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October 5, 2011

Column #1,571

Good Guys Defeat Playboy

By Mike McManus

            There is hope. 

Morality in Media , an anti-porn group that not one person in 100 ever heard of – has taken down “The Playboy Club,” an NBC prime time show after only three episodes.

While the show did not feature nudity, “Playboy took pornography mainstream and has  hard core pornography on cable,” said Pat Trueman, President of Morality in Media (MIM), and former chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Justice Department.”Playboy is one of the largest distributors of hard core pornography.”

The victory is sweet.

How did it happen? MIM created a website, “www.ClosetheClubOn NBC.com which listed the advertisers sponsoring the show, and urged people to email such people as Jeff Immelt, chairman of GE and the CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, urging them to pull ads off the show.  

Other advertisers?  Would you believe Campbell’s Soup invested in Hugh Hefner’s latest venture – and Jello/Kraft, Allstate Insurance, Subway, UPS Store and Hellman’s Mayo? 

These are companies who cultivate their pro-family image.

How could they have stooped so low?

Perhaps they thought The Playboy Club would attract lots of viewers in the cherished 18-49 demographic group, which might help them sell more cars, soup and Jello.

Big mistake.  What they harvested was outrage that these wholesome companies would be featured on a series that glorified the sexual exploitation of women and the Playboy philosophy that women are to be used, abused and then discarded.

MIM generated 20,000 letters which clearly embarrassed those advertisers.  It enlisted other allies such as the Parent’s Television Council and even Gloria Steinem who sparked more emails to advertisers.

MIM even drafted a letter that could be sent with a click to the advertisers:

“Dear (recipient’s name),

“I am writing to urge you to STOP advertising on “The Playboy Club.”  The show, like Playboy Magazine itself, is using sexual exploitation of women for profit.  Your company should be ashamed to promote the Playboy brand.  Pornography is causing devastating harm to families in America and I urge you to have no association with it.

“Please reconsider your advertising strategy and tell Comcast/NBC that “The Playboy Club” is not an appropriate place for your advertising dollars.”

Some advertisers disappeared after a week and others after two episodes.

Perhaps most surprising, the show’s ratings were never good. 

The combination of poor ratings and viewer outrage torpedoed the show in only three weeks – the first new network show to be cancelled this season.

Even Hugh Hefner had to confess, “It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.” 

This technique of going after the advertisers was pioneered by Don Wildmon of the American Family Association (AFA).  .He used the technique in 2008 to fight McDonald’s support of the homosexual agenda by being listed as a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), to which it donated $20,000.  When McDonald’s ignored Wildmon’s letter to remove its sponsorship of NGLCC, Wildmon announced a boycott of McDonalds, and urged its 500,000 members to tell the manager of their local chain that they would not patronize the restaurant until McDonald’s changed its policies.

“The only value corporate America knows is the bottom line,” Wildmon wrote in his book, “Speechless: Silencing the Christians.”

Just three months later, he wrote to AFA supporters:  “Great news!  Because of AFA supporters like you, McDonald’s had told AFA it will remain neutral in the cultural war regarding homosexual marriage.  AFA is ending the boycott…”

Victories like these are rare, but possible when there are leaders like Don Wildmon and Pat Trueman who create organizations of Christians willing to battle the worst excesses of the culture.

            In announcing the cancellation of “The Playboy Channel,” Trueman took aim at his next target: “We’ll use the same public pressure that closed the club to get the attention of the U.S. Justice Department which has not prosecuted one case against pornographers during the current administration.”

            As the man who once led the Justice’s prosecution of pornographers for the Reagan and Bush I Administrations, Trueman knows  - this will be a tough battle.  Clinton began the shutdown of obscenity prosecution which continued under conservative George W. Bush. 

            There’s no hope Obama will begin enforcing the law – unless parents become outraged enough to join the cause.  Go to www.moralityinmedia.org

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