VMAs Warned by Parents Television Council to Tone It Down

Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke
Andrew H. Walker/WireImage

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY

'The 2013 VMAs were a public relations kerfuffle for your network that I feel certain you will not wish to repeat.'

Less than a week before the Video Music Awards, the Parents Television Council has called on MTV to avoid another "public relations kerfuffle."

In a letter from PTC president Tim Winter to Janet Borelli, senor VP of standards and practices at MTV Networks/Viacom Media Networks, and copied to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, the conservative watchdog group reminded the network of how they blasted last year's scandalous moments, including the teddy-bear-and-twerk-filled performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke.

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"Parents and families around the country have had ample reason to be concerned about the material distributed and promoted by MTV over the years, particularly during MTV's original programming.

"While last year's Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance garnered most of the headlines after the fact, the sexually charged and otherwise inappropriate content of the show was not limited to them. Even more troubling was … that MTV still applied a TV-14 rating to the program, despite other adult-oriented performances and advertising messages. Such a rating was simply unacceptable to the families who depend on the television ratings system to be applied accurately and to the millions of families whose children are marketed to by MTV. The 2013 VMAs were a public relations kerfuffle for your network that I feel certain you will not wish to repeat."

This year's show, broadcasting live from Inglewood, Calif.'s renovated venue The Forum, is set to include performances by Beyonce, Taylor SwiftNicki Minaj, Rita Ora, Iggy AzaleaMaroon 5UsherAriana Grande and 5 Seconds of Summer.

The group also asked the network to take three proactive steps to reassure parents:

"Commit publicly that the program will not contain the type of explicit sexual content present in last year’s show;
"Commit publicly that the program will not violate MTV/Viacom's own standards and practices as was alleged last year;
"Commit publicly to rate the program accurately and in accordance with the TV Parental Guidelines, which stipulate that crude indecent language, explicit sexual activity, or graphic violence is to be rated as appropriate only for adults — TV-MA."

The letter concluded: "I eagerly await your prompt reply and sincerely hope MTV will help parents and families to better navigate their children's media environment."

MTV's Video Music Awards air Sunday, Aug. 24, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.