Cable company refuses to run abstinence ad on kids and family channels

New York-based cable giant Comcast has refused to run a public service announcement on abstinence on several of its channels, claiming that the ad is not appropriate for young viewers.

A Comcast senior manager determined that Catholic Social Services’ 30-second spot is not appropriate for the 6-to-9-year-olds who watch the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the Family Channel, reported the Boston Standard-Times.

The spot will run on MTV, Sci-Fi Channel, FX, Comedy Central and E! Entertainment Channel in seven communities in Massachusetts.

Arlene McNamee, executive director of Catholic Social Services, said she was rendered "a little speechless" by the company's decision.

The spot features only phrases that flash up on the screen as teenagers speak them. The phrases include: "I thought she was using protection," "I thought I would feel like a man;" "I thought I'd never catch anything bad." It ends with the words: "Before you decide to have sex, do some serious thinking and take action. Care enough to wait."

"Is talking about abstinence that controversial?" McNamee was quoted as saying in the Standard-Times. McNamee argued that the ad was appropriate since research indicates that 9-year-olds are engaging in sexual activity. The ad would also reinforce abstinence for kids who are not sexually active, she said.

Comcast sales manager Ben Handel had e-mailed the decision to Liz Isherwood of Moore & Isherwood, the public relations company that created the spot.

Handel wrote that the spot was flagged for having "content that may be counter to Comcast or specific network policy" and it was sent to a senior manager to review.

"There's no racy language, nothing suggestive,” Isherwood told the Boston paper. “I personally don't understand their decision."

"I mean, you can have people who are barely dressed on MTV and have lyrics that are sexually suggestive in nature, but you can't talk about abstinence?" McNamee asked. "It's just crazy."

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