Comedy Movie Did Not Objectify Women, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, February 5, 2014 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning CITY-DT’s broadcast of the comedy movie The Long Weekend on September 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm.  The CBSC found that the broadcast should have been rated 18+ and “sexual content” mentioned in the viewer advisories, but it had no problem with the movie’s 9:00 pm timeslot or the representation of women in the film.

The Long Weekend is a 2005 feature film about two brothers in their 20s who spend the weekend trying to find women with whom to have sex.  One brother is a superficial playboy while the other is more serious and a reluctant participant in his brother’s exploits.  The movie contains numerous scenes involving sexual activity or vulgar references to sexual acts and women’s appearances.

A viewer complained that the movie stereotyped and objectified women.  The CBSC’s Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaint under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Equitable Portrayal Code.  The Panel did not find any breaches of that code because there were characters who provided counterpoint to any potentially negative depictions of women.  The serious brother was respectful towards women and had disdain for his playboy brother’s lifestyle.  The serious brother was portrayed as the “hero” of the movie and found happiness in a committed relationship with a kind, successful, intelligent woman.

The Panel also observed that CITY appropriately scheduled the film at 9:00 pm, but found a violation of the CAB Violence Code for the station’s failure to display a classification icon at the beginning of the second hour of broadcast.  CITY had displayed a 14+ icon at the beginning of the movie.  Both the Panel and the broadcaster acknowledged that the quantity of sexually explicit material pushed it into the 18+ category.  Although CITY mentioned coarse language, nudity, violence and mature themes in its viewer advisories, it failed to mention the sexual content.  The CBSC found a breach of the Viewer Advisory provision of the CAB Code of Ethics for that omission.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 7 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Nearly 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada are members of the Council.

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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