• YOU Paid for MTV’s Video Music Awards

    by  • August 26, 2013 • Advertiser Accountability, Cable Choice • 17 Comments

    Miley Cyrus is beloved by millions of young women who were fans of her work on the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana. But MTV’s Video Music Awards blatantly sexualized the former Disney kid with a quasi-pornographic dance routine, while rating the show appropriate for 14-year-olds – and every pay-TV subscriber funded it.

    Cyrus’ performance began with the singer emerging from the belly of a gigantic teddy bear. Leaning against a doorpost, she stuck out her tongue, and revealed her outfit – a corset with a picture of a bear on it.

    Launching into a dance routine, Miley “spanked” various other dancers, as they did the same to her. She then stripped off her corset, revealing a flesh-colored bikini, while shaking her buttocks provocatively.

    Then singer Robin Thicke — himself  no stranger to sexualizing women, considering his song “Blurred Lines” contains “rapey” lyrics like, “you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature,” — joined Miley, who donned a huge foam “#1” finger, which she used to simulate sex acts.

    This performance was more appropriate for a strip club than an awards show on basic cable…especially one that was rated TV-14 by MTV, meaning that MTV thought the show was totally appropriate for 14-year-olds. Indeed, by rating the show TV-14, MTV deliberately aimed the program at an audience of children.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around for Cyrus’ sex show. Miley Cyrus chose to perform the routine; but it’s hard to believe that MTV made any attempt to get the performer to “tone it down.” In fact, it’s more likely the network egged her on, and urged Miley to be more extreme. It wouldn’t be the first time MTV used the VMAs to court controversy.

    But in another way, the entire entertainment industry is to blame, for forcing every cable and satellite subscriber in America to fund such programming. Maybe a tiny minority would enjoy watching Miley Cyrus’ sex club antics, or seeing Lady Gaga strip down to a clamshell bra and thong; but the vast majority wouldn’t. Yet they are forced to pay for MTV, along with literally hundreds of other channels they never watch, don’t want, and even find offensive.

    MTV’s Video Music Awards prove exactly why cable and satellite subscribers want, need, and deserve Cable Choice. Senator John McCain’s recently-introduced Television Consumer Freedom Act will allow subscribers to pay for only those channels they want to watch.

    We at the PTC urge all readers to contact their Senators and Congressmen, and urge them to support the Television Consumer Freedom Act.

    To take action, click here.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    17 Responses to YOU Paid for MTV’s Video Music Awards

    1. Bobaloo
      October 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

      My concern goes above and beyond children who may have seen the controversial performance of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Basically, it’s centered on Miley herself … the onetime wholesome TV star who has now become a sleazy woman and all that is bad about popular music.

      Something tells me that deep down, she NEVER wanted a career in performing arts and wanted to be just a regular teen whose father just happened to be a major star. Nothing more. And now, her life is spiraling and MTV was more than willing to parade her across the screen.

      This girl is sick and on the verge, I fear. Such a shame, since she once was that cute little girl who blossomed into a pretty young woman. And now, so many rumors … shaved hair, sex dances, etc. … what went wrong?

      I predict that Miley is dead before her 25th birthday.

      Sorry, PTC, for veering a bit off topic here, but I felt it needed to be said.

    2. Linda
      August 28, 2013 at 4:23 am

      As I read it, all those on this blog who commented on how it’s not MTVs fault is missing the point. The point is , why should I have to block any channel I am paying for? That’s like being forced to buy food I’m allergic to and telling me I can throw it out and not eat it! I do block MTV, I have kids and most of what they air is vulgar with songs and videos and scantilly clad people I do not want seen in my house on my TV…..and I should have the choice not to PAY for that! That’s the point.

    3. april lopez
      August 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      An Open Letter to Billy Ray Cyrus:

