The Parents Television Council has personally called on AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to remove Euphoria from its platform in a new letter from PTC President Tim Winter.
Nearly a year ago, the PTC praised AT&T for its decision to remove porn from HBO, but now, HBO is targeting children with pornographic content on Euphoria - an extreme turnaround that is of great concern to parents.
The full text of the PTC’s July 28,2019, letter to Mr. Stephenson is as follows:
“Not quite a year ago, I publicly praised you and HBO for removing pornographic content from the popular premium cable service. Now I find myself in quite the opposite position because HBO has not only brought back pornographic content, they are marketing it directly to kids.
“Recently HBO debuted a teen-targeted drama series called Euphoria that features – indeed, glorifies – illicit drug use, graphic violence, extreme (and even illegal) sexual behavior, and full-frontal teen nudity.
“Obviously you are not directly involved in the day-to-day programming decisions at HBO; but as the Chairman and CEO of HBO’s parent company, the buck stops with you. Either Euphoria reflects the corporate values and beliefs of AT&T, or it does not reflect those corporate values and beliefs. It is either yes or no; there is no middle ground here.
“On behalf of the 1.4 million Americans who have joined the Parents Television Council’s vision for a safe and sound entertainment media landscape for children and families, I call on you to put an immediate end to Euphoria. You could do so with the stroke of a pen.
“Everyone involved in this series – from HBO’s programming president, to the writer and producer of Euphoria, to the director – has been engaged in hypocritical, self-serving double-speak when talking about this series:
- HBO programming president Casey Bloys said that the “point” of the show “is to expose an adult audience to the challenges of growing up in 2019.” Augustine Frizzell, director of the first episode, said the “point” of the show is to “jolt viewers and in turn start conversations between parents and teens about some of the drama’s more sensitive subjects.” Then creator Sam Levinson said, “”It’s about addiction and it’s about friendship and it’s about the people who you meet who can change your life, and it’s about holding onto these small moments of joy when they come your way because everything feels fleeting when you’re younger.”
- Levinson also crowed, “There are going to be parents who are going to be totally f***ing freaked out.”
- Levinson claimed “[Euphoria’s] not sensational to be sensational,” but then revealed that one locker-room scene that featured a teenaged character surrounded by 30 naked male classmates originally included “like, 80 more penises.” Star Zendaya has said, “We can get away with a lot of s*** with comedy.”
“Attached to this letter you will find a sampling of the explicit content found on Euphoria. As uncomfortable and distasteful as it might be, I urge you to read it and then ask yourself if you are proud to have AT&T associated with such content; and to ask yourself if this is what AT&T stands for.
“Mr. Stephenson, we believe in the First Amendment. We believe in freedom of speech. Of course we acknowledge that the series’ creators have every right to produce this program, but is it the right thing to do?
“There has been an explosion in mature-rated adult content being marketed directly to teens and pre-teens in recent years, especially on streaming platforms like HBO Now and HBO Go – where the content can be viewed outside of the purview of parents; and with the ability to sign up for a free-trial of HBO Now, and with HBO promoting the fact that you can watch the first episode of Euphoria for free on HBO.com, teens can binge-watch the series without their parents being any the wiser. HBO also appears to be actively engaging with young audiences about this series on their social media platforms.
“And we know that teens are not only watching, they are absorbing the dangerous messages contained in the shows they stream. A recent National Institutes of Health study, for example, has linked the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why to a 30% spike in teen suicides.
“Not to be outdone, HBO Chairman Richard Plepler – who is in your employ — derisively sneered that Euphoria would make 13 Reasons Why ‘look like an after-school special.’ Is your employee speaking for you and for your shareholders when he slobbers about shredding a content boundary that is associated with children literally killing themselves?
“Any effort to suggest this teen-targeted content doesn’t have an impact is laughable. And by using a prominent former Disney star like Zendaya, and by presenting the sexual exploitation, substance abuse, and other dysfunctional behaviors as normative, HBO is not only doing nothing to alleviate these social ills among children, they are only encouraging more of it.
“As the former National President of the Boy Scouts, I’m sure that you share a deep-down concern about the devastating impact programs like Euphoria can have on our youth. And I wonder if you still keep your Good Turn coin in your pocket every day. If so, I respectfully propose this daily Good Turn.
“AT&T’s website has a statement of its Corporate Values, including ‘Do the right thing, no compromise.’
“Mr. Stephenson, I hope you will hold to this and do the right thing. Euphoria is a dangerous program, targeted to vulnerable and impressionable youths, and it should be pulled immediately from your platforms. Thank you.
Timothy F. Winter
Larry Solomon, Chief Communications Officer
Cynthia B. Taylor, Board of Directors
Content Examples from HBO’s Euphoria
- More than 80 uses of the word “F*ck,” as well as other obscenities
- Teenaged boy having rough sex with teenaged girl, he puts his hands around her throat and starts choking her, apparently inspired by pornography, as Rue explains in voice-over: “Everyone on the planet watches porn. Fact. And if you were to click on the 20 most popular videos on PornHub right now, this is basically what you’d see.” [Video montage of rough sex: A man saying "Good girl" while smacking a woman, a man jamming his fist into a woman's mouth, another man saying "Are you going to be an obedient little slut?" A woman screaming, women getting smacked and slapped during sex, a man saying "Say thank you again."]
