• Lady Gaga Delivers Powerful Performance at Oscars to Confront Sexual Assault Epidemic; So Why Would She Help to Legitimize Sexual Violence on “American Horror Story”?

    by  • February 29, 2016 • Awards Shows, Sexualization • 26 Comments


    2016 Oscars

    The annual broadcast of the Academy Awards is one of the most highly anticipated televised events of the year. In what is usually the second-most-watched broadcast every year (second only to the Super Bowl), viewers tune-in to see a lavish Hollywood spectacle celebrating achievements in cinema. Each year, the Oscars pay tribute to the most dazzling, sometimes gut-wrenching performances captured on film the previous year. All of it speaks to the power of media to evoke a powerful emotional response in the viewer.

    As members of the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) know well, these movies are important because they can educate and empower the public about social causes. They are important because of the power they have to engage and perhaps change the culture; because they stimulate dialogue on important issues; and because they can challenge and change attitudes and perceptions. This year, for example, The Big Short sought to expose corruption and shady-dealings in the financial industry; and Spotlight turned its spotlight on efforts to cover-up accusations of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

    donate_todayOne of the most gripping performances of last night’s telecast of the 88th Annual Academy Awards was Lady Gaga’s performance of “Till It Happens to You,” nominated for Best Original Song from the Documentary Film “The Hunting Ground,” which explores sexual assault on college campuses. On stage with Lady Gaga during the performance were survivors of sexual assault; and shots of the enraptured audience after the performance revealed how powerfully they were moved.

    It was, indeed, a masterful performance of a song that deals with a deeply painful subject matter. But in the lavish praise of Lady Gaga’s performance, not a sentence was written about the blatant double-standard on display.

    This television season, Lady Gaga starred in Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Hotel,” which not only featured scenes of horrifically violent sexual assault; Gaga herself was involved in some of those scenes.

    In the words of one television critic, “Since debuting in 2011, no show has more aggressively dared its audience to turn away lest they witness unspeakable acts of human debasement, sexual perversion, and gratuitous violence.” (Jordan Crucchiola, Wired, October 8, 2015).

    One scene included:

    • A faceless man wearing a large metal strap-on sex toy that looks like a drill bit emerges from the shadows. He grabs Gabriel, flips him on his stomach, pulls down his pants and repeatedly rapes him anally. The faceless creature rapes Gabriel to death.

    The video clip, below, from American Horror Story has extremely graphic sexual and violent content.
    Please make sure no children are present within viewing distance.

    There are laudable efforts, such as the performance by Lady Gaga at the Oscars, going on across the country to raise awareness and reverse the tide of sexual assault on college and university campuses. However, these efforts are undermined by TV programs such as seen in this clip below, that continue to use themes of rape and sexual assault for “entertainment.”

    Other Scenes included:

    • The Countess (played by Lady Gaga) and Donovan engage in a foursome with another couple, swapping partners and having sex with one another. When both the Countess and Donovan are on top of their respective partners, they produce knives and slash the couples’ jugulars. Blood fountains out of the couple’s throats and gushes across their bodies and spurts over the bed. The Countess and Donovan drink the blood, the Countess burying her face in the man’s spouting throat wound. Sated from their sex and blood feast, the Countess and Donovan and recline in bed amid the corpses.
    • Detectives arrive at the scene of a crime. Inside the hotel room, a naked man and woman are on the bed in a coital position. A huge spear impales the woman’s torso. Her hands have been nailed to the headboard. The still-living man’s eyes and tongue are found in the ashtray next to them. His empty eye sockets and blood-filled mouth are shown in close-up. The detectives determine that the man’s genitalia have been glued to the woman’s.
    • Scarlett walks into room where the corpses of two men hang from wires by their arms, their stomachs sliced open and their entrails hanging out.

    There are vital, urgent and laudable efforts going on across the country to raise awareness and reverse the tide of sexual assault on campus; but those efforts are undermined by television and movies that continue to use themes of rape and sexual assault for “entertainment.”

    A growing body of research has documented the desensitization effect that exposure to this kind of media messaging can have on the viewer. Sexually violent content in movies has been found to increase acceptance of violence against women, increased acceptance of rape myths and victim blaming. Other studies have found that repetitive exposure to movies that include sexual violence against women is associated with men’s increased enjoyment of the content.

