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Parents Television Council: 2017 VMAs “Cleaner” Than Past Years, Host Katy Perry Played It “Safe”

Truth rating: 10
Parents Television Council VMAs 2017

By Shari Weiss |

Parents Television Council VMAs 2017

(Getty Images)

The Parents Television Council says Sunday’s 2017 VMAs were “cleaner” than in past years, in part because host Katy Perry played it “safe.” Gossip Cop spoke with the advocacy group on Monday, hours after the broadcast.

This year’s MTV Video Music Awards began at 8 p.m. Eastern with an expletive-filled performance from Kendrick Lamar. According to Melissa Henson, the program director for The Parents Television Council, that set one of the tones for the evening. “You could tell that their standards and practices probably had to stay very close to the audio [controls] throughout the show. There was a number of bleeps throughout the broadcast,” she tells Gossip Cop. But while in past years the ceremony has been dominated by provocative displays of sexuality and mentions of drug use, this time around there was an increased focus on politics and mental health.

“It was perhaps not as raunchy as what we’ve seen in past years as the messaging seemed to be far more political in its orientation than glorifying drugs as we’ve seen in years past,” Hensen says, praising MTV for the time it spent on suicide prevention and awareness. She specifically cited Logic’s performance, which featured suicide survivors, as well on-screen graphics for help lines, as important messaging. “I think it’s certainly something that’s on teenagers’ radar already, and the fact that they’re helping to get out messages about mental health… is all to the good,” she explained. “And it shows the media can be… influential in a positive way.”

In fact, she said the network “dealt with it responsibly and that’s not always been true of MTV in the past.” As for Perry as the evening’s emcee, “She didn’t do anything that was really outrageous,” Henson said. “She seemed to be playing it pretty safe, even with the pre-recorded sketches… There was nothing terribly controversial.” Still, Perry would only receive a “C” grade for her efforts. “She didn’t fail, she didn’t excel — she did a passable job,” the media advocate stressed.

But while Perry “didn’t deliberately try to court controversy,” that doesn’t mean there weren’t some eyebrow-raising moments over the course of the three-hour show. Henson pointed out Cardi B’s wardrobe malfunction, as well as the “sexualized dance routine” and “suggestive choreography” performed by Fifth Harmony. “It did seem a bit more tame than it’s been in years past, [but] it’s still MTV and [there’s] plenty of things that would give parents of a teenager pause,” Henson argued, adding, “It’s never going to be 100 percent clean and wholesome… But it was probably one of the cleaner VMAs I’ve seen in recent years.”

Notably, last Henson told Gossip Cop that the 2016 VMAs were “relatively clean,” and expressed hope the show would keep moving in that direction. It seems like that mission was mostly accomplished.

 


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