      Just read your response to the media, Billy, “Miley is still my little girl and I can’t wait to see her when she gets home.” I feel you, just like any parent. The worse dreaded moment for parents is to wake up and see their kids hooked into drugs, booze, and promiscuity. And if it’s not enough, to fear for our daughters to become sluts. At twenty, Miley just turned out to be your worst fear, and the shock of everyone —— Hannah Montana gone wild ! And “wild” is even such a lame description of how she portrays herself. Talk about suggestions of zoophilia, self-gratification, and lewdness of all sorts.
      “Showbiz is a circus,” as you say. From a country girl, Miley has become a pop culture icon promoting “weed’ and “molly.” How much obscenity and self=destruction can our children take from MTV pop culture ? And with pop culture ingrained in many young minds, how many of our little girls are “Hannah Montana in front of their parents and become Miley Cyrus inside Facebook ?” as one twitter user has posted.
      So much for artistic expression ! When I watched the recent MTV awards there was no warning with what I was about to see when Miley came out to perform. It was the most obscene and X-rated performance I have ever seen on TV. Like most of the viewers worldwide, I felt violated. And it was labelled “TV-14,” which means teen-agers above 14 could watch the show. It’s no wonder that there is so much sleaziness going on now with young teen-agers with what they are exposed to. MTV is “shock culture.” The music videos leave very little to the imagination with its lewd graphic presentations. It’s really not about talent anymore. The videos compete with one another on who shocks most, on who gets the most views on You-tube, and downloads from I-tunes. As Miley proudly tweeted after her controversial VMA performance, “ Smilers! My VMA performance had 306,000 tweets per minute. That’s more than the black-out or Superbowl !”

      It’s sad that being a member of the Parent Television Council of America, you are now under fire for being Miley’s father. But MTV and Miley Cyrus should not get away with this. The whole world was cringing with MTV awards when Miley came out. Surely, America will draw the line.
      With that performance, Miley has eclipsed the raunchy acts of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. They probably have some sense of “appropriateness” left in them not to go down to the level of what Miley has just shown. She succeeded in getting worldwide attention and has been crowned, “Queen of Obscenities.” The whole world has thrown stones at her. But she’s only twenty years old, yet has become one of the wealthiest superstar of her generation. This is the time that she ought to “come home,” as you, Billy Ray, is wishing for; to be with her family who will love her unconditionally and will not use her as a merchandise. Give her all the love. Let her clean up. She’s got the whole world but has lost herself.
      Hollywood circle is a hedonistic world. Let her go back to what matters most, her self-worth. “Let her stop” humiliating herself, and not to continue challenging the world that she “can’t be stopped.” Let that inner voice from within her heart claim her spirituality, her connection to her God. That no matter how downcast she is, she is precious in the eyes of her creator.
      I want to share with you an illustration of how you, as her father, can be like a “good shepherd ” to her as described by Marvin Williams, a Christian writer : “”Sheeps are built in such a way that if they fall over on their side and then onto their back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. They flail their legs in the air, bleat, and cry. After a few hours on their backs, gas begins to collect in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, the air passage is cut off, and the sheep will eventually suffocate. This is referred to as the “cast-down position.” When a shepherd restores a cast-down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium.”
      Be the “good shepherd” that you are to Miley. Don’t allow her to suffocate with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Corey Monteith. Bring her home. Bring her back to the arms of our Lord Savior. I pray that you and your family will have the patience and strength to restore Miley, God’s special gift to you and the world.

    4. Lynne
      August 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      My eyes still hurt from that sloppy stripper rendition of what use to be a young lady, sad what has happen and how they have to prove themselves. I was ashamed just watching her for her actions. Time to maybe slap on some fines.

    5. llo
      August 27, 2013 at 9:34 am

      No reason to bash someone for their opinion. I see your point in the matter, what i meant was that neither the media or parents are fully responsible. The media should better rate their shows so people know what shows are appropriate for adults , and young adults. Also which are appropriate for kids under the age of 18. But even then kids still have access to the show because its not blocked from being viewed on their tv because like you said tv cable companies make you have those shows and pay for them. Point is tv shows should be responsible in better rating what audiences their shows are appropriate for. Tv cable companies should allow their consumers to have the option what shows they pay for and parents monitor your kids the best you can on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Hope that better clarifies things and my opinion is more clear

    6. llo
      August 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

      There is not reason to bash what someone says we all have our own opinions on this topic about censorship when comes to what the tv shows on our tvs. I see your point in the matter, and with thought and consideration I see where you are coming from. But lets be real I’m not saying its all the parents fault or the companies that run the tv shows fault. What I am saying is if they have a problem with something on a tv show they have a right to be upset. Especially if they have to pay for shows they find inappropriate because should have the option to not have those shows and not pay for them either that they find inappropriate. Should certain shows class it up a little maybe, or at least rate the show being viewed for young adults if its something parents would find inappropriate to avoid something like this. But unfortunately some don’t. So til then just parents do best you can to monitor what your kids watch or do. If you have parental control feature with tv company you have on your tv like Verizon or optimium digital cable then do that. Also let your kids know what inappropriate. Tv shows that say their tv-14 but really aren’t class it up or your going to have more problems like this with parents. Hope this clarifies things and my opinion is expressed more clearly now!

