The Nine Network has been found to have breached the Code of Practice after ACMA ruled an episode of Dante’s Cove was incorrectly classified.
The episode of the gay-themed US soap aired on GO! in December.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that Nine Network affiliate WIN Television Qld Pty Ltd (RTQ) incorrectly classified an episode as AV.
The episode which ran at 10:30pm carried consumer advice of “Supernatural Themes”, “Strong Sex Scenes” and “Strong Violence.”
In March Nine’s Chief Classifier Richard Lyle exclusively told TV Tonight the episode had been passed by the Film Classification Board with an MA rating for its violence while the sex scenes were deemed to fall under an M category.
“We felt the sex scenes could be contained at MA given the Classification Board said it was contained at M,” he said.
At the time Lyle questioned whether the ACMA findings were being unfairly applied to scenes of homosexual content.
“What annoyed us was we’d shown exactly the same visuals implying rear entry intercourse between a male and a female.
“The Code doesn’t say anything about the gender of the people participating in the sex scenes as it shouldn’t. It’s completely gender neutral,” he said.
Today ACMA denied its decision was based on gender or sexuality and states that Film Classification Guidelines do not always comply with Television Classification Guidelines.
It says the episode contained depictions of implied oral sex and simulated sexual intercourse which were not discreet, due to the amount of detail they contained.
“The ACMA is aware of reported comments from the Nine Network that the breach decision was a result of the depiction of homosexual activity,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
“The ACMA rejects this offensive suggestion that its decision portrays a homophobic approach to application of the TV Classification Guidelines.
“Under the code the sexual orientation of characters is not considered a factor in deciding whether or not sexual activity depicted in a scene is discreetly implied or discreetly simulated. The breach occurred due to the amount of detail in the scene—which included several depictions of detailed genital nudity—and its duration.
“The ACMA is also disappointed that the Nine Network chose to comment publicly on the matter before the ACMA had completed its investigation. That is an unusual approach within the broadcasting sector’s co-regulatory framework.”
ACMA is also investigating a second complaint pertaining to another episode of Dante’s Cove. It will outline its action for the breach once the second investigation has been completed.
Nine says it received just 13 written complaints for Dante’s Cove.
Nine questions ACMA ruling on gay sex scene (Contains adult content).