Sex Shop Commercial Is Not Sexually Explicit, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, September 25, 2003 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a commercial for a Montreal sex shop called Boutique Sexe Cité aired on TVA during the broadcast of family programming in the month of December 2002. The Quebec Regional Panel concluded that the commercial was not in breach of clause 10(f) of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics, which requires that content intended for adult audiences be telecast after the Watershed hours.

The film broadcasts during which the commercial at issue aired carried a classification rating of “General”. The commercial itself showed a tired man arriving home from work while his female significant other was waiting for him by the Christmas tree dressed in white lace lingerie with garters. The man's positive reaction was suggestively photographed via a camera angled between the woman's legs. The camera then zoomed to a close-up of the woman's face and shoulders as she said “Joyeux Noël, mon amour.” The commercial concluded with a voice-over narration stating “[translation] La Boutique Sexe Cité, your partner in love for a very Merry Christmas.”

The Quebec regional Panel examined the complaints under the scheduling provision for television broadcasting that states “advertisements which contain sexually explicit material or coarse or offensive language […] shall not be telecast before 9 pm.” The Panel concluded:

 

The Quebec Panel does not consider the Boutique Sexe Cité commercial appropriate for broadcast to families, on the one hand, but it does not consider it so adult-oriented that it could be said to be viewable by an exclusively adult audience. On the substantive level, the Panel simply does not find that the commercial was sexually explicit. At worst it was sexually suggestive but even such an acknowledgment cannot result in a finding of breach under Clause 10(f) of the CAB Code of Ethics. […]

Moreover, the Panel wishes to underscore the fact that it understands the commercial to be depicting a domestic situation or relationship and not a clandestine erotic tryst. The Panel does not conclude that the latter would necessarily present a Code-related problem but rather that the commercial, as broadcast, portrayed an even less problematic representation than might have been the case.

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 530 radio and 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