Sonia Sharigian

Recent Articles

TV's Last Taboo

When it comes to sexual content on network television, broadcasting is an ever more risqué business. Yet in one small corner of the TV industry, a peculiar standard prevails: Straightforward and frank television advertising for contraceptives is almost as unheard of as it was in the Father Knows Best era. In a recent moment of absurdity, the Fox network denied a contraceptive company an advertising time slot during its sexual-adventure show Temptation Island. The rejected ad was for Encare, a spermicide product made by Blairex Laboratories. "Here's a program that revolves around the premise of promiscuity," says Al Kestnbaum, president of Encare's advertising agency, Chestnut Communications in Greenwich, Connecticut. "I'm grasping for understanding [about] why they won't have our products." Kestnbaum says his understanding of Fox's ad policy is that disease-prevention claims are acceptable but that messages about unwanted pregnancy are not. The network bias against birth control is...