Update on Firing of PBS Show Host, Melanie Martinez

PBS has received over 1,700 emails and more than 5,000 people have signed online petitions (as of August 3rd) protesting the firing of children’s show host Melanie Martinez from “The Good Night Show”. Martinez, who disclosed the nature of the her PSA spoof videos to PBS on July 14th and was fired a week later, filmed the videos seven years earlier, and never expected them to gain the exposure that they did on online video sites such as YouTube. The New York Times spoke with Martinez’s partner in conceiving the videos that were first seen on technicalvirgin.com, a site that now sits dormant, with only a link to the online petition:

David Mack, the co-writer, producer and director of the videos, said in an interview that he removed them in 2004. “When we heard Melanie was auditioning for a PBS kids show, we thought it was not the sort of thing that we would want out there,” he said, adding that “it was an old joke that had run its course.”

PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, who serves as an independent critic of the network, didn’t exactly take a pro-PBS stance in response to the numerous complaints on the firing, saying “It would have been a greater bow to freedom of expression and against guilt by association for the program and PBS to stick by her.” He added, “It struck me as ironic that at the very time PBS is fighting against new Federal Communications Commission rulings about indecency that the network argues will inhibit documentary filmmakers and freedom of speech, it delivers a subjective punishment to a popular performer for something done seven years ago that was clearly a spoof.”

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Posted by Ted Zee on August 07th 2006 | Home Page | 3 Comments Subscribe to this site's feed

3 Responses

  1. Wanda Walker Says:

    I am saddened to see Melanie go, as well as my 5 yr. old daughter. We have been wondering for weeks now, and I have told her that Melanie must be on vacation. Little did I know, til I started my online research, that she had been fired for something that did not relate to her current position, nor in my view, effect her performance of bringing joy and delight to many children, including my daughter. In an age where there is little that is appropriate for children my daughter’s age to watch on tv at night, our whole family could relax after dinner and bath time and participate along with melanie when she taught crafts, stretching and valuable lessons. I agree, that PBS has set a double ethical standard when it comes to free speech. I am disappointed that they chose to punish someone for something that happened in their past, maybe it was a questionable entertainment role. If we were all judged on things we have done in our pasts, I wager that not many of us would come across with pristine records. Just look at Pee Wee Herman–and many of the other children’s show stars and the controversies that have surrounded them. I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone by the roles they have played as actors & actresses.. afterall, that is what they do, act… They should be free to express themselves, and it’s up to us as responsible adults and parents to filter and judge for ourselves what is and is not appropriate. I saw nothing in Ms. Martinez’s performances as Melanie on the Good Night Show that warranted any concern as not being appropriate kids programming. Just the opposite, I feel she did an excellent job that she was hired to do–educate and entertain children. I am sorry to see her go, and I just hope that PBS will be able to replace her with the same caliber of host. I wonder if they will do a thorough back-ground check? They are the ones that need to be reevaluated. I say bring her back–who knows, we may see her on another kids program–would serve PBS right.

  2. milda Says:

    wow – i have anal sex all the time – so what> melanie’s other progects should not reflect her persona on pbs unless parents let thier children watch her other performances. just a thought

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    than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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