    7. llo
      August 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

      I think you guys are ridiculous and stupid for posting the belame on MTV and the VMA awards for SO CALLED inappropriate behavior that miley cyrus displayed in her performance on stage at the VMAS. Its Miley who is responsible for her actions when comes down to it. Also there is nothing wrong with lady gaga’s performance she stripped down to a bikini that’s it. have you ever heard of the beach?? When girls go to the beach they strip down to their bikinis and your kids are around on beach and can easily see that so its no big deal. If you don’t want kids watching something on tv then its called changing the channel. Plus most tv companys give you the option for parental control where it can limit the channels your child has on there tv. Plus your kids can easily look up what you think is inappropriate stuff elsewhere like on their phones or computer. Which guarantee they do behind your backs because you don’t tell your kids what is inappropriate and why. If you don’t want your kids watching something tell your kid if they watch it they will be punished. Your the parent don’t belame someone else for you not keeping an eye on what your not doing as a parent its your job to correct your kid on whats appropriate. First amendment freedom of speech any show has right to show what they want though when its something like vmas they don’t always know how someone is going act. I know you want your kids to be sheltered and not view something sexual or vulgar as being ok but most shows are for young adults and older and shows like Disney channel and cartoon show or spiort channels are for kids 16 or 17 and under.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        August 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

        The above incoherent post is a perfect example of the double-standard some people apply to media. “If children see something harmful, it’s the parent’s fault. Parents are responsible for what their kids see. But even if parents do try their best to monitor what their kids see, the kids are just going to go behind their back and see it anyway.” Isn’t that MORE reason for media to act responsibly, not less?

        The poster’s own “argument” proves the total ineffectiveness of so-called “parental controls.” The only way to protect children is to hold the media accountable for what they choose to show.

        It’s also not true that the First Amendment was intended to give multi-billion dollar entertainment corporations the “right” to show any kind of content they please. The government doesn’t allow cigarette advertising on television, because it understands that such advertising influences viewers, especially children. By the poster’s logic, such laws are a violation of tobacco company’s “First Amendment rights.”

        If the discussion is about “rights,” how about this: why don’t consumers who subscribe to cable and satellite TV have a right to a say in what kind of programming gets put on? Or failing that, at least a right to not have to PAY for programming they don’t want?

        Under the current system, the entertainment industry essentially says, “you’ll take what we give you and like it…and pay for all of it, even if you don’t watch it.” Where are OUR rights?

    8. August 27, 2013 at 7:49 am

      First, I am a mother of a six year old and 10 month old. Both girls. Let’s make clear of your statement. You claim that MTV’s Video Music Awards sexualized the former Disney kid Miley Cyrus? Let’s get one thing straight, she has always said that she did not want to be known as Hannah Montana and that she wanted to have an adult image. She has been dressing inappropriately the last year or so but on her decision. No one forced her to perform her pornographic dance routine as you call it. Secondly, if a parent feels what they viewed was inappropriate or the station itself is in appropriate, then WHY allow your children to watch this channel. MTV is not meant for children. There is PBS and Nick Jr. for them to watch. If you want someone to take blame then start blaming the parents who allow their children to watch this station. It has always been an adult station in my view, I cannot understand why it would be labeled as a TV-14.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        August 27, 2013 at 8:11 am

        MTV did sexualize her — by choosing to broadcast her performance. Yes, Miley performed the dance; but if MTV hadn’t chosen to air it, nobody would’ve seen it, known about it, or cared.

        Blaming Miley and not MTV is like saying of a centerfold, “She chose to pose nude,” but excusing Playboy for printing and selling nude photos, and saying Playboy doesn’t sexualize women.

        The same is true of blaming parents. The entire “It’s all the parent’s fault!” viewpoint is totally unrealistic. Parents do their best to keep their kids away from harmful influences; but especially in a world of smartphones, streaming video, and Internet access everywhere, parents simply cannot monitor what their kids are seeing every second of every minute of every day. Look at the saturation coverage Miley’s dance received in the media; even if parents didn’t let their kids watch the VMAs, chances are excellent the kids saw it somewhere else – on the news, online, texts from friends.

