May 14, 2008 / 2:34 PM / 9 years ago

Watchdog raps Skins over "orgy" poster

<p>People pass the Channel 4 television station emblem outside their headquarters in central London April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - The advertising watchdog has banned a poster for a teenage TV drama series that featured a dishevelled, semi-naked young woman sitting on a bed, surrounded by couples apparently taking part in an orgy.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the image for Channel 4’s “Skins” program “could cause serious or widespread offence” and was inappropriate for poster sites that could be seen by children.

It ordered Channel 4 to stop using the poster, which featured the character Michelle dressed only in her underwear, with smudged eye make-up and a vacant look on her face.

In the background, a semi-naked boy sits on the bed, while couples embrace at the foot of the bed. The wallpaper was partly ripped from the walls.

The watchdog received 42 complaints about that poster and a second one that showed a teenage boy lying submerged in a bath with his eyes open. His skin was pale and it was unclear whether he was alive or dead.

The ASA rejected a complaint about the bath poster, saying it did not breach any of its rules.

It dismissed further complaints that the “orgy” poster condoned underage sex and that the images would encourage children to copy the behavior.

Channel 4 said it did not mean to cause offence. It said the series clearly showed the “consequences of hedonistic and irresponsible behavior.” The young people pictured were all aged over 18.

First shown on the E4 channel in January 2007, “Skins” follows the lives of a group of teenage friends in Bristol.

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; editing by Steve Addison

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