In 2006, Vh1 began the trend of exploiting negative Black stereotypes with the reality show Flavor of Love. Since then the network has profited by producing reality shows such as Love & Hip Hop and Basketball Wives, “unscripted” programs whose story lines revolve around Black cast members acting out some of the most harmful stereotypes that exist about Black people.
Media consumers need to be educated about the harmful effects these images have on reality, as these shows normalize interpersonal violence and bullying as entertaining and acceptable. Black American youth spend more time viewing media than any other youth group, and increased awareness about the danger of these images is imperative. Networks and viewers must work together to implement more responsible reality television programming.
Negative reality shows like Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club and Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta are sending the message that bullying, emotional instability, infidelity, verbal, emotional and physical abuse are normal behaviors, especially for Black people. These shows are damaging our community and the distribution of “reality crack" to viewers has got to stop.
Since the Vh1 network started the trend of this racially exploitative, degrading content and are the market leader, they must be challenged to take the lead in reshaping reality TV. As the first step towards change, we are requesting they implement Truth in Reality’s Principles of Responsible Reality to its existing broadcast standards and practices:
Principles of Responsible Reality
* Acts of bullying or domestic violence will not be televised. Violence may be intimated but not aired
* Reality show participants must sign a pledge to not commit acts of physical violence while filming. Any participant who violates this pledge will be immediately fired from the show and subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.
* Reality production teams will no longer hire official security detail in order to protect reality cast members filming as presence of on-set security teams infers the expectation of physical violence between cast members.
In order to get these changes implemented we need your support!
Here are the 4 C’s of how you can take action:
1. Commit to not watching targeted shows
2. Co-sign the Truth in Reality Change.org petition & forward to your friends
3. Contact Vh1 by emailing them a copy of the petition letter
4. Communicate the message of the Responsible Reality TV movement on Facebook & Twitter using the hashtags #TruthInReality #ResponsibleRealityTV
To continue to be a part of the discussion on how reality television is negatively impacting girls and young women nationwide, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Contact information to email petition:
Vice President Communications