The Parents Television Council is lambasting ABC for a torture scene in last week’s episode of Scandal that the group says reveals how broken the content-rating system is. “The brutal nature of that scene, which was rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, refutes statements made by an industry claiming to be responsible and concerned about societal violence,” the PTC said in a statement Monday. The January 10 episode of the political drama from creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes had a content advisory at the beginning of the broadcast. But calling the three-minute scene “intense, explicit and bloodied,” the heads-up wasn’t enough for the advocacy group. “It is sickening just how quickly the entertainment industry was able to move past the tragedy of Newtown and get back to business as usual,” said PTC president Tim Winter. The PTC particularly singles out the timing of the episode, coming on the same day entertainment industry representatives met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss curbing gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. The episode marked a Season 2 ratings high for the Kerry Washington-starring drama.
The organization also spotlighted ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee for his remark that the network’s “job is always to get a sense of what the culture is feeling.” After detailing the waterboading and facial attack scene, the PTC asked, “is this what Mr. Lee believes the culture is feeling? And does he feel this material is appropriate for a 14-year old child?” The PTC says it is calling on the Obama administration to get behind an effort for “real responsibility from those who produce and distribute violent media content as well as real reform of the failed TV ratings system.”