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Dublin: 21°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

TV watchdog rules it was OK to show a bare-chested man smoking weed before 9pm

The complaint related to US sitcom ‘Mom’.

Allison Janney and Anna Faris from TV show Mom
Allison Janney and Anna Faris from TV show Mom
Image: Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

THE BROADCASTING AUTHORITY of Ireland (BAI) has ruled that a scene showing a bare-chested man smoking marijuana before 9pm was ok.

This happened last November when complaints were received about an episode of the US sitcom ‘Mom’ that was broadcast on RTÉ Two.

The show is based around a mother and daughter, both of whom are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and the complainant felt that it was inappropriate content before the 9pm watershed.

What was happening in this scene?

In the scene in question, a woman and a man are seen in bed.

The man is bare-chested and the woman is wearing only underwear.

The man is then seen smoking marijuana through a bong and also makes reference to cocaine use in the course of the scene.

In its submission to the BAI, RTÉ said that a parental supervision (PS) label had appeared in the top right hand corner of the screen – something that was in place instead of a verbal warning.

RTÉ also argued that the scene in question contained “no content of a sexual nature” and could be broadcast at any time of the day.

On the depiction of drugs, the broadcaster stated that it:

Believes that the scene, the episode and the series do not encourage drug taking or substance abuse of any kind.

Decision of the BAI 

In its ruling the BAI decided to unanimously reject the complaint.

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In coming to its decision, the Executive Complaints Forum stated that the broadcaster should have issued information that children watching may have been offended by some of the content, but that it was reasonable to expect adult content on RTÉ after 8pm.

While the two people in bed were seen in a partial state of undress, there was no “strong sexual content” in the scene that would require the programme to have a more robust parental warning.

On the man smoking marijuana through a bong, it was decided that drug use was depicted in a negative light in the show, and could not be seen as encouraging drug use.

Out of the 22 complaints rejected by the BAI’s Executive Complaints Forum, 12 came from one individual.

Read: TV and radio watchdog reject complaints that Chris Donoghue was ‘rude and hostile’

Also: The radio licences held by Newstalk and TXFM will be up for grabs next year

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