    That is to say, when television treats the victimization, sexualization and exploitation as nothing of consequence, people are more inclined to think it’s nothing of consequence. Girls who are exposed to these messages are more willing to accept harassment and abuse; men are more apt to believe such behavior is acceptable.

    I cannot applaud Lady Gaga loudly enough for helping to shed light on the epidemic of college sexual assault. And surely she understands how powerful her message was. It left my wife and me with tearful eyes and chills, just as it did to many in the Dolby Theater audience. But it also left me dumbfounded, even angry, that this very same gifted performer would use another powerful TV platform to legitimize sexual violence on “American Horror Story.”

    As I have said so frequently about Hollywood, they must think that if a standard is good then a double-standard is twice as good. How very disappointing.

    Donate Today  to help us fight the hypocrisy in the media.









    Tim Winter is president of the Parents Television Council. He has more than 20 years in broadcasting, cable, internet and new media technologies, along with a law degree.

    26 Responses to Lady Gaga Delivers Powerful Performance at Oscars to Confront Sexual Assault Epidemic; So Why Would She Help to Legitimize Sexual Violence on “American Horror Story”?

    1. Paul Guyer
      March 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      The most disturbing part of that clip is that the FX channel kept their logo on the screen through the entire show, ruining the photography and production design.

    2. Lou
      March 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Please don’t offer the graphic clips! I have never clicked on one, it’s too scary. I often wonder if children ever clic on them, not intentionally, but out of curiosity…Offering the clips is too risky, please don’t.

    3. Anne
      March 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      I think it’s fine not to watch it. I didn’t. But then I cannot give an opinion when asked if I saw the movie. It becomes heresay. Don’t be offended that it’s offered. Just don’t watch it.

      • Connie
        March 1, 2016 at 10:13 pm

        Anne, your comment is akin to “change the station.” What good does that attitude do if you’re watching TV with your young child or grandchild and a horrific scene flashes on the scene and enters into his/her psyche – its too late, changing the TV doesn’t help at that point. We must be proactive in raising/protecting innocent minds, not reactive. We should always try to help people not to suffer (proactive) rather than having to aid in resolving the injury already occurred (reactive). Why wouldn’t we want to love enough to make life better for everyone in our lives. And I might add, WHO doesn’t know the depth of depravity our society has sunk to…only someone who is living under a rock. You don’t even have to watch TV (let alone graphic garbage) to know how uncouth people are out in public with their behaviors, speech, etc. I had to ask a group of teen boys the other day at a shopping center to stop swearing as every SINGLE word was offensive, like they were on a roll to see who could top whom in spewing as many f-bombs as possible in the shortest amount of time…all within the earshot of 6 & 7 year old children (boys). We have to step out of our comfort zones to make this world a better place for everyone.

    4. Matt
      March 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      On top of all this, she was given the Golden Globe “Best Actress” award a couple of months ago for her character on American Horror Story that gleefully sexually assaults other characters! Hollywood hypocrisy.

    5. Anne
      March 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      The clips were horrifying—however I don’t agree with some of the comments. If a person doesn’t see what filth is being televised, they sometimes don’t realize how far television has sunk. The thought that a young person would stumble onto programs like this is frightening—and the fact that some people watch it regularly is even more so. Thank you for trying to prevent these terrible shows.

    6. Kris
      March 1, 2016 at 8:42 am

      We haven’t had tv available in our home for over 4 years, and have never had cable, etc. Other than watching tv at a friend’s house or renting movies or a series now and again, we don’t see what is happening in the world of television. And considering what is available, horror and profanity to an unbelievable number of shows that offer nothing but plain stupidity, we don’t miss it.
      So we really appreciate your website as it keeps us updated on the issues that face families in this arena. Thank you for that!
      I agree with Connie, however, that to offer video clips of shows like “American Horror Story” is not appropriate at all. Giving verbal ‘clips’, enough to give the idea of the quality of the show is more than sufficient. If someone really feels the need to see it first-hand, they can tune in to the show itself on their own.
      You are doing a great deal of good keeping the information available and giving opportunities to petition, donate, etc. in order to combat the problems with programming. Please continue without putting out the extra temptation to actually watch this stuff.
      Thank you for your work.

      • Connie
        March 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        Kris, love it people walk their talk! No TV for over 4 years – my hat is off to you!

