The Skin Cancer Foundation has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the way that Snooki, Pauly D, JWoww, and the other cast members on MTV’s Jersey Shore television series promote tanning.
The Skin Cancer Foundation is asking the FTC to use its authority under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to investigate the show. The Foundation is urging the FTC to hold MTV accountable for promoting cancer-causing behavior, including the use of indoor tanning meds. Though the series recently wrapped, the show will live on through spin-offs and repeats. The Skin Cancer Foundation is demanding that MTV, at the very least, include a warning about the risks of skin cancer with the show, its advertising, promotion, and merchandising.
Gym, Tan, Laundry
“As the series progressed over the years, displays of tanning behaviors grew in frequency along with the cast’s influence over viewers, to the point where the expression ‘Gym, Tan, Laundry’ became a national catchphrase. The repeated and ongoing references to tanning as a harmless activity are dangerous and hazardous to the public’s health,” says Perry Robins, MD, president and founder of The Skin Cancer Foundation in a news release.
<i>Jersey Shore</i> Study
The Foundation audited season three of Jersey Shore in its entirety, and episodes one, two, three and six of season five. They found 186 visual or verbal references to tanning in just these 17 episodes. This includes 12 specific mentions of “G.T.L.” (“Gym, Tan, Laundry”) and 48 images of tanning (including a photo of a tanning parlor in the opening credits of each episode) in season three alone. In just the four episodes of season five that the Foundation reviewed, there were 77 total references to tanning, including 11 mentions of G.T.L. and 20 images of tanning beds.
The cast never seriously discusses the risks of tanning or the danger associated with tanning. For example, in Episode 13 of season two, Pauly D nominated himself most likely to get skin cancer.
“MTV should accept some responsibility for informing viewers about the hazards of the activities promoted in its programming. If a warning regarding tanning’s health hazards is added to each episode and just one person heeds it, this endeavor is worthwhile,” Robins says.
The complaint was filed with the FTC by Sanders Ortoli Vaughn-Flam Rosenstadt (SOVR) LLP, on behalf of The Skin Cancer Foundation. View it here.