MTV ruffled quite a few feathers with the 2013 edition of the VMAs, which elicited a host of sarcastic fan tweets and a hilarious freeze-frame of Will Smith’s family gazing in horror at Lady Gaga. But the network is also facing more serious criticism from the Parents Television Council, a non-profit organization that battles explicit TV programming. Oddly, the father of chief offender Miley Cyrus, singer-songwriter Billy Ray, serves on the council’s advisory board.
The council took issue with the network for branding the show with a TV-14 rating, which suggests the content is appropriate for viewers as young as 14. While also criticizing the network for airing condom ads, the PTC focused their attack on Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance. Wearing a flesh-colored bikini, Cyrus romped across the stage, mining sex acts and engaging in the suggestive dance known as “twerking” with stage partner Robin Thicke.
Dan Isett, a PTC spokesman, spoke out in a press release. “This much is absolutely clear: MTV marketed adults-only material to children while falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children,” he said. “MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate ‘twerking’ in a nude-colored bikini. How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?”
Last night, the elder Cyrus tweeted, “Thanking God for so many blessings tonight. Continue to pray for world peace. More love . . . less hate.” The New York Times theorized that the tweet might have been a response to the media backlash, but Cyrus has cleared up the confusion in a follow-up tweet: “FYI “Love Not Hate” Late last night I was watching devastating news out of Syria,” he wrote. “Chemical weapons used on innocent children is unacceptable!”