Cartoon Dialogue Not Degrading To Women, According To Broadcast Standards Council (disponible en anglais seulement)

Ottawa, May 25, 1995 – The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) released its decision today concerning an episode of “Beavis and Butt-Head” aired on CITY-TV (Toronto).

In its attached decision, the Council responded to a complaint from an organization concerned about dialogue during the episode. The protagonists, referring to a character in another television program, described that character as a “slut.” The complainant organization argued that in airing the dialogue, CITY-TV had used “the airwaves to promote hatred against an identified group – women.” The station, however, replied that Beavis and Butt-head were cartoon characters, “an exaggerated parody of two teenage misfits whose antics take place in a cartoon world.” After viewing the tape of the program, the Ontario Regional Council members decided that the use of the word “slut” was not, in this context, generically applied to women or abusive toward to them; rather, it was used to refer to a specific character in a specific program. As a result, CITY-TV did not contravene industry codes on ethics and gender portrayal.

The CBSC Ontario Regional Council is composed of three broadcasters and three members of the public. The Chair, representing the public, is Marianne Barrie. The Vice-Chair, a broadcaster, is Al MacKay. Other broadcasters on the Regional Council at the time of the decision were Don Luzzi and Paul Fockler; the remaining public members at the time of the decision were Susan Fish and Robert Stanbury.

Created by the private sector broadcasting industry to handle complaints about radio and television programming, the CBSC administers four industry-developed Codes. These are the Code of Ethics, the Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming, the Sex-Role Portrayal Code, and the Code of (Journalistic) Ethics.

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For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ronald I. Cohen, at (###) ###-####.