Update: this is the ad I describe in the letter below. I downloaded this, from MTV's German site, several weeks ago. The translation of the German is not mine; I relied on another blog, the Cafeteria is Closed, for that.
I sent this letter to Viacom today, concerning its offensive show, "Popetown":
May 17, 2006
Mr. Tom Freston
President and Chief Executive Officer
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Freston:
Viacom’s webpage says of you that under your leadership, “MTV Networks grew to reach 164 countries through 100 channels worldwide… Mr. Freston oversaw the breakthrough ‘I Want My MTV’ campaign.” These successes helped bring you to your current position.
As admirable as your hard work and creativity are, it is hard to speak gently or diplomatically of the ends to which MTV’s innovations and creativity have been devoted:
1. To the exploitation of young people; and now,
2. To blasphemy of the faith of a large number of them.
Every year, millions of teenagers get drawn into the heartbreak of meaningless sex -- something MTV profits from, hand over fist. It would be laughable to claim that MTV “merely reflects” social trends: MTV is a social trend, and a powerful one at that!
MTV innovated the “reality” show, usually featuring attractive young people, sometimes fresh out of high school, living a fantasy: dancing, partying, booze and lots of sex. With impressive irony, you call that the “Real World.” High school and junior high young people are major consumers of this programming.
Odd, that you omit so many of the real-world consequences: the devastation of giving oneself away, only to be cast aside like a used Kleenex; and having nothing to show for it, except perhaps a sexually transmitted disease, a pregnancy, perhaps an abortion, and very likely, a hole in ones heart.
What became of these young people and their lives? Do you know?
Now, I learn you have moved on to blasphemy.
I learned recently of your show on German MTV: “Popetown,” a cartoon show with a “brattish” pope and “pervert” cardinals.
MTV’s defense is this isn’t anti-Catholic; it’s a “work of art!”
Is that your defense of the advertising for this show: Jesus, bleeding from his crucifixion, lounging in front of a TV with the caption, “Laugh instead of hanging around”? Some art!
I refuse to remain silent as you crucify Christ in this fashion, for whatever profit or gain it may bring you. I refuse to whitewash your assault on Catholics, following on your assault on the innocence and future of young people.
Realistically, there is little chance I will change your mind; but I am willing to try.
Know that I will share this letter with the families in my parish; I will post it on my website; I will circulate it in every way possible. And I am not the only one.
At some point, I pray you will decide this is not the course for you, or for your company.
As a priest, I would be remiss if I did not say, very plainly:
Repent! God has given you great abilities, great opportunities; and great power. Alone in your own conscience, can you really say the exploitation of young people, and the mockery of faith, are a proud legacy?
Know I am praying for you, your decision, and your soul.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Martin Fox
(FYI: I told Mr. Freston I would post this, giving him my web address.)