These are nowhere near as disturbing as the True Blood stars’ recent bloody nude Rolling Stone cover that still haunts me, but TV watchdog group the Parents Television Council is stirring things up this morning with its outrage over the racy photo shoot of the stars from Fox’s Glee in the upcoming issue of GQ, which it called a “near-pornographic display.” “It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way. It borders on pedophilia,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment.” With Glee slotted to air after the Super Bowl in January, I can actually see Fox’s point in popularizing the show among men. Remember Jimmy Kimmel’s zinger at the upfronts about the move? “Apparently, they are trying to set a new Guinness World record for the most 43-year-old drunk guys saying ‘What the f**k is this?’ all at once.” Yes, the pictures are crossing a line and I find them distasteful, but frankly so are most magazine photos these days as publications scramble to make money. And despite playing teens, the Glee actors are all adults (Dianna Agron and Lea Michele are 24, Cory Monteith is 28). GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson released a statement defending the shoot: “The Parents Television Council must not be watching much TV these days and should learn to divide reality from fantasy. As often happens in Hollywood, these ‘kids’ are in their twenties. Cory Montieth’s almost 30! I think they’re old enough to do what they want.”

UPDATE THURSDAY AM: Glee‘s Dianna Agron, who was far more modest in her photos than co-star Lea Michele, weighed in on the controversy in a very personal post on her blog last night. Here is an excerpt:

In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans…we are not the first. Now, in perpetuating the type of images that evoke these kind of emotions, I am sorry. If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?… I understand that in today’s world of advanced technology, the internet, our kids can be subject to very adult material at the click of a button. But there are parental locks, and ways to get around this. I am twenty-four years old. I have been a pretty tame and easy-going girl my whole life. Nobody is perfect, and these photos do not represent who I am… Glee is a show that represents the underdogs, which is a feeling I have embraced much of my own life, and to those viewers, the photos in GQ don’t give them that same feeling. I understand completely… For GQ, they asked us to play very heightened versions of our school characters. A ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ version. At the time, it wasn’t my favorite idea, but I did not walk away…I’m moving forward from this one, and after today, putting it to rest… These aren’t photos I am going to frame and put on my desk, but hey, nor are any of the photos I take for magazines.