Midwest Teen Sex Show isn’t nearly as dirty as it sounds.
Created by red state (are we still allowed to say that?) natives and Brooklyn transplants Nikol Hasler and Guy Clark, the web series provides a “comically candid alternative to birds and bees euphemisms.” Instead of high school sexual education instructors who teach a curriculum that doesn’t work and blush at the mention of “masturbation,” MTSS informs teens about responsible sexual practices through sketches and straight talk that’s informal, yet informative and (heaven forbid) fun.
Unfortunately, the business of sexual education is harder to practice than the subject matter is to preach.
For one, advertisers are reluctant to sponsor your product. (Nikol told me, “We would have an easier time finding sponsorship if we were straight up porn.”) And for two, YouTube and MySpace take down your videos and Facebook gets rid of your show’s page, no questions asked.
I talked with Hasler and KoldCast.TV‘s David Samuels (KoldCast began sponsoring the series in August 2008) about what exactly went down:
YouTube – The ‘Fetishes‘ episode of MTSS was deleted on 12.28.08 by YouTube. KoldCast emailed YouTube and the company’s only response was a form letter that said the video was in violation of YouTube’s Community Guidelines. YouTube ignored additional inquiry.
MySpace – Earlier last year, the same Fetishes’ episode was removed from MySpace after being viewed over 33,000 times. MySpace unilaterally deleted the video and provided no explanation as to why. Meanwhile, faux pornographer James Gunn and actual pornographers Jenna Haze and Sasha Grey have active profiles.
KoldCast also attempted to advertise MTSS on MySpace several times, with paid banner ads, and every ad has been rejected.
Here’s the ‘Feitshes’ episode that caused a lot of the ruckus:
Risque? Sure. Would I want to watch it at my office job? Probably not. But obscene and in need of immediate takedown? Nah ah.
I know plenty of videos get pulled from sites for ridiculous reasons, but the ones we hear about are generally removed due to (unfounded) copyright concerns, not an inaccurate label of offensive or indecent content. It’s frustrating to find out that a show geared towards providing people honest information about sensitive topics isn’t being treated fairly, or at least seriously, by large companies overprotective of a conservative image that (judging by the other content on their sites) doesn’t really exist.
Here’s more from Nikol:
The internet is full of sex, and a lot of it is unhealthy and a whole lot of it is aimed at the same people we are trying to spread a more open and safe message to. We’re not changing the name of the show. We’re not going to stop talking about these things. I have seen time and time again how our show has impacted parents, doctors, educators and teens and no generic social networking site (especially one on which I have seen profile pictures of people nude) has the right to tell us we are violating their terms without telling us specifically how that is happening.