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Band of Brothers sex scene complaint upheld

Band of Brothers sex scene complaint upheld

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld a complaint that a sex scene shown in the World War 2 drama Band of Brothers breached the broadcasting standard protecting children’s interests.

Eight minutes into the programme, which was broadcast on TV One at 8.30pm on 15 March 2010, a sex scene involving an American soldier and a German woman was shown.

The couple were in bed and the naked woman moved back and forth on the man’s lap. The man then rolled the woman over so that he was lying on top of her. They briefly continued having sex, covered up to their waistlines by bed sheets, until the soldier’s superior walked in and the soldier jumped out of bed.

The complainant contended that Television New Zealand should have edited out the scene given that it was shown at a time when children were still “up and about”.

TVNZ did not uphold the complaint because the programme was classified Adults Only (AO) and had been preceded by a verbal and written warning.

TVNZ said that audiences were familiar with the concept that AO material would screen after 8.30pm and that the timeslot was not considered “family viewing time”. It also said the scene was relatively discreet and important in the context of the episode.

Dissatisfied with the response the complainant referred the matter to the BSA, which found that the scene breached Standard 9 (children’s interests).

Standard 9 requires broadcasters to consider the interests of child viewers during their normally accepted viewing times, usually up to 8.30pm. Further, a guideline on Standard 9 states that when scheduling AO material at 8.30pm, broadcasters should ensure that strong adult material is not shown soon after the 8.30pm AO watershed.

The BSA said that while no genitalia was visible, the sexual content contained in the scene, such as the bare-breasted woman moving back and forth while straddling the man, constituted strong adult material as envisaged by the guideline.

“In our view, the broadcaster should have exercised greater discretion with respect to the sex scene considering its strong adult content and close proximity to the 8.30pm watershed. For this reason, we find that the broadcaster failed to adequately consider the interests of child viewers,” the decision said.

No orders were given as the BSA said the decision served as a reminder to TVNZ that it needed to exercise discretion when selecting material for broadcast close to the 8.30pm AO watershed.


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