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MTV Show ‘Skins’ Draws Controversy For Racy Teen Scenes

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By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A racy new show on MTV is raising eyebrows and raising some questions. When does entertainment become child pornography?

The show ‘Skins’ is an American re-make of a hit show in Britain. It’s about a group of teenagers dealing with sex, drugs, and dysfunctional families.

MTV says it’s frank, but critics say it goes too far, partly because the actors are kids themselves.

In fact, some call the show the most talked-about thing in entertainment right now, but not everyone is talking up the show.

“Clearly this is sexually explicit. This would qualify as soft porn,” said Dr. David Walsh, a psychologist in the Twin Cities.

He was stunned to see clips of the show.

One clip talked about a teenage girl’s private parts, along with a young man’s private parts.

Another clip talked about sex and showed two teenagers naked under bed sheets.

Dr. Walsh thinks the show trivializes sex and he worries MTV has gone too far.

“We should be trying to help our kids develop healthy, safe attitudes towards sex,” he said. “This is casual, glamorizes casual.”

Viacom owns MTV and its upper management might be questioning show content. Viacom executives reportedly held meetings about an upcoming episode that might violate child pornography laws, regarding a 17-year-old who is shot on film from behind.

But Viacom’s official statement says, “We are confident that ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

Some defend the show, saying it reflects real life. Teens can relate to these characters.

Jessica Bennett, senior writer for ‘Newsweek,’ told CBS News, “Real kids have sex. Real kids get pregnant. Real kids drink. They experiment with drugs. Many of them struggle with eating disorders, and what we’re seeing in ‘Skins’ is a lot of things that kids can relate to.”

Taco Bell pulled its ads after a parents group labeled the show “dangerous,” according to celebrity news website TMZ.com.

The Parents Television Council wants the federal government to investigate the series. The group thinks the series might violate child pornography laws.

“I think when we get to this point, parents need to push back. They need to let MTV know ‘you’ve gone over the line,'” Walsh said.

‘Skins’ drew big ratings when it premiered. It’s now drawing considerable controversy.

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