Radio shock-jock Howard Stern is best known for his raunchy rhetoric and oft-obscene commentary — and is not generally considered the ideal of family-friendly viewing.
Now, the nonprofit Parents Television Council is making a last-ditch effort to convince advertisers to boycott Stern’s latest primetime venture, “America’s Got Talent,” before its May 14th premiere.
After Stern officially joined the show as a judge in December, the group publicly scorned NBC for hiring Stern as a “an act of desperation for a failing network.”
In a recent letter sent to 91 advertisers and obtained by TMZ, the advocacy group urges sponsors to reconsider buying spots during the show.
“Programs like ‘AGT’ have offered millions of American families brief respite from the otherwise-ubiquitous stream of violent, profane and sexually explicit content on primetime,” the letter reads. “NBC’s decision to add Mr. Stern to ‘AGT’ will likely result in a sharp increase in explicit content and we urge you to be mindful when considering a media buy.”
The letter questions Stern’s ability to be a fair and appropriate judge by specifically referring to a statement that he made about former “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino when she considered appearing in Playboy.
In 2010, when it was rumored that Stern might become a judge on “American Idol,” he joked that this is the type of criticism he would bring to the show.
“Hey Fantasia, you’re not getting little boys hard. Nobody’s beating off to you,” Stern said at the time. “Little boys want boners. They want a Britney Spears or a Rihanna.”
FTC did not take kindly to Stern’s comments. “Stern’s reputation for sleaze and misogyny is well known; and to our knowledge, his only previous judging consisted of looking at insecure, naked young women and telling them whether or not they were hot enough to pose in Playboy.”
PTC previously targeted MTV’s “Skins” and NBC’s “The Playboy Club” — both of which were eventually cancelled.
For its part, NBC has remained mum about Stern’s controversial hiring. But last month, fellow “AGT” judge Howie Mandel defended Stern.
“Yes, he’s edgy and honest, but he’s a very bright, smart man,” Mandel said. “Nobody gets to that height without knowing what they’re doing. He’s also compassionate, emotional, serious and has good constructive criticism. He’s a good judge.”