TEN forced to censor racy scenes in American Horror Story

'R' rated orgy scene with Lady Gaga was too hot for Australian broadcasting in all its glory.


It’s attracting critical buzz in the US thanks to its racy scenes and star casting, but American Horror Story: Hotel has had to be snipped for Australian viewers in only its first week.

Scenes including Lady Gaga were trimmed for ELEVEN viewers on Monday, to meet with its MA classification.

A Network TEN spokesperson told TV Tonight:

“There were elements of the show that were rated ‘R’ therefore they were edited. We are not allowed to show ‘R’ rated content in a 9.30pm timeslot, actually in any timeslot for that matter.

“No commercial network is allowed to broadcast any ‘R’ rated programs, nor have they ever been allowed to.

American Horror Story: Hotel is rated MA with some scenes rated R.”

The anthology series screens in the US on cable channel FX, but has a Free to Air broadcast in Australia.

TEN has previously edited US shows, usually to comply with broadcasting classifications, including Californication, Glee, The Simpsons and The Bold and the Beautiful.

TV Tonight understands affected scenes included a rape scene, orgy scene and Lady Gaga cutting the throat of a Swedish hotel guest.

41 Responses

  1. I really do hate all these classification guidelines, I am hoping as time goes on they will slowly be removed.
    People are watching more violent and sexual stuff than ever before, so the demand will keep going up.

    My personal hope is as the old guard moves out a new generation comes into power, these censorship restrictions will be loosened.
    But then again, it look 10+ years to get an R-18 rating for Video Games, so we’re a very slow moving nation on the issue of art censorship.

  2. What did really bug me was the bloody “madam secretary” logo in the bottom right corner of the screen which at times blocked the Swedish dialogue, seriously hate those freakin promos at the bottom of the screen !!!!!!!

  3. My understanding is the scenes cut were mostly blood spurting from necks and the like, and not so much the ‘racy’ parts of the scenes.

    American Horror’s never been racy anyway. They’re happy to go all out with gore but are too afraid of what their audience will think of a set of breasts or some swearing. It’s not dissimilar to Breaking Bad’s willingness to show a kid getting shot and dissolved in acid despite their phobio of swearing.

  4. did Ten/Eleven cut anything out of Freakshow? had no idea they cut anything until I read this post, I didn’t really notice anything too obvious in past seasons cut or censored unlike blurring out porn in Californication. does anyone know for sure for Freakshow, cause the DVD and blu ray releases say it’s uncut on the covers. or did the US cut stuff out?

  5. I can understand that the show is classified MA 15+ but why cant TEN show certain eps that are more racy in a later time slot closer to MAV or AV? Also (i might be wrong) TENPlay is password orientated and i am sure has somesort of mechanism to make sure the person who is a member is over 18. With that in mind the unedited and unfiltered version should air on TENPlay completely agree with aussie. This country has gotten more conservative since mid to late 90s.

  6. I thought that AHS is (made by and) on the FX channel in the USA and that is ‘basic cable’ so it can’t show R-rated things? Is Ch 10 deciding it’s R-Rated here? Going by IMDB it’sTV- MA in the USA but R here!
    imdb.com/title/tt1844624/parentalguide#certification (but it could be wrong)

      1. It’s bizarre the things they self-censor on cable purely due to not wanting to offend advertisers. The FCC only regulates broadcast TV but some shows on basic cable try to suggest that they can’t have things like nudity on the program because of FCC regs. AMC seem to be the worst with this – in TWD, Rick can bite out someone’s throat but he’d better not say f***! On BB it’s ok to behead a man and mount his head on a turtle as long as no boobs are shown! So so odd.

  7. I still can’t understand why TEN insists on putting the edited broadcast version of shows on TenPlay anyway. Online catchup platforms are not bound by the broadcast classifications so can’t they can carry the uncut version on TenPlay?

