PBS is Sexist and Spineless

PBS has fired Melanie Martinez, host of The Good Night Show. Her crime? Appearing in this amusing thirty-second video, which doesn’t feature Ms. Martinez naked but has her making fun of “technical virginity.” If this Puritanical move is what it takes to get fired, to (in PBS’s words) “undermine her character’s credibility with our audience,” current American society is about as unenlightened as the Dark Ages. Not only was Ms. Martinez fired, but, in a Stalinistic move, her segments are being replaced by “short-form content.” It will be as if Melanie Martinez never appeared on PBS.

Here’s the question: if a male children’s television host had mentioned some passing remark about oral sex ten years ago, would he be let go like this?

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48 Comments

  1. I agree, It’s funny that they have no problem with Thomas the Tank Engine being narrated by George Carlin!

  2. I agree…how is it that PBS can have George Carlin, who is KNOWN for loving the words that children should not hear, be the NARRATOR for Thomas??? Melanie gets fired for her video? PUUUUUUUUUUUUHLEEEEEEEEEESE!!!!! Maybe they should yank the Carlin narrations…his mouth alone would ruin the credibility or PBS.

  3. Frankly, it’s just plain ridiculous! The executives at PBS have their head up theirA- -!

  4. I already sent my email AND actual paper letter to PBS. My 2 1/2 year old LOVED Melanie. I always thought she had the crazy eyes, but still, it’s not about me. And it shouldn’t be. It should be about the kids, and the kids seem to love her.

    I’m so disappointed in PBS. But I am very happy at the response this has generated – I was suprised to see that the Washington Post and msnbc both picked up the stories, and there are a buttload of blogs, and everyone, with a few exceptions, is appalled. As it should be.

    You can direct your comments to info@sproutletsgrow.com . That’s what I did.

    freakin jerks.

  5. The question about a male doing the same thing is a dumb question. Of course the same thing would happen to him. However, I don’t agree that Melanie should have been fired. Nobody even knew about this until she mentioned it.

  6. i was so dissappointed when i read this today-my 3year old loves the show and melanie!! i even searched for the video and it isn’t even long enough for someone to recognize her, especially since it looks like it was a few years ago. for a parent to find a show that the child will watch and learn from is almost impossible. i will really have to rethink my directTv subscription-that show was the only reason i kept it.

  7. I hope the next host is just as tasty. I’ve been looking on eBay all night for the jacket she wore on the show. I’m looking to dress up some tart in it and live out my fanstasies. Any takers?

  8. Why is it so wrong to want a childrens show to be hosted by someone who is sexdually non-threatening?

    I don’t understand how parents could want their children to be exposed to people who obviously have no moral fabric. Of courses, when people see others with low morals it makes them feel better about themselves, sort of a jusstification for their own iniquities.

    I’m never glad to see someone lose their job, but I am glad that this girl is no longer “teaching” our children.

    It is not a faux pas to be moral, it is right.

  9. I watched both videos, and applaud PBS for terminating Martinez.
    Children must be put first.

  10. Melanie was definatly wronged and PBS should get on their hands and knees, apologize and beg her to come back! This woman did nothing wrong. She is an actress and 7 years ago before PBS sprout was even an idea she did a total of 1 min. for something she would probably not even consider today. She did her job well and I agree that if she were a man she would not have been fired. All of the Thomas narrators have done worse and I’ve also seen the actor who plays Gordon in a part of a “bad man” that if young kids saw it, they would probably be upset. But of course, in general, parents whose children are watching The Good Night Show are careful about what their kids see and therefore won’t see Gordon as a “bad man” or Melanie mention sex. It is obvious that women are held to a higher standard at PBS. She was up front and honest and got slammed for it. My 2 “sproutlets” will not be watching The Good Night Show anymore unless Melanie is brought back.

  11. The reason this huts so much is that it is a betrayal of everything that I grew up respecting PBS for. Tolerance, open-mindedness, a willingness to accept other for who they are and where they’ve come from. Frankly, I am thoroughly disgusted by this move. I have lost a considerable amount of respect for PBS because of this.

