U.S. parents group pressures Skins advertisers

The Parents Television Council in the U.S. is urging companies not to sponsor the controversial MTV series Skins, about a group of teens and their struggles with sex, drugs and friendship.

Organization upset over series depiction of teen sex, drug abuse

The Parents Television Council in the U.S. is urging companies not to sponsor the controversial MTV series Skins.

The PTC is asking companies to follow the lead of General Motors which has put the show, which premiered Jan. 17, on its "do not buy" list, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It's formally asking H&R Block, L'Oréal, Schick Hydro, Subway, Foot Locker, Orbit chewing gum and Extra chewing gum to stop their advertising.

In addition, the PTC filed a petition earlier this month to the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation into whether Skins crossed legal boundaries regarding sexual depictions of minors.

The MTV version, located in Baltimore, Md., but filmed in Toronto, is adapted from a British series set in Bristol. It follows a group of working-class high school students dealing with love, sexuality, drugs, friendship and betrayal. Six of the teen actors on the show are Canadian.

'Glorifying teen drug and alcohol abuse'

Skins shows its characters committing petty crime, coping with abuse and turning to drugs and alcohol.

"Every single advertiser who sponsored the premiere episode of Skins is not only endorsing, but glorifying teen drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention a plethora of baseless sexual content," said PTC president Tim Winter in a statement released Friday.

Pressure has already caused one company to pull its ads.

"We've decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming," Taco Bell spokesperson Rob Poetsch told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

Sofia Black-D'Elia, who portrays a lesbian teen on the MTV series, defended the show.

"It's pushing the boundaries for teen drama because I think Skins goes where other shows are afraid to," said the actress.

In Canada, the MTV series airs on The Movie Network and Movie Central while the British version is on Bold.

The U.S. version is a co-production with MTV and Toronto's Entertainment One and Company Pictures.