'Scandal' attacked by Parents Television Council over torture scene

ScandalThey're back at it again. The Parents Television Council has targeted ABC for a "graphic and disturbing" torture scene in an episode of political drama Scandal that aired last Thursday night.

Reminiscent of a similar scene in the Academy Award nominated film Zero Dark Thirty, the three-minute segment in question depicted the character of Huck (Guillermo Diaz) being waterboarded and abused after he is arrested under the Patriot Act and accused of trying to assassinate the US President. A content advisory warning viewers of the graphic scene aired prior to the show's 10:00 PM broadcast, but that wasn't good enough for PTC president Tim Winter. Predictably, he tied the artificial violence to the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, last month and attacked the inadequate television ratings system in a statement released by the conservative media watchdog group.

"It is sickening just how quickly the entertainment industry was able to move past the tragedy of Newtown and get back to business as usual," he wrote. "Every television network president has publicly defended their programming while refusing to accept one iota of responsibility for contributing to a media culture soaked in violence. And they continue to hide behind a failed content rating system that currently proclaims every series on the public airwaves to be appropriate for a 14-year old child. The system is horribly broken, and the resulting harm falls sadly on our children and grandchildren."

He also noted the timing of the episode. "On the very same night that Vice President Joe Biden met with entertainment industry leaders to discuss the issue of media violence and its impact on children, ABC — the television network owned by a company named for Walt Disney — aired an intense, explicit and bloodied torture scene during its show Scandal," explained Winter. "For nearly three minutes, viewers were subjected to graphic and disturbing scenes of a man struggling to breathe while being waterboarded, his nose being broken and his face beaten into a bloody mess, blood spattering on the walls, and being kicked and beaten into submission."

The PTC president goes on to suggest that the episode should have been rated TV-MA and claims that parents are unable to judge which programs are suitable for their children if the ratings system is inconsistent. Here's an idea: watch the show yourself before letting your kids watch it. The fact that Scandal airs at 10 PM, a time when school-aged children should be in bed, is another hint as to the content of the show. How many kids 14 and under are watching Scandal anyway?

What do you think of the PTC's latest outrage? Will there be a rash of 14-year-olds waterboarding each other now?

- Guillermo Diaz
- Scandal

Written by: Chrononaut
Jan 15th, 2013, 1:24 pm


Level 1 (61%)
Since: 04/May/12
Message Posted On Jan 20th, 2013, 12:38 am

If you have a 14 year old child, why aren't you parenting and controlling what they watch?  Who 'lets' their child watch scandal?  The very name of the show indicates we are not dealing with pg material.  However, by the time you are 14, you are old enough to learn just how the government works.  This was not a scene for the sake of showing violence....this was showing a portion of exactly what goes on  under the excuse of 'patriot act'.  An educated, reasoning young person should be able to understand exactly what the government he/she is expected to respect is doing to people.  

And the fact that its not only terrorists who receive this treatment was a valuable lesson for anyone, yes, even those as young as 14 (who should be in bed or heading for it at that time of night).


Message Posted On Jan 17th, 2013, 7:33 pm
To "anonymous" who thinks we're missing the point: The ABC entertainment head was obviously talking about future commitments. That's no reason to pull an episode already scheduled for a few hours later.

Level 1 (34%)
Since: 29/Dec/09
Message Posted On Jan 16th, 2013, 11:08 am

Here's an idea , who not stop watching TV , and let the rest of us enjoy a good show without someone that clearly can't say NO to  his wife, and is mostlikely quaiet as a mouse at home , ruins it for the rest of us :). Being a nobody at home does't excuse you to be a busybody Ahole for the world :D


Message Posted On Jan 16th, 2013, 8:22 am
You're missing the point. The point was that this scene happened on the same day that ABC's entertainment head promised to "listen to the culture" about violence and the same day Hollywood execs met with the VP to declared their commitment to "providing parents with tools." Just hours later, there is a brutal torture scene on that very network

Message Posted On Jan 16th, 2013, 4:49 am
Why doesn't someone set up a Non-parents Television Council to counter these idiots? There are a lot of people who are not parents.

Level 2 (91%)
Since: 13/Oct/07
Message Posted On Jan 16th, 2013, 12:43 am

UGH is right, I just went off for a good 10 minutes on a similar post and maybe I haven't gotten in out of my system yet. I'm so sick of people ( parents) blaming music, video games, and tv for the horrific acts that are surely somehow embedded in their kids already. If you don't know how to parent, either use birth control or get yourself some help on how to! There are plenty of resources out there, so stop passing the buck and shirking responsibility.It's your job to limit what they watch , listen to or play. I have never allowed toy guns , pistols or any type of violent plaything in my house, EVER! If my daughter goes to play at a friend's home and they engage in this type of play, well that's out of my hands. What I do control is how often she goes to that house, or speaking with the parent's on a compromise, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. I also have little concern on how embarassed she may be. I'd rather be safe that worry about her embarassment. I have a friend who lets her son play Assassin's Creed, but instead of focusing on the violence, she uses it as a history lesson and the focus on that part of it. Sounds stupid and oh so simple, but it takes interaction and communication with your child, and not when they're 14 or 15... START EARLY! It always goes back to the parents, sorry, that's my take on it.

Mark Allen

Message Posted On Jan 15th, 2013, 11:21 pm
I completely agree. Especially if they aired an advisory beforehand. That is the reason why all these school shootings are happening. It's because parents want everyone else to do their job for them. Nobody actively makes parenting decisions instead they want everyone to change their lives around the decisions they should be making so they don't have to do it. If you think a program is inappropriate, which should can clearly be discerned by seeing the advisory, then change the channel. It is no desensitization to violence that leads to school shootings, it's lack of parenting. If you think certain music is inappropriate, don't listen to it. At the time this show aired, any child that was watching should have long been in the bed instead of up watching tv. Parents need to take more responsibility. I know it's difficult but my mom did it.

Message Posted On Jan 15th, 2013, 8:24 pm
they were warned at the start about the content of the show,don't people know how to use the off button if you don't like to watch.

Message Posted On Jan 15th, 2013, 6:45 pm
I completely agree. How about the real news that shows wars in the middle east and all that? They should go complain about that. Its more like these people hide behind their blatant ignorance than accept it. Also aren't episodes filmed months in advance. Suggesting that they change the episode is just dumb. And I am sorry but a torture scene and a school shooting are just not the same. Im glad that Canada is much better at ratings than the States. Something rated 18A in the states can get a PG-13 here. Awesome scene by the way. I thought it was really well done. Almost like something one would see on HBO, Sho, or those other channels.

Level 1 (83%)
Points: 2.2
Since: 10/Jan/13
Message Posted On Jan 15th, 2013, 4:00 pm

This is so dumb, yes the newtown shooting was horrible, but what do they expect, no violence on tv for at least a year or something. I wish people like these would just keep their mouths shut, because they only make themselves look like idiots