress to reform the TV ratings system in light of an ABC comedy that was rated TV-PG joking about pedophilia and child molestation.

The show, "The Real O'Neals," has drawn controversy from the start for its language and sexual dialogue, but it went one step further in a May 3 episode in which a Catholic school vice principal joked about molesting male students, the Parents Television Council reported.

In the episode, the vice principal said to lead character and minor Kenny, who is gay, "If you're not comfortable sleeping with all those boys because of your ... blossoming sexuality, you can sleep in here. Not with me, of course. I will be sleeping with all the other boys."

It wasn't the only sexually suggestive moment in the episode. It also included such lines as Kenny saying, "They're gonna saran-wrap your b--- to your face," and his brother Jimmy urging Kenny to "steal people's phones and take pictures of our junk."

The episode aired as early as 7:30 p.m. in some parts of the country.

A March study by the Parents Television Council found that "The Real O'Neals" contained adult content every 43 seconds

"ABC's PG rating of the adult content on 'The Real O'Neals' is a prime example why we have been urging reform of the TV Content Ratings System," said PTC President Tim Winter. "This kind of adult content should not be given such a low rating, especially when you compare this content to PG-rated Disney films Cinderellaand The Good Dinosaur. It's a slap in the face to all parents that TV discussions about pedophilia, genitalia, and explicit language merit the same rating as child-friendly films."