Sex Phone Line Infomercial Should Not Have Aired during Afternoon, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, August 15, 2007 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning Sun TV’s (CKXT-TV, Toronto) broadcast of an infomercial for a telephone sex line on October 8, 2006.  The CBSC Ontario Regional Panel concluded that the 3:30 pm broadcast of this infomercial violated Clause 10 (Television Broadcasting) of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics

The infomercial was for a telephone sex line called Canadates.  It featured young women in bikinis and high heels shown either individually or in groups, lying on a bed in provocative poses and making alluring facial expressions.  There were also scenes of the women talking on telephones, having a pillow fight and dancing while wearing revealing dresses.  Occasionally the women addressed the camera, urging male viewers to call, with lines such as “There are sexy girls in your area who want to talk to you right now.  So pick up the phone and call.”  The broadcast included an advisory that indicated the the program was a “paid advertisement” and contained “sexually suggestive content and is intended for adults only.” 

The CBSC received a complaint from a viewer who felt that this infomercial was inappropriate for broadcast at 3:30 pm on a Sunday afternoon.  Sun TV acknowledged that this infomercial had been broadcast in error in that time slot and that they had instituted measures to ensure it did not happen again. 

The Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaint under Clause 10(f) of the CAB Code of Ethics which states that advertisements containing sexually explicit material intended for adult audiences shall not be broadcast before 9:00 pm.  The Panel noted that the infomercial proclaimed itself to be “intended for adults only”.  It observed that the actions of the women in the commercial were “enticing, provocative and sexual” and that the “infomercial was relentlessly sexually provocative for thirty minutes, rather than thirty seconds”.  It considered “that the infomercial’s theme and duration make it clear that it is material intended exclusively for adult audiences,” and violated Clause 10(f) for appearing before 9:00 pm. 

Canada’s private broadcasters have themselves created industry standards in the form of Codes on ethics, gender portrayal and television violence by which they expect the members of their profession will abide.  In 1990, they also created the CBSC, which is the self-regulatory body with the responsibility of administering those professional broadcast Codes, as well as the Code dealing with journalistic practices first created by the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) in 1970.  More than 600 radio stations, satellite radio services, television stations and specialty services from 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