Friday, October 7, 2022


March 26, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Judd Apatow’s recent talk to college students about the boundaries for showing explicit sex on television and in the movies has spawned an increasing number of saucy news reports in which the writers have seemingly attempted to out-sensationalize one another. The original report, published in the Hollywood Reporter on March 19, a week after the producer/director/writer/actor’s appearance at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, quoted him as saying about the HBO series Girls, which he produces: “There have been things on Girls where HBO has said to us, ‘If we put this on TV, we literally could lose our license to broadcast.'” He described one particular forbidden scene this way: “Let’s just say it’s something you see in adult films. Elements of sexual intercourse. The high points of sexual intercourse.” The following day, which tracks the goings-on in the independent film community, headlined on its website: “Judd Apatow Says HBO Worried That ‘Girls’ Sex Scenes Could Cost Their License.” There was nothing in the article to indicate that content on HBO, like content on any other cable network, is not subject to regulatory oversight. Unlike broadcast networks, HBO is not “licensed,” nor is its corporate parent, Time Warner, which does not own any broadcast television stations. The same article was picked up days later by Rupert Murdoch’s Australian news site, with the following lede: “Judd Apatow has revealed that HBO refused to allow Lena Dunham to film controversial sex scenes for her hit show Girls, which he says may have included a male erection.” Since Apatow apparently made no mention of a “male erection” in his talk, the account appeared to have been made out of whole cloth. The article then made its way to Murdoch’s U.S. tabloid, the New York Post, which fashioned this headline for it in today’s (Wednesday) edition: “HBO Cut Hardcore Sex Scene from ‘Girls'”