Last week the Skin Cancer Foundation filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C), urging them to look into the promotional initiatives of MTV’s Jersey Shore’s. The Foundation is asking that the F.T.C. hold the show accountable for the excessive use and glamorization of tanning it believes is encouraging dangerous behavior among young viewers.
This formal complaint is not the Skin Cancer Foundation’s first attempt to initiate change. In 2010, the Foundation staged an intervention on the television show Extra; on air the cast pledged to change their behavior. However, we’ve seen in the past years that the cast members have continued to tan and talk about tanning. According to the Foundation, the topic is no longer part of organic conversation, but a recurring promotion of tanning.
With the latest filing, The Skin Cancer Foundation is demanding that MTV include with the show and all associated promotions a warning about the risks of skin cancer. The Foundation vehemently believes that if the Jersey Shore producers insist on endorsing excessive tanning, then the least they can do is disclose the related health risks to its impressionable viewers.
In an effort to prove its point, the Foundation assessed and identified an alarming 186 visual or verbal references to tanning in just 17 episodes. In one episode, cast member Paul DelVecchio (Pauly D) enthusiastically nominated himself “Most Likely to Get Skin Cancer.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation recognizes that it is not MTV’s responsibility to advocate or discourage tanning. However, MTV’s demographic is a core part of the population at higher risk for skin cancer. According to a report from the American Cancer society, the incidence of melanoma increased 800 percent in young women and 400 percent among young men from 1970 to 2009.
Do you think that MTV should be responsible for warning Jersey Shore viewers about dangers of tanning? Or do you think that it is a parent’s and individual’s responsibility to be educated on the risks of any behaviors or habits that they endorse?