The anti-LGBT Florida Family Association has long attacked Degrassi for trying to have teenagers “embrace and accept the transgender or homosexual lifestyle,” and is now declaring victory for having convinced at least one company to publicly state it will not advertise on the show: Kelloggs. David Caton of the FFA, who says that Degrassi promotes “very bizarre sexual role-playing with transvestism, homosexuality” and “is probably one of the worst shows that we’ve ever seen,” posted an email that appears to come from a Kellogg’s spokesman agreeing to drop advertising on Degrassi, telling Caton that Degrassi does “not meet our criteria” and that “Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising” on only one of the show’s episodes.
MTV tried to convince mainstream advertisers that the content of Degrassi presented important teen issues in a responsible manner. However, the super majority of mainstream companies stopped advertising on this show after Florida Family Association repeatedly informed them about the extreme content involving bizarre sexual role playing and drug abuse and overdose of the program.
The interactions of three Degrassi characters demonstrate one faction of the irresponsible content of this show. The transgender female to male character Adam is intimately interested in a bi-sexual female Fiona. However, Fiona is confused as to whether she is lesbian or bi-sexual while she interacts with Riley. Riley is an open homosexual and starting quarterback for the high school football team. The odds of this mix of sordid sexual deviations occurring in any high school at this high social clique level are a million to one. Yet, MTV targets our children and teens on their Teen Nick channel with this garbage numerous times a week and tries to sell it as programming that treats serious teen matters responsibly.
Florida Family Association has issued several email alerts regarding Degrassi over the past two years which have resulted in a large number of companies pulling off the program. The last email campaign identified Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate as new advertisers and encouraged them to stop supporting Degrassi with their advertising dollars. All four companies, Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate, have not advertised in the recent months.
Kellogg’s responded to one of many emails the Florida Family Association office sends out to companies each week that advertise during numerous shows.
Dear Mr. Caton,
We appreciate you bringing this recent advertising placement concern to our attention. We have a long standing advertising placement policy which helps ensure that we place our advertising in environments that reflect the positive image of our brands. When applying this standard, we find that many programs, including Degrassi, do not meet our criteria.
After investigating with our advertising agency and Nickelodeon, it appears that Degrassi ran in a different time slot than usual on May 11 and Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising on this one episode. We are working with Nickelodeon to tighten their internal processes to avoid mis-placement in the future.
Joanna K. Grennes
Sr. Director Consumer Communications
Consumer Affairs Department