Rihanna and Britney Spears opened the Billboard Music Awards with a raunchy rendition of Rihanna’s song “S&M” and angry parents wish it would have ended right there. They claim it was too racy for primetime television.
The conservative Parents Television Council released an angry statement condemning ABC for airing the song.
“I cannot imagine what would possibly lead the ABC television network to air a profanity-laced, S&M sex show on primetime broadcast television,” PTC president Tim Winter said.
“The overtly sexualized performance by Rihanna and Britney Spears was no accident or mishap, but a deliberate effort to target teens with images and lyrics that glamorize whips, chains and other sexual fetishes,” he added.
Billboard is no stranger to the group. Back in 2002 and 2003, the PTC led a major protest after the show, then on Fox, aired a string of obscenities by hosts and music acts.
In 2003, show hosts Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton also cursed over the air. The show did not have a seven-second delay as most live shows often have.
The Bush administration took the matter seriously and the Federal Communications Commission launched an investigation into obscenity on television that went all the way to the Supreme Court, according to Deadline.com.
A year later, in Feb. 2004, protests reached a crescendo when Janet Jackson’s breast, adorned with a nipple shield was exposed during a duet with Justin Timberlake on CBS national television during the Super Bowl halftime show.
CBS was ultimately fined $550,000, a record, but the penalty was overturned and later reinstated by the Supreme Court, which remanded it back to a lower court for further arguments.
The song, which appears on Rihanna’s fifth studio album Loud, is about the pleasure of sado-masochistic sex. Here’s a sampling of the lyrics.
“Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me”
Beyond the lyrics and the stage props, the number was tame and Rihanna and Spears both kept their clothes on.
Nonetheless, the group cried foul.
“What happened in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas, as the saying goes. It certainly has no place at 8:00 pm on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves,” Winter said.
The PTC president has asked members file complaints with Disney, which owns ABC.
Rihanna heads out on The Loud Tour, her fourth, on June 5, with 86 stops starting in Rio de Janiero before heading overseas.