More Viewer Advisories Needed During Documentary on Chippendales, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, November 12, 2002 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the documentary film Chippendales & the Ladies broadcast on the Specialty Service Bravo! The CBSC National Specialty Services Panel determined that the broadcast required viewer advisories throughout the program, but found no Code violations with respect to either the film’s time slot or the representation of male strippers.

The subject of the film is the male adult entertainment troupe known as the Chippendales. Although the documentary contained some scenes of provocative dancing and bare buttocks, there was no frontal nudity.  The majority of the film, however, featured interviews with the male strippers and women who attended their shows. The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who felt that the program was merely “soft-core porn” disguised as a documentary. He was concerned that Bravo! had broadcast the film at 6:00 pm MST (8:00 pm EST) and that its content was degrading to both the strippers and the audience.

In its decision, the Panel explained that “a documentary does not cease to be a documentary because its subject matter is racy rather than dry.”  In this case, however, the Panel concluded that the content was not even so “racy” as to relegate its broadcast to the post-Watershed (9:00 pm) time period.  The Panel also considered the broadcast under the exploitation clause of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code and explained that the purpose of that provision

is to ensure that there will be no inequality in the form of exploitation or degradation of either gender on the airwaves.  This does not mean that the simple depiction of one sex in the absence of the other is the equivalent of the inequality that would be of concern.  […]

In the matter at hand, there is no demeaning, degrading, mocking perspective regarding the male strippers.  […]  [The film] explores a phenomenon and “what’s in it” for both the dancers and the watchers.  It exploits neither side of the stage lights to the expense or detriment of the other.

Its use is a courtesy benefiting both the viewer and the broadcaster, whose interest is best served by ensuring that people who do not wish to see a genre of programming have the information to avoid it.

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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