    7. Nancy
      March 1, 2016 at 7:33 am

      I opted out of viewing the clip but appreciate its inclusion. For those with the stomach, it’s important to have firsthand exposure (through a filter) to what’s feeding the disturbed heads around us, as well as evidence to identify the subversive agenda entrapping us. I don’t watch TV or care about awards ceremonies, but I saw some news headlines about this performance. I felt the same way as the author about Gaga, who’s career and music I don’t follow but who from incidental exposure I’ve gleaned to be just the mixture of genuine talent and fully co-opted tool this article describes.

      • Nancy
        March 1, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        It says a lot about one’s state of mind when they get personal in a comments section. No one here approves of the mainstream mind pollution passed off as culture, but let’s also be sober enough to acknowledge that the necessary level of discourse on this particular subject matter calls for direct confrontation, which does not equate experience. I suggest the delicate among us not trouble themselves with such matters; leave it to those with the emotional composure and mental fortitude to deal with it. The ostrich response is neither realistic nor solution oriented – i.e., part of the problem.

    8. Nature Bean
      March 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

      I agree with Connie–the description was bad enough. One images like this are in your head, you can’t get them out. If you don’t want people watching things like this, don’t offer it.

    9. Matt
      March 1, 2016 at 6:47 am

      HER CHARACTER routinely sexually assaults other characters on American Horror Story, and does so gleefully. Typical Hollywood hypocrisy.

    10. Dr. David Barrelier
      March 1, 2016 at 12:55 am

      This is the stuff of nightmares! WHAT IS THE POINT OF SUCH GRAPHIC TRASH

      What is the point of this trash? What is Hollywood doing to our once beautiful world? This HAS TO STOP!
      COPY-CAT actions can soon follow. Would you want someone who watches this crap ,to take care of you in an isolated retirement home, for example? No Thanks !!!


      • Connie
        March 1, 2016 at 11:41 am

        Absolutely AGREE with Dr. Barrelier, this is PURE EVIL – and that should tell everyone all they need to know!!

      • Matt
        March 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        Copycat actions have already happened in the case of “The Walking Dead.” Just a few months ago a man in New Mexico was binge-watching episodes of “The Walking Dead” with his friend when he suddenly snapped and bludgeoned his friend to death because “he thought his friend was turning into a zombie and was going to bite him.” Seriously! Story below.

        It got little coverage in the press. I didn’t see it at all on TV news.


    11. john
      March 1, 2016 at 12:26 am

      That’s why there’s an on/off button on the tv. use it.

      • Anne
        March 1, 2016 at 11:55 am

        There are also certain FCC standards that channels are supposed to adhere to. These ‘standards’ have practically disappeared. If people want filth, let them pay for it—not allow it on normal channels.

    12. john
      March 1, 2016 at 12:25 am

      Thats why there’s an on/off button on the tv. use it

    13. Mary
      February 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Yes, I am too left dumbfounded. I am dumbfounded that actors can actually accept portraying such debasement of humanity and believe that it is entertaining and even worthy of being called acting.

      I am flabbergasted that men and women actually come together for hours to discuss and rehearse the minute details of creating such bizarre content…creating the IDEA of such debasement… creating the behavioral actions of such perversity… creating such vomit-minded twisting of humankind …. making conscious and deliberate detailed decisions about this perversity….. and come out of that room with empty but savored coffee mugs and soda cans… and yet who knows what…. because I can’t fathom collaborating for that abyss-deep ugliness. I don’t think even the hells of ayahuasca or Kambo get that far deep into the dark black hole, though. Which is what makes it scarier than American Horror itself.

      I just have to ask how many more endeavors are better creative-time spent than indulging in this filth?

      After having spent 15 years not watching TV or cable with the exception of cartoon networks, food and HGTV networks, so as not to influence my children (not that I am religious, I just believe in the good of of consciusness and want to nurture that), I can say that what I have observed, because of that segregation from that constant blast of unreality, is that we have become a society where, from believing that TV is a portrayal of society, now TV creates our society in that society itself IS PORTRAYING TV.

      We sit in front of the TV waiting for it to tell us how the weather feels… how we should react to politics… how we should wear our hair… clothe our bodies… what defines a conspiracy or not… that the horrific and deadly side effects of Psychotropic drugs are “natural” and that pharma does a very good thing for us in being nice enough and conscientious enough to let us know beforehand because they care about how we should behave in the world of flowers and bees and rich opulent backyards and feasts most people don’t and can’t have, and being the very reason we need – have – to take them….

