MTV Show Boycotted
Degrassi: The Next Generation paints a pretty poignant picture of high school life – whether it’s dealing with characters suffering from abuse issues, characters facing gang violence or even characters coming to terms with sexual and gender identity. And this does not make the Florida Family Association very happy. At all.
The conservative group – known for its vocal antigay crusade – is calling on advertisers to boycott the MTV show because of its portrayal of a transgender character, reports the blog Joe.My.God.
Florida Family Executive Director David Caton is reaching out to advertisers associated with the network with this message: “It is very concerning that your company would knowingly advertise during a television show that condones and promotes transgender lifestyles to an audience that is almost exclusively watched by young teens and children.”
He’s referring to the female-to-male character Adam, who undergoes a transformation on the show, which is broadcast on the Teen Nick channel owned by MTV.
Caton and his tax-exempt Florida Family also unfavorably spotlights the character of Fiona who engages in a romantic relationship with Adam. He calls Fiona a “bisexual lesbian.” That’s a new one.
Among the advertisers being asked to pull their support include some heavy hitters like Best Buy, Disney, Coca-Cola and Kaplan.
“You would think by the number of episodes that MTV devotes to including the relationship between a female-to-male transgender high school student and bisexual-lesbian student that such relationships are a common occurence in America’s high school,” says Caton in a statement on the group’s website.
The nonprofit also voiced concern over a free promo the network airs from PFLAG providing teens with more information about where they can connect with any questions about their gender or sexuality.
Much like Glee and other popular shows on TV that have given a voice to young people who may have felt like outcasts, a show like Degrassi (which hails from Canada) is taking a huge step toward including all facets of the high school experience. And while groups like Florida Family may accuse the network of misleading viewers about these realities of LGBT life, it’s refreshing seeing honest themes being written into a show focused on young people and their legitimate interests and concerns.
And the recipe has been hugely successful. Degrassi has been critically praised from the Television Critics Association and many others for its writing, and has attracted a loyal following of both teen and adult viewers (it was the most-watched drama in Canada for many years in a row) since it first began airing.
As for Florida Family – its beef against the entertainment and LGBT communities is nothing new. The group has also boycotted MTV over the series Skins, and has criticized everything from “Gay Day” at Disney to convenience stores selling adult magazines.