  8. that’s interesting but it’s an FX show, they can’t be too graphic. previous seasons were pretty violent at times on Eleven, but the home releases of ‘Freakshow’ are uncut so I don’t know if it’s because the US had cut stuff out or Ten. even though Walking Dead is played on SBS 2 at 9:30 they don’t cut anything out, that show is R rated material to me. have no idea why they rate it MA in DVD even. I watched the first two seasons on Vikings, which was played at 8:30 with an MA rating on SBS. I remembered thinking it was quite tame, but SBS are allowed to play MA shows at 8:30 so why bother editing stuff out? why not just play it at 9:30 instead?! From Dusk Till Dawn didn’t have anything cut from what I could tell.

    speaking of TV cutting stuff out, I watched Grown Ups 2 on 7mate. it was rated PG in a PG timeslot and they still cut something out. a scene with Kevin James and the…

    1. Why do you consider that TWD should be R rated? That’s a pretty extreme rating, especially to suggest it should be R on DVD as well. It’s certainly violent but I find Vikings more distressing in its violence, (particularly the sexual violence) yet you agree with the MA rating there. An awful lot of popular shows (eg BB, GOT, Sopranos) would have to be rated R if TWD was classified as such.

  9. I remember when Ten screens the “Rosebud” episode of The Simpsons, they edited out a scene where Homer convinces Maggie to play around with a box instead of Mr. Burns’s teddy. He puts it over his head and talks silly. This was done to make way for ads, which was totally inappropriate.

    1. not only that but all the violent scenes with McBain were cut or shortened.

      like when he breaks someone’s neck and Marge says “that’s what I call break neck speed”

      but the G version you don’t see him do that, so her joke doesn’t make sense.

  10. Networks must comply with Classification rules -that’s what they are there for. Otherwise you would be reading a story about a Code breach. ACMA Codes are designed to reflect community standards, so where the community wants change that’s another question. FreeTV recently argued that M rated content should move to 7:30 now, which has caused some criticism. While nobody has been advocating R rated content on FTA, classification seems to be still a divisive question.

    1. Unfortunately, these things rarely reflect the standards of the community as a whole but rather that of a relatively small vocal minority. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of being told by other people what I’m allowed to watch, read, and hear “for my own good”.

    2. It doesn’t help that ACMA and OFLC/ACB don’t quite match up.

      Look at Californication — butchered to meet an MA15+ ACMA classification, and yet, all 6 seasons were passed by the OFLC uncut at MA15+ once they hit DVD.

      Had it be a film — where the OFLC got their hands on it first — Channel 10 could have aired it uncut without wielding the scissors.

      1. There has also been some argument that TV classification requires different rules to film or DVD, because it is a broad medium. It plays in homes, hotels, hospitals, waiting rooms, schools and airports. Children can walk in front of content without the same safeguards that come with buying a cinema ticket etc. That said, I’ve also known networks to say they followed the classification from National Classification Board Guidelines, such as the defacating scene from the movie Jackass II.

  11. I saw the unedited airing and never considered the classification, nor was I offended by anything I saw. Shame we live in a world where we have to be protected from people acting out a scene, its not like its CCTV footage of a real situation.

    1. The concept of “acting” and “real” is not clear to some children. My 14y/o g/son gets “night terrors”. It’s difficult to censure TV when it’s in their bedroom! Such adult material should be available but behind restrictive barriers.

      1. MA15 shows aren’t aimed at 14 year olds though. In fact, they’re ‘restricted’ to people over 15. All TVs and STBs in Australia have a parental lock where you can require a passcode for certain classifications. There is little reason for such censorship these days. And if it showed on US TV, albeit cable, it couldn’t have been all that bad…

      2. I’m sorry to hear that but that shouldn’t be a reason that the rest of us are prevented from choosing to watch a TV show in its entirety as broadcast. If certain scenes on a TV program are unpleasant for someone then they shouldn’t be watching them – there are appropriate warnings about content broadcast before any program.

        If a child is incapable or unwilling to make the appropriate decisions regarding which content to watch then perhaps they shouldn’t have unsupervised access to that content via a TV in their bedroom?

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