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The Parents Television Council has slammed FX for airing a series of graphic sex scenes at the beginning of last Tuesday’s Sons of Anarchy, saying that the footage serves as a perfect example of why people should be able to select whether they want to pay specifically for FX, or any other cable channel.
The PTC called it “the most sexually explicit content the [organization] has ever documented on basic cable,” likening it to the type of footage only available on premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime or via pay-per-view and criticizing FX for airing such content as early as 9 p.m. “in half of the country.”
The PTC added, via a statement from president Tim Winter, that if FX wants to air the type of explicit content typically found on premium channels, it should become a premium channel.
“For years, FX has been pursuing a path to be as explicit as HBO yet still be included in the forced-bundle of advertiser-supported networks that every cable or satellite subscriber must purchase through their monthly bill. If FX wants to be like HBO and air this kind of explicit content, then they should become a premium network,” Winter said.
Sons of Anarchy airs at 10 p.m. ET/ 9 p.m. CT and was rated TV MA, which served as a warning of the explicit content to come. FX has often aired TV MA programming during the 10 o’clock hour. When asked if the TV MA rating wasn’t enough of a warning, Winter told The Hollywood Reporter that the issue was more that basic cable subscribers have to pay for that programming along with more family-friendly content.
“If I want to take my family to a PG movie, I don’t have to pay for the R-rated movie at the same time,” Winter told THR.
In his statement, he also said that the Sons of Anarchy footage made it official that “in order to watch cable news, ESPN, Disney or the History Channel, every family in America must now also pay for pornography on FX.”
Winter told THR that the episode illustrates why families should be able to select which cable networks they pay for via a la carte programming, a movement that the PTC supports.
“I can’t imagine a stronger example of what’s broken with a system where you have to pay for something against your sensibilities,” he told THR.
“We call on Congress, the FCC and the federal courts to give cable consumers real choice when it comes to deciding which networks they actually want to purchase,” Winter said in his statement.
Reps for FX declined to comment.
Nov. 17, 11:25 a.m. This story has been updated to reflect that FX declined to comment.
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