Horror Movie Ad Not Too Violent for Pre-9:00 pm Broadcast, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 29, 2018 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a commercial for the movie Annabelle: Creation that aired on TSN in August 2017 during a broadcast of CFL football.  The CBSC concluded that the advertisement did not breach the Canadian Assocation of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code.

Annabelle: Creation was a horror movie released theatrically in August 2017.  A 30-second advertisement for the film contained images of a creepy-looking doll, a young girl’s wheelchair being pushed by an unseen figure, objects flying around a room, and a nun being thrown into a wall by a unseen force.  The tagline for the movie was “Evil finds a new home”.  The ad aired at 7:30 pm in the Mountain time zone.

A viewer complained that the ad was not appropriate for broadcast during family programming and that the theme of a possessed doll was particularly horrific to young girls.  TSN wrote that it regretted that the viewer’s family had been upset by the ad, but indicated that it had been approved for broadcast by the Telecaster Services Division of ThinkTV.

The CBSC’s English-Language Panel examined the complaint under Article 3.3 of the CAB Violence Code which states advertisements containing scenes of violence intended for adult audiences shall not be aired before 9:00 pm.  The Panel agreed that the ad was intense and frightening, but found that it did not contain the level of gore or graphic-ness that would make it intended exclusively for adults.  The fact that the commercial had been pre-approved by Telecaster did not influence the CBSC’s decision because that organization has not been recognized as having regulatory authority over advertising offered on broadcaster services.

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 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, codes, and related information are available on the CBSC’s website at .  For more information, please contact the CBSC Chair, Sylvie Courtemanche, at scourtemanche@cbsc.ca or by telephone at 613-233-4607.