        Under the current “bundling” system, every person who subscribes to satellite or cable TV is forced to subsidize MTV. And under the current TV ratings system, each network is responsible for rating their own shows!

        The bottom line is this: MTV is responsible for what it puts on the air. MTV is responsible for the age-appropriateness ratings its programs receive. And MTV is responsible for forcing you to pay for it.

        • Kate
          September 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

          Well said, Christopher. I’m tired of the “parents need to monitor their children better” line. And MTV is a porn channel with a tiny bit of clothing. It should be rated as such and I don’t want to have to flip through even 1 second of it.

      • SA
        August 28, 2013 at 5:33 am

        This was rehearsed by before the show. MTV was 100% aware! MTV should be fined at the least for this crap. AS far as Miley is concerned my kids made their choice after watching her (Before I turned the channel). They hate her now. Gaga didn’t surprise me because that’s her. But when you are the idol of millions of young girls and they watch just to see her perform and this is how she acts?? Our kids are subjected to this crap in videos music games etc. But at least the music and games have to put a rating on their labels now this was just wrong to not warn people!

    9. Teena
      August 27, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Miley’s performance was not appropriate for children – neither are most of the videos shown on MTV. Parents are responsible for monitoring their own children. I’m not defending Miley – I was actually embarrassed for her and thought she looked stupid and used very poor taste. But she’s trying to change her image and figure out who she is – don’t know how you can blame MTV for that. Blame our male-centric culture. By watching today’s videos and seeing who is undressed, it’s easy to tell who is in charge. And it ain’t young women.

    10. k
      August 27, 2013 at 5:54 am

      just like to say, this is no longer about exploited females, this is about females exploiting young males.
      this is the exploitation of our young males and boys by sexually aggressive females – who know full well they are exploiting the nature of young males and boys for profit.
      miley was walking around knickerless in tiny shorts revealing her self in public in front of children earlier this month. this is a deliberate sexual aggression in order to exploit young males.
      it is not male performers who are getting out of vehicles knickerless. female performers are constantly revealing themselves to young males to stimulate them. it is not male performers that are undressing and exposing themselves to young female fans or cavorting in an openly sexually manner in front of children – it is females.
      this is female performers sexually exploiting young male fans.

    11. jckwcom
      August 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Miley Cyrus – was she on drugs? That was such a disgusting display (as is Lady GAGA) for any show on TV. TV has become awful over the past 15 – 20 years. Cursing is allowed (even by Dr. Phil) – there should be more regulatory laws against this sort of thing and bring TV back to real entertainment – not sex and vulgarity. I’m not sure what this organization can really do about it, but there must be a regulatory agency of some kind – somewhere. Even regular tv shows are so blatantly full of SEX and foul language…look at Two and a Half Men – and that is minor compared to most movies. I don’t even go to movies anymore. And there are so few my teenage grandchildren can go see. What is this world coming to! AND END, I HOPE.

    12. CC
      August 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      MTV only put on the show. They are in the business to make money, not to watch out for children. MTV is not to blame for Miley’s performance. Miley is. MTV did not tell her to go out there and act like that. She did it because she wanted to do it. Do not put blame where it doesn’t belong. Now, considering what she was wearing they should not have OK’d it for 14 year old’s. And, if MTV knew she was going to act like that there is another reason they shouldn’t have OK’d it for 14 year old’s. As for the performances, those should be blamed on the performers.

      • jen
        August 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Whoah… what happened to Miley Cyrus? I don’t think finding the appropriate person or agency to blame is going to solve this issue. I’ve given up on MTV a long time ago as a suitable channel for children. The only thing I keep thinking about is how nasty Miley Cyrus has chosen to become based on that last MTV performance. Her performance wasn’t just shock value drama to generate controversy… it was just plain GROSS to watch. There was nothing sexy or attractive about it. She looked like a meth-addicted prostitute that had been in too many porn videos to care about any ounce of self dignity. Even the guys are grossed out.

        You gotta wonder… what was she thinking? Somehow Miley Cyrus is justifying why she allowed herself to perform that way for the whole world to watch, but someday, maybe after she has become a parent (yikes) and has to figure out how to explain herself to her family, she’ll regret it. And she won’t be able to take it back. The damage is done. It’s kind of difficult not to feel embarrassed for her.

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