Broadcast of Bare Breasts before 9:00 pm Not Necessarily Exclusively Adult Fare, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, November 16, 2005 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast by TVA of an episode of Star Système, a magazine-style entertainment program that examines the world of pop culture and show business, on April 7, 2005 at 7:30 pm.  The first segment of that episode was about rock singer Billy Idol at a record-signing session at an American music store.  During the segment, one of Idol’s female fans asked him to sign her chest.  The singer complied by signing just above the neck of her low-cut top.  Idol next posed for a photograph with another female fan and pretended to lick her breasts.  One of the Star Système hosts then spoke with another female fan who was wearing a black mesh top that readily revealed her large breasts, which, she confirmed to the reporter, were recent implants.  When she approached the singer, Billy Idol lifted her top and kissed one of her bare breasts. 

A complainant, who characterized the happenings in more overt sexual terms than the Quebec Panel considered accurate, felt that such programming was appropriate only after 9:00 pm.  The Quebec Panel disagreed.  It also referred to previous decisions involving bare breasts in Ontario and Quebec: 

The Quebec Panel does not consider the challenged scene at all sexually explicit. […]  While the segment involved in the present decision is hardly a news item in the sense of the Ontario coverage, it has a reportage flavour to it.  It also has an element of good-natured humour.  The bottom line is that the Quebec Panel finds that it is not any more erotic than the [Ontario] example, significantly less erotic than the [feature film] Strip Tease example, and not sexually explicit by any standard a CBSC Panel would bring to bear in such a matter.  There is no reason for such a segment to be restricted to a post-Watershed broadcast.  

On the issue of viewer advisories, the Panel acknowledged that its position on the nature of the sexual content telegraphed its conclusion on the need for viewer advisories. 

It considers the subject matter quite unerotic and innocuous, distinctly not intended exclusively for adult audiences.  When program content is played after 9:00 pm, the adult quotient is what determines the need for advisories.  When before 9:00 pm, the unsuitability for children is the factor resulting in the need for audience warnings.  For the purpose of resolution of the advisory issue here, the Panel considers that the subject matter was not unsuitable for children.  Consequently, no viewer advisory was required pursuant to the terms of Clause 11(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab