Sexually Suggestive Content Acceptable Before 9:00 pm But Requires Viewer Advisories, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, February 20, 2014 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians broadcast on the specialty service E! on October 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm.  The episode contained references to anal sex.  The CBSC concluded that the comments were more innuendo than explicit so E! did not breach the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics scheduling provision for airing the episode during the day.  E! did violate the Code for failing to provide viewer advisories.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a reality show that follows the lives of members of the Kardashian and Jenner families, mainly mother Kris and her three adult daughters, Kourtney, Khloé and Kim.  In an episode entitled “We’re Having a Baby”, one of the plotlines involved Kourtney’s boyfriend Scott trying to convince her to have anal sex with him.  There were numerous discussions about the topic, mostly referring to the act as “back-dooring it”.  In one scene, Kourtney used a donut and carrot, while Scott used a cucumber and candy gummy ring, to demonstrate the act.  In another, Kourtney chased Scott around the house while wearing a purple strap-on dildo, but the sex toy itself was blurred.

A viewer complained that this type of sexual content was inappropriate for broadcast during the day.  The station responded that the subject of anal sex was addressed through euphemisms, but it did acknowledge that it should have broadcast viewer advisories.

The CBSC’s National Specialty Services Panel examined the complaint under the scheduling and viewer advisories provisions of the CAB Code of Ethics.  The Panel concluded that the sexual references were not explicit so E! could broadcast the show during the day.  The references were, however, sufficiently sexually suggestive that the broadcast required viewer advisories.

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