MTV defended its comedy/stunt program Jackass to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who criticized the show and parent company Viacom for airing a stunt that led to 13-year-old Jason Lind setting himself on fire.
"With regard to this specific show, it is a comedy of stunt performances, created for our core audience of 18-24-year-olds. It was borne out of the skateboard culture, and it very much reflects that culture," wrote Van Toffler, president of MTV. Toffler went on to assure Lieberman that MTV adheres to the voluntary TV ratings system and airs Jackass at a later hour "when two-thirds of our audience is over the age of 17 and a majority of the audience is aged 18-49."
Toffler also pointed out that several warnings are issued throughout the show saying that the stunts are dangerous and should not be tried at home. "Nonetheless, we commit to you that we will look even more closely at each episode of the show, will continue to air it in a late-night time period, and will also review the wording of the multiple warnings to ensure that they communicate the message that these stunts should not be attempted by viewers," Toffler wrote.
- Paige Albiniak