Shortly after pulling an ad produced by controversial anti-abortion rights group Heroic Media, MTV is now being accused of supporting a “pro-abortion” agenda.
Supporters of the ad argue that the network “glamorizes” teen pregnancy with hit shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” But critics, including MTV execs, say that Heroic’s antics do little more than stirring up controversy.
Heroic’s latest ad campaign, titled “We Can Help,” was unveiled at an April 30 event headlined by Sarah Palin, held in Bethesda, Md. As previously reported by the Florida Independent, the event was publicized to the Jewish community with no mention of its anti-abortion-rights agenda. Palin also headlined a Heroic event held in Jacksonville last year, in which she criticized President Obama for being the most “pro-abortion President to ever occupy the White House.”
Though the ad was slated to run for several weeks on MTV, it was pulled after airing only once.
According to an official statement by Jeannie Kedas, Senior Vice President of MTV networks, the decision came as a result of continual controversy surrounding Heroic in recent months. “Upon further review, it was hard for us to separate some of the recent tactics of the organization behind the ads themselves, so we have opted to not accept them for air at this time,” said Kedah.
According to a release on Heroic’s site, “MTV notified the press of their decision to pull the call-for-help commercials on May 5th, but did not inform Heroic Media until the following afternoon.” Heroic now claims that MTV pulled the ad because of the network’s relationship with a different organization – Planned Parenthood.
From Heroic’s press release:
An MTV sales representative who notified Heroic Media’s advertising agency of the decision indicated that MTV President, Stephen Friedman, made the decision.
According to the sales representative, MTV, “Was in the works with doing a partnership with Planned Parenthood and different opportunities for PSA’s when he decided that he did not want to run Heroic Media on MTV.”
Anti-abortions rights activist Lila Rose (who was responsible for a string of anti-Planned Parenthood videos) said that MTV’s decision to pull the ad was a disturbing one. “I think it’s a very disturbing, shocking decision for MTV to pull a commercial that is meant to provide real options for women,” she said, in an interview with Fox News. “MTV seems to be aligning itself with radical pro-abortion ideology.”
Austin-based Heroic Media is no stranger to controversy. In December 2010, the group’s founder, Brian Follett, came under fire for likening Planned Parenthood’s efforts to “genocide.” Though the remarks led some to distance themselves from the group, big names like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have continued to speak at events hosted by Heroic.
The group was harshly criticized after unveiling a billboard in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood depicting a young African-American girl in front of the phrase “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the womb.” The ad was part of a campaign launched by Heroic’s affiliate group, Life Always, which was dubbed “Planned Parenthood aborts African Americans.” Funds raised during events attended by the likes of Palin and Huckabee go toward the controversial ads, which have also shown up in Florida.