Thursday, May 27, 2004

The New Censorship: MTV vs. Super Size Me

Well, first Disney refuses to distribute Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and now this: MTV has refused to air an ad for Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me, allegedly because the ad is "disparaging to fast-food restaurants," ie. their biggest advertisers. From the Hollywood Reporter:
According to [film distributor] IDP spokesman RJ Millard, because Spurlock's award-winning documentary is expanding into additional theaters this weekend, IDP approached MTV about an ad buy that would see its commercial play on the youth-oriented music net over the Memorial Day weekend.
Millard said MTV told IDP that it would not accept the spot without revisions and that it would not run the spot, once revised, in any commercial pods that also featured ads for any fast-food restaurants. IDP declined to make the changes and issued its release instead.
Of course, MTV denies that their decision not to take IDF's greasy money has anything to do with pressure from McDicks or Burger King or their lucrative advertising dollars:
"The edits were not about conflicting with other advertisers," an MTV spokeswoman said. "It was about the content of the advertisements."

The content MTV initially found objectionable in the "Super Size Me" commercial was a shot of Spurlock vomiting after ingesting a hamburger and a reference that Spurlock makes about how the hamburger could "kill."
Yes, of course. MTV -- home to such family entertainment as Jackass and the Tom Green show -- is just keeping the airwaves safe from the sight of vomit. Yes, they have such standards compared to Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, E! and the Food Network, where this offending ad has run.

Of course, IDP and Spurlock have been very clever in all this. They've sent out a press release and will get plenty of free advertising for Super Size Me as this is discussed over the next week or so.

Where did Morgan Spurlock learn his media savvy? Hmmm.. Maybe it was the years he spent working at MTV. Maybe you remember his show I Bet You Will, which involved stunts like "greasing a guy up with pizza oil and making him strut his stuff down Times Square in nothing but an 'I Bet You Will' thong."

Return the prodigal son...

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