- Adult male shown putting on a condom before engaging in anal sex with transgendered youth. His erect penis is shown. Both are shown naked from the side during sex.
- Scenes depicting underage drinking, smoking, drug use
- Scene describing how to beat a drug test.
- Teenaged boys look at topless photos of a female classmate. Her breasts are exposed. They also watch a video of the same classmate having sex.
- A boy of 9 or 10 selling drugs and using obscene language
- A girl of 11 or 12 using obscene language
- Teen girl and teen boy having sex in a swimming pool while other teens watch
- Transgendered teen threatens another teen with a knife and then cuts her arm open
- More than 70 uses of the word “F*ck”
- Episode begins with young Tyler going through his father’s desk and uncovering his collection of home-made pornographic videos, made in hotel rooms with various transgendered women he has picked up. He is shown standing while one kneels in front of him, performing oral sex; in another, he is shown engaged in anal intercourse.
- Rue, in VO discusses Tyler’s discomfort around the other guys in the locker room. Many boys (more than 30) are shown fully naked from the front, side, and back, with the camera focused on several boys’ genitals.
- Tyler beats-up the man who had sex with Maddie in the pool at McKay’s party. Tyler is later shown showering and getting dressed in the man’s apartment, while the man is shown unconscious and bloodied, lying on the floor.
- Kat learns she was recorded having sex on the night of the party at McKay’s and that the video of her is being circulated around the school, she finds the video has been posted on “PornHub”
- McKay asks Cassie to send him nude photos.
- Rue offers oral sex to an adult male if he will agree to sign a paper signifying that she has attended all of the drug addiction support sessions she was supposed to attend, when he agrees to do it, she tells him she’s only 17, and blackmails him into signing anyhow.
- Rue goes to her drug dealer and is pressured into trying a new, powerful narcotic by Fez’s supplier.
- F**k was used 70+ times, S**t was used 19 times, D**k was used 10+ times
- Other obscenities, including p***y, c**k, b**ch
- Kat writes fan fiction, and has a large following online. An animated version of one of her stories plays on screen, depicting two of the male leads of the boy band “One Direction” engaging in oral sex.
- Kat is shown browsing through a porn site, several graphic images appear on the screen.
- Kat uploads a video of her dancing in lingerie and gets propositioned online by a man willing to pay her to engage in sex acts for him on a webcam. She goes along with it. The man drops his pants on camera and masturbates on camera.
- Nate and Maddie are shown having sex. While Nate is in the shower, Maddie looks at his phone and finds several pictures of male privates.
- Rue explains the difference between “good” “d**k pics” and “Horrifying or terrifying” “d**k pics” several photos of male genitals are shown during this scene.
- 69 uses of “F**k”, 12 uses of “s**t”
- Other obscenities including “d**k,” “c**t,” bitch and slut.
- Flashbacks show Jules being taken by his mother to an inpatient mental hospital for treatment. An orderly leaves an aluminum can on his lunch tray. Jules (at this time around 11 or 12) tears the can open and attempts to slit his wrists with it. Blood is shown dripping from his arms. Also at the mental hospital, a disturbed youth pulls out and plays with his privates while threatening to rape a female doctor. Rue’s younger sister smokes pot with some older boys; Cassie and Maddie are shown buying and taking “molly.” While high on Molly, Cassie rides a carousel horse and has an orgasm in front of her peers, parents and other onlookers.
- Nate grabs his girlfriend Maddie by the throat in the middle of an argument, and leaves bruises.
- Kat has sex with a carnival worker behind the carnival booth.
- Jules’ breasts are exposed.
- F-word used 44 times
- S**t: 11
- D**k: 7
- Rue extols the virtues of Fentanyl, but says the only thing that comes close to it is Jules – so she makes a sincere effort to stay clean for Jules’ sake, but she also recognizes that Jules isn’t interested in her as a romantic partner.
- Rue masturbates while thinking about Jules.
- Rue discusses her sexual history, which included “4 h*nd j*bs in 8th grade” and “2 bl*w j*bs in 9th grade” and losing her virginity at 15. The boy she lost it to is shown lying next to her naked, his genitals exposed.
- The school learns about the marks on Maddie’s neck where Nate grabbed her. Police get involved, Maddie’s mom presses charges, Nate is suspended.
- Maddie’s sexual history is recounted, which includes scenes of her having sex with various boys and men, including losing her virginity at 14 to a man in his 40s. Maddie is shown watching pornography and imitating the moves of the female performers
- Kat continues to get money and gifts from an older man in exchange for sex acts online. She also performs oral sex on a guy from the mall.