Futurama's porn episode not cool for kids

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 12:56 25/11/2013

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A complaint about a cartoon show which contained references to pornography, prostitution and polygamy has been upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

The episode of Futurama, which screened at 6.30pm on May 31 on FOUR and was classified G, was found to contain sexual references and innuendo.

At the start of the programme, characters entered the internet and came across sites advertising pornography and adult chat rooms. Signs that read "Wireless Cyber Sex", "Four Prostitutes Bridge", "Asexual Reproduction" and "Filthy Chat Room" were shown.

In the same scene, a woman dressed as a nurse told a male character: "I'm a naughty nurse and I really need someone to talk to ... $9.95 a minute".

Later in the episode, dialogue between the characters was found to contain more sexual innuendo, as follows:

Female: "Hey where'd you get this couch and that TV set and all this stuff?"

Male: "They were giving it away on the street corner, just like you Leela."

The female character also made reference to letting "the little guy out", to which the male responded: "Jeez Leela, twice in one day, I'm not superman."

In a wedding scene near the end of the episode, the groom was shown with five brides, and said: "We all have needs. Mine was to make it with five weirdos and have them scrub my five castles. I gave you all what you wanted and of course I made a few bucks letting Pig watch through the two-way mirror."

In a formal complaint to broadcaster TVWorks Ltd, Tracey Stroud said the sexual content was unsuitable for children, the episode was incorrectly classified G and should not have screened during children's viewing times.

TVWorks said while the episode contained content "designed for the amusement of adult viewers", it did not contain "explicit or otherwise inappropriate sexual material".

It contended the content was light-hearted and sarcastic, as opposed to titillating or salacious, the BSA said.

In his decision, authority chairman Peter Radich accepted some of the content may not have been picked up by younger children, but other sexual material "was not sufficiently inexplicit and would have raised questions for older children, particularly the early references to sex, prostitutes, and chat rooms".

The episode should have been rated PGR and screened in a later timeslot, Radich upheld.

Stroud suggested TVWorks donate money to an organisation assisting child victims of sexual abuse, and requested a broadcast apology.

But the BSA was satisfied the publication of the decision was sufficient, and would provide guidance to broadcasters about their expectations surrounding sexual content during children's viewing times.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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