MTV’s Music Video Awards criticized for being too marijuana friendly

In Entertainment, Recent news by griffinLeave a Comment

To read the reast of this article originally published on komonews.com by David Bauder, please click here

NEW YORK (AP) – An organization that ran anti-cigarette smoking ads during the Video Music Awards has complained to MTV’s parent company about the program’s multiple references to marijuana and said it sent the wrong message to young viewers.

Show host Miley Cyrus was responsible for most of them. She even came backstage with a lit joint after the show and passed it around to photographers.

“It is entirely understandable for viewers to be confused, after hearing so much about marijuana during the VMA broadcast, to see a powerful advertisement about the dangers of tobacco,” said Eric Asche, chief marketing officer of the Truth Initiative, which sponsored two anti-cigarette ads.

Asche said his group was “extremely disappointed” and expressed that feeling to Viacom.

An MTV spokesman said the network declined to comment.

The VMAs are MTV’s biggest event of the year and the show was seen Sunday by nearly 10 million people across several of Viacom’s networks. Cyrus sang a song, “Dooo It!” that included the lyrics, “loving what you sing, and loving smoking weed.” She ate supposed pot brownies with Snoop Dogg in one skit, and lit up with a group of friends in another. She held up a selfie stick and encouraged the group of people behind her, “Everyone say marijuana!”

Pot is popular among MTV’s target audience. College students are smoking marijuana at a higher rate than at any time in the last 35 years, surpassing cigarette smoking, according to a University of Michigan study released this week. A Pew Research Center poll from this spring found that 53 percent of American support legalizing pot, a percentage that rises to 68 percent among people born between 1981 and 1997.

The message sent by celebrities about marijuana on the VMAs is every bit as persuasive as the show’s commercials, said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council.

“What they’re basically doing is telling everyone, especially kids but all viewers, that marijuana use is nothing to eschew,” Winter said.

Plenty of successful people smoke pot, and have the financial cushion to handle it if things go wrong, said Kevin Sabet, head of the anti-drug group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Not everyone in MTV’s audience has the same luxury.

Leave a Comment