COLUMN: Getting the Tweens Early, Viacom Style
Earlier this month, the world-famous toy store chain Toys “R” Us announced it was it was liquidating its assets and going out of business, closing all 735 US stores by June. If that and the fact that over 33,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the liquidation doesn’t convince you how kids today are being robbed of their innocence at every turn (although there’s still Walmart and Target for all the latest toys), then look no further than this past weekend’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
You may remember two previous columns talking about how this has featured things from smutty rap lyrics to pro-drug references, at least in the music being performed. This year was tame by comparison, although not by much.
However, what really destroyed the night was when anti-Second Amendment activist students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – who have become media darlings since the horrible shooting there – were given a shoutout by host John Cena… only moments after the show started. And these not-so-subtle shoutouts – although short – continued to be made by performers and winners throughout the show, including Favorite TV Actress winner Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things fame.
Let’s make one thing clear… It was completely inappropriate; especially for something that’s supposed to be as harmless as a live awards ceremony aimed at 9-12 year olds.
It’s one thing to nominate rap garbage that promotes drug use and sexual acts courtesy of the likes of Kendrick Lamar, DJ Khaled, and Lil’ Wayne, as well as actors and actresses who star in TV-MA fare like The Walking Dead (although props should be given for nominating conservative actress Candace Cameron Bure for her role in Fuller House). It’s another thing to go the route of last year’s Video Music Awards on sister network MTV and give out political statements about gun control when there’s just no need for them whatsoever.
Why can’t we just let kids be kids? They have their whole lives to become adults, and there was no reason for the Kids’ Choice Awards to put out a political statement like this. You have to wonder what conservative families thought of the propaganda on display. Even some liberals would agree there was no place for politics on a show aimed at children. Does Nickelodeon really want to go the route of most sports and entertainment programming and see ratings and trust plummet? It sure seems like it.
But, what should you expect from Viacom? This is the same company that used all of its operations to promote the teens’ activism by having them go dark for 17 minutes earlier this month.
If there are people who deserve to get slimed, it’s the producers of the Kids’ Choice Awards due to their flat-out disgraceful decision to politicize a once-harmless awards ceremony, and especially executives at Nickelodeon and Viacom for airing it in the first place.
Shame on them.