Ottawa, October 25, 2017 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the last scene of the final episode of the comedy program Les beaux malaises broadcast on TVA in January 2017. The CBSC concluded that a scene of a young girl pole-dancing while being ogled by an adult male violated the prohibition against sexualization of children in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Equitable Portrayal Code. The CBSC also found problems with the viewer advisories and the lack of a classification icon.
Les beaux malaises was a comedy program that featured comedian Martin Matte playing a fictional version of himself. The very last scene of the entire series was unusual, as characters who had appeared in various episodes throughout the program’s three-year run joined the regular characters as they danced to a Rolling Stones song. There were also visual references to prior events that only loyal viewers would have understood. There was a girl of about nine or ten years old, in a bathing suit dancing around a pole. A fat man emerged from giant inflatable buttocks and then watched the girl appreciatively while eating potato chips.
A viewer complained about this scene, which the CBSC’s French-Language Panel examined under the Exploitation clause of the CAB Equitable Portrayal Code. The Panel recognized that the program was a humorous take on uncomfortable situations and that the final scene was a culmination of that theme, but found a code breach because the CBSC has consistently drawn the line at any material that sexualizes children, even in a nuanced or comedic way.
The complainant had also objected to scenes showing marijuana consumption and a transvestite, but the CBSC emphasized that broadcasters should be commended for presenting society in all its diversity. There are no code prohibitions against those depictions, particularly in a program aired at 9:00 pm. The CBSC did, however, find code breaches for TVA’s failure to provide a classification icon at the beginning of the episode and to provide all advisories in both audio and video formats.
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, television stations and specialty and pay television services across Canada participate in the Council.
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