Network ordered to apologize for Bugs death scene

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Elmer Kills Bugs on Family Guy

Elmer Kills Bugs on Fam­ily Guy

Canada’s Global Tele­vi­sion net­work has been made to apol­o­gize to view­ers for giv­ing them insuf­fi­cient warn­ing about a Fam­ily Guy spoof in which Elmer Fudd kills was­cally wab­bit Bugs Bunny at wast.

A 2006 episode, Stewie B. Goode, has a bloody, pro­tracted scene in which Elmer shoots Bugs four times, then breaks his neck.

Although the net­work sat­is­fac­to­rily warned view­ers about the show’s sex­ual con­tent and bad lan­guage, it didn’t let them know in advance of the vio­lence, the Cana­dian Broad­cast Stan­dards Coun­cil ruled Thursday.

The code was not vio­lated by the episode itself, the reg­u­la­tor said.

The con­tentious episode aired at 5 p.m. last July 23. The coun­cil said that “there was a spoof of a Bugs Bunny car­toon in which Elmer Fudd shot Bugs at close range with a rifle. Bugs screamed and gripped his chest as blood poured out of him. He died in a pro­longed and dra­matic man­ner, after which Fudd twisted Bugs’ neck and dragged Bugs’ life­less body by the ears through a pool of blood.”

The lack of warn­ing was the prob­lem, not the vio­lence, said the CBSC.

The panel finds that the scene was def­i­nitely some­what grue­some and uncom­fort­able to watch,” the broad­cast reg­u­lara­tor declared. “It rec­og­nizes, how­ever, that the scene was intended to sat­i­rize the vio­lence found in that type of car­toon pro­gram. The gag was some­what tongue-in-cheek, since Fam­ily Guy itself is an ani­mated pro­gram that some­times con­tains violence.”

The same evening, a male com­plainant was offended by the “extremely adult lan­guage” in the episode — par­tic­u­larly by talk­ing baby Stewie dis­cussing shav­ing his gen­i­tals, and the use of sev­eral pro­fan­i­ties and the word “porno.”

The viewer said that much of the mate­r­ial was unsuit­able for chil­dren and should be restricted to air­ing after 9 p.m. Cur­rently, a “late view­ing period” is in place for offen­sive mate­r­ial in Canada, restrict­ing such shows to times­lots between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Global replied by admit­ting that Fam­ily Guy “tends to push the enve­lope at times in an attempt at humor.” But the net­work pointed to its deci­sion to show an age 14+ advi­sory, along with viewer advi­sories aired after com­mer­cial breaks.

Nonethe­less, the viewer sent more let­ters of com­plaint on three sep­a­rate times between August and November.

Though blast­ing the con­tents of the pro­gram as being in “poor taste,” the panel said that the warn­ing of strong lan­guage was enough.

The National Con­ven­tional Tele­vi­sion Panel has con­cluded that none of the sub­stance of this Fam­ily Guy episode was in breach of the Codes,” it wrote.

It rec­og­nizes, how­ever, that many view­ers would find ele­ments of this pro­gram to be in poor taste. In addi­tion to the cat­e­gories of con­tent dis­cussed above, the panel notes that some view­ers might find the scenes of the man eat­ing din­ner in a bath­room stall and Stewie throw­ing up on [ani­mated dog] Brian to be dis­gust­ing and taste­less. Such mat­ters of taste do not amount to code violations.”

Still, the CBSC ruled, the fre­quent advi­sories from Global didn’t cover all the con­tent that might bother view­ers: “The word­ing of the advi­sories… referred only to ‘lan­guage and con­tent some view­ers may find offensive.’

The Panel does con­clude… that the vio­lent scenes (par­tic­u­larly the Bugs Bunny scene) were unsuit­able for chil­dren. Global should have, there­fore, men­tioned vio­lence in its advi­sories and the fail­ure to do so con­sti­tutes a breach of Arti­cle 5 of the CAB Vio­lence Code.”

Global now must tell view­ers dur­ing prime time — within three days of the council’s deci­sion — that it vio­lated the Cana­dian Asso­ci­a­tion of Broad­cast­ers’ Vio­lence code. The same mes­sage must air again within seven days in the time slot that Fam­ily Guy was broad­cast.

The announce­ment must read: “The Cana­dian Broad­cast Stan­dards Coun­cil has found that Global vio­lated the Cana­dian Asso­ci­a­tion of Broad­cast­ers’ Vio­lence Code in its broad­cast of Fam­ily Guy on July 23, 2011. The episode con­tained scenes of vio­lence and Global failed to men­tion vio­lence in its viewer advi­sories. Global vio­lated Arti­cle 5 of the Vio­lence Code.”

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