Stealing Harvard – Where is MADD?

October 14, 2002
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From Jim Metrock: When I was told that Stealing Harvard was advertised on Channel One, I had doubts. It was too filthy and didn’t Channel One understand they are in big trouble pushing sleaze on Texas schoolchildren? I keep on overestimating the intelligence and responsibility of Channel One executives.

Last night I received tapes of Channel One from mid-September. On September 11, 12 and twice on the 13th, Channel One advertised this dirt-bag comedy. Rarely has a movie been so heavily promoted on Channel One.

I went to see the movie after reading the awful reviews. Check it out at screenit.com or gradingthemovies.com.

As is typical in a Channel One advertised movie, it is loaded with profanity. A grandmother says out of the blue, “I’m no Donald ‘F*****’ Trump!” The sexual content is heavy. There are several long creepy scenes where a man forces, at gun point, three other men on different occasions to dress up like a woman and to “spoon” with him on his bed. The men are lying down on the bed, facing the same way, with one pressed up against the another. This is the sleaze that Channel One has become famous for. This movie passed the Channel One test for teens. It is almost impossible to imagine how Channel One’s Jeff Ballabon, Jim Ritts, and Kevin Neary could be more irresponsible.

What stands out about this movie is the promotion of beer drinking among teens. There is a scene where an adult character buys several six-packs of beer in a store and immediately goes out to a car that has two very young looking teens. Even though the boy is in the drivers seat, he looks 13-14 years old. The man sells them the beer. The girl in the passenger seat is holding a flyer for the man’s “business” which is called “Dial-A-Bottle”. If you are a teen and need alcohol, then you call this number and you get your beer and drive off. All of this is played for laughs.

After the teens drive off with their beer, the man gives a soliloquy justifying selling the beer to them. He says those kids were going to get drunk anyhow, and anyway, they need to unwind and they have every right to get drunk.

What is really incredible is the continued help Channel One gets from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD gives Channel One needed credibility on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Obligation has sent MADD information about the terrible drug and alcohol messages in the movies that Channel One advertises to schoolchildren, but MADD has never responded. MADD allows Channel One to trade on its name and reputation by letting Channel One call MADD a “partner”. How can anyone think badly of Channel One if MADD is their “partner”? MADD runs some PSAs on Channel One News and probably gets a cut-rate deal like other nonprofit organizations.

How much longer can MADD look the other way? Hopefully the new president of MADD, Wendy Hamilton, will cut all ties to this marketer of irresponsible drug and alcohol messages to teens.

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