No Breach for Content of Sketch Comedy Show, but Rating Icon Required

Ottawa, April 16, 2013 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the hidden camera comedy program Les Détestables broadcast on V.  The CBSC concluded that none of the content violated any of the broadcaster codes of standards, but that this type of program is not exempt from classification.

Les Détestables consists of sketches in which elderly actors (or actors disguised as elderly people) say or do inappropriate things in public and the reactions of bystanders are captured by a hidden camera.  A viewer complained about a sketch in which an old lady calls a waitress a [translation] “lazy slut”.  Other sketches included one in which an old lady tells a young man that he probably has a small penis, one showing an old man driving a motorized scooter while carrying an inflatable sex doll, and another in which an old woman tells a young women she will burn in hell because she likely has no hymen.

The CBSC Quebec Regional Panel concluded that the gags did not violate any code provisions because they were innocuous and not abusive or unduly discriminatory against any identifiable groups.  It did, however, conclude that this genre of programming does not fall into one of the exempt categories under the rating system, so V should have displayed a classification icon at the beginning of the broadcast.  Failure to do so resulted in a violation of Article 4 of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Violence Code.

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 760 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