MTV Stands Behind Jackass

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Despite pressure from Washington, MTV: Music Television has no plans so far
to either cancel or censor controversial show Jackass, which was blamed
for causing a copycat incident that left a teen with severe burns.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) condemned MTV Monday for running a Jackass
segment that was the inspiration for a 13-year-old Torrington, Conn., youth
to have gasoline poured on his legs, then set on fire. The teen, Jason Lind, was
imitating a fiery stunt that was recently performed by Johnny Knoxville on
Jackass.

Despite the protests from Lieberman, MTV is forging ahead with a second
season of the show, which is one of basic cable's highest-rated entertainment
series, according to a network spokeswoman.

'We have a new season [of Jackass] coming up,' she said. 'It launches
Feb. 18.' She added that the batch of 16 new episodes will still air at 9 p.m.
Sundays, the show's current time slot.

MTV will continue to review each episode of Jackass that airs, as it
does with all of its shows, but there is no plan to tone the series down, the
spokeswoman said.

'We're going to look at them and make sure they're good to air,' she added.
'We do that for everything.'

In his statement, Lieberman said Lind's father had contacted him, and he
planned to intervene on the Linds' behalf with MTV's parent, Viacom Inc. Viacom
officials couldn't be reached for comment.

'It is irresponsible for MTV to air these kinds of stunts on a program
clearly popular with young teens and to air it at a time when many of them are
likely to be watching,' Lieberman said. 'MTV is an enormously influential force
in the world our children inhabit, and with that power and the right to exercise
it comes a certain level of responsibility.'

MTV issued its own statement, wishing Lind 'a full and speedy recovery.' But
the network disavowed responsibility for his actions by pointing out that it
runs various disclaimers on Jackass warning viewers not to mimic its
antics.

'It is made extremely clear throughout the show, through the use of written
and verbal warnings, that none of the stunts featured should be tried at home,'
MTV said. 'The show airs with a TVMA rating.'

The on-air warnings state: 'The following show features stunts performed by
professionals and/or total idiots under very strict control and supervision. MTV
and the producers insist that neither you nor anyone else attempt to recreate or
perform anything you have seen on this show.'

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