Thursday, 19 May 2011

MTV Pulls Planned Pro-Life Ad Campaign

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MTV has pulled a life-affirming advertisement run on its network by the pro-life group Heroic Media, suggesting that the group’s pro-life motives were a strong factor in the decision to ban the commercial. The ad, which has aired on MTV over the past year, was scheduled to be run during the month of May. It features a young woman struggling with an unexpected pregnancy and directs viewers to a toll-free crisis pregnancy line.

“Upon further review, it was hard for us to separate some of the recent tactics of the organization behind the ads themselves, so we have opted to not accept them for air at this time,” Jeannie Kedas, senior vice president at MTV Networks, explained to Heroic Media in a statement given to the group after the network had first announced the decision to the news media.

According to LifeSiteNews, “Kedas’ statement was an apparent reference to the national controversy sparked by ads created by Heroic Media that draw attention to the high rate of abortion in the African American community. One of those ads, a large billboard, was pulled down only days after it was erected in New York City. The ad showed a photo of a young African American girl, and the slogan, ‘The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.’”

The Washington Independent reported that Heroic Media had announced the upcoming pro-life ad campaign, scheduled to air on both MTV and the Black Entertainment Network (BET), during an April 30th pro-life event in Bethesda, Maryland. But a spokesperson for MTV countered the announcement, saying the ads had been pulled “due to the organization’s recent billboard campaign that has sparked controversy.” The Independent reported that “MTV’s standards department, which is in charge of clearing ads, made the ultimate decision not to run any more Heroic Media-produced ads.” According to the Independent, “BET has not confirmed whether or not the network is airing the Heroic Media commercials.”

A press release from Heroic Media noted that a sales representative from MTV indicated the decision to pull the ad had come from the network’s president, Stephen Friedman. The representative told officials with the pro-life group that MTV was “in the works with doing a partnership with Planned Parenthood and different opportunities for PSA’s [public service announcements] when [ Friedman] decided that he did not want to run Heroic Media on MTV.”

LifeSiteNews reported that in April “MTV partnered with Planned Parenthood on a promotion called ‘Get Yourself Tested,’ which was promoted on both MTV and Planned Parenthood’s websites. On its website, MTV has listed Planned Parenthood as an adoption referral resource. However, while Planned Parenthood reported performing 332,278 abortions in the United States in 2009, in the same year it made 977 adoption referrals.”

Heroic Media describes itself as a “faith-based non-profit that reduces abortion by creating a culture of life through television, billboard, and internet advertising which connect women in crisis with life-affirming pregnancy centers.” The group said that in communities where its commercials have run on a consistent basis, reported abortions have dropped by as much as 20 percent.

The group said that it had “asked MTV to reconsider this decision and allow Heroic Media and other organizations to make women aware of hopeful alternatives to abortion.”