      ….because the TV tells us what is supposed to be real and true about our worlds – where once that job was our parents’, but now that women are so equal to men there is no such thing as the option of raising your own child, because the markets have flogged to the new womanhood to embrace their capitalist “free enterprise” monetary gains as now two heads of households are required to maintain what was a good living for one – converting the motherhood enterprise into everything but free… and the children anything but nurtured by real caring familiar people who have time for them….

      …our children, secured by TV somnambulism, learn all their real world behavior from TV sitcoms portraying what is supposed to be real behavioral ethics before they even confront the real issues of life… causing them to expect these “lessons” from their peers and adults in schools and in the world before any real experiential event… robbing our youth of innocence… spontaneity… faith… trust in themselves and in newness and potentiality and possibilities…. and all the mental and emotional creativity that can emerge from it otherwise…. TV PRE-Paring them for re-creating the unreality that they have come to know as “going to be the factual truth of the world” they will be entering. Learning shame before any experience of it… learning fear of “them” out there before even meeting anyone… learning social anxiety for what they “will” be encountering according to TV’s introduction to the outside world…

      …then children enter the schools… each with their own version of the “real world” which is about to assault them or shame them or bully them or rob them or humiliate them… carrying their form of defensive pre-reaction like a new blanky.

      I challenge everyone reading this to go back and see what they have FELT watching cartoons or TV before entering school or in early school. I bet you can trace some emotions or new learning experience from it that you took into the world thinking it real – or perhaps you still do.

      This I find more apt to happen after the 70’s, as cartoons took a more dialogue, and sitcoms a more lesson, oriented agenda, and even some sort of perversion translated into humor. I give you remembrance that most cartoons are a reflection of the creator’s fears or emotional agendas, or releases of emotions or trauma. They rise from self-expression rather than from a teaching of wisdom perspective – whatever consciousness that expresses.
      We have become the revised peeping-Toms of the new millennium. The ones stopping to live our real authentic lives, to watch others living their virtual lives – no – to watch others PRETENDING to live their virtual lives. And now watching them faking it too.

      But I blame capitalism for creating the construct of the indentured-human structure of product-producing – rendering society tired, sick, and abused.

      How sad… and perverted indeed.

    14. Connie
      February 29, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      I never clicked on these (& other) graphic clips and I do not believe they should be made available. No one needs to “see” these horrific things played out in order to realize & recognize we are living in a depraved & degraded society/culture. It is bad enough that this filth is on TV & in movie theaters, however, I ask that these things are no longer made available for our edification from your material. For those that read these educational pieces, if they are not conservative they most likely have seen these horrific pieces of trash either by viewing on TV, etc., but there are some who wouldn’t consider watching these types of things, yet, if you offer it, even with the “warnings” they may be inclined to view and will forever have these unacceptable images in their head. Don’t be a part of these slow push to perversion – stop offering these disgusting scenes, we don’t need them. Thank you.

      • critic_w
        March 1, 2016 at 4:17 am

        I have to agree with Connie. I’m a long standing fan of PTC, but I’ve stopped watching the samples. The simple fact is that they leave scars on anyone who watches them. Anyone. We may think we can handle it and be objective, but this simply isn’t true. Like identifying what infectious disease is killing people, I realize someone “must” see the trash to identify it, but it is time that the public trust PTC’s staff to do this (preferably wearing hazmat suits). The descriptions are more than graphic enough. Beyond that you do risk harming the people who stand with you in this fight.

        • Connie
          March 1, 2016 at 11:39 am

          This is a perfect response…explaining the descriptions are graphic enough, and heeding the warning, “you do risk harming the people who stand with you in this fight.” Perfect logic!

      • Dawn M Scarsella
        March 2, 2016 at 12:07 am

        I agree, don’t show them.

    15. William Lee Kohler
      February 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      typical liberal socialist immoral hypocracy. Say whatever you want and your fans won’t know any different.

    16. Delores Treat-Guy
      February 29, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      I clicked on the video, yet could not watch more than a few seconds of its violent content. It is purely evil!

    17. Esther
      February 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      That was very disturbing!

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