    Look at the list of previous guests on Sesame Street, consider their prior work, and then tell me that this makes sense.

    My letters have been written, for what it’s worth.

  12. PBS certainly does not hold women to a different standard. Only Melanie. Read on a post that the woman who plays the vet on Sesame Street also appears on The Sopranos? How is that possible?

  13. I hope those parents out there complaining about this remember how all those kids out there got concieved. I’m starting to suspect that they’ve completely blocked those dirty memories out.

    It’s not she did these short films in her “The Good Night Show Host Melanie” character, or did anything inappropriate while on or involved with the show.

  14. PBS Sprout isn’t really PBS. It’s mostly owned by Comcast and HIT Entertainment. PBS has, like a 15% share in it. So many of their kids programs were jumping ship to make more money, that PBS decided to make a deal with the devil to retain profits. I see this as a direct effect of that.

  15. This isn’t right, they hired an actress to play a part, not a nun. Melanie, for what it’s worth, kept both my kids attention with what could be called her “child-like” quality. And yes, I think you have to be a little “off” to play a part such as this. But it was a legitimate impression that will not easily be replaced. I am very dissapointed in PBS for taking such action. And yes, maybe they should ban Thomas as well for both Carlin and a Baldwin being involved.

    And for Brian and his “moral fabric”, what you think should have no bearing on the kids and what they like. You don’t like it, turn it off and read your kids a book, but don’t you dare tell us how bad our moral fabric is. You want to be taken seriously, use spell check. Sorry this isn’t a perfect world.

    People like you make me nervous, maybe we should check your closet…

  16. Oral sex or any other type of sex is still sex despite what many people in want to believe. She was a slut and has no business acting all pure and sweet when in reality she is just the opposite. I dont want my kids looking up to her.

  17. How legal would it be for an employer to probe the sexual history of a prosective employee. Turning down anyone that has had pre-marital sex, or any sex that is outside the “missionary standard”. There would be a pretty slim pool to pick from. Melanie did a comedy piece as an “actress”. She was not promoting anal sex. It was meant to be a satire. My 2 1/2 year old daughter is not surfing the interweb for lude and objectionable video content. She will never see that video. She does, however, love Melanie! She has a pleasant voice and she seems to have a way about her my daughter likes. She is not aware, nor will she remember as an adult, the video that Melanie did as a college/high school student so many years ago. I agree that there seems to be a double-standard issue here. George Carlin is a very funny comedian, FOR ADULTS! My kids, however, have never heard his comedy stylings. He is a fantastic vocal character for Thomas the Tank Engine. My kids do not know that George Carlin is the guy that “revealed” the seven words you can’t say on TV. Our kids shouldn’t be subjected to “adult-targeted” humor. And, on PBS Kids, they’re not. Hey PBS, get some b***s, and hire Melanie back.

  18. Aside from the obvious George Carlin contradiction, there is a crucial fact about any actor or actress…They are rarely paid to play themselves on these shows. Did anyone think that Melanie acted and talked in the same manner in real life as she did on Sprout? Of course not. And how would anyone know that the minute long video in question is any more representative of who she is in real life than her Sprout role? She was hired as an actress and did a great job. As long as she is not convicted of beating kids or worse, her previous acting jobs have no relevance to her ability to do her job. Another question… how many of us have sat our kids down to watch the orignal Willy Wonka? Do our kids have any idea that Gene Wilder was a drug crazed lunatice during various periods of his life? No it doesn’t matter. It’s a great childrens movie and Gene Wilder plays a great character, just like The Good Night Show was a great show with a great character before they fired Melanie.

  19. I submitted my letter to pbs. Unfortunately, I think Melanie will probably not have any recourse against pbs. But hopefully, they will feel some backlash from their audience. Here is what I said.

    To whom it may concern,

    I believe the firing of Melanie Martinez due to an adult themed spoof video (seven years old, no less) to be one of the most ridiculous actions I have heard of in recent months. This marks yet another sign of this country’s continued slide back toward the dark ages. While the rest of the world seems to change with the times, America’s uptight minority fights to force their suppressive agenda on the reasonable majority.

    I hope you face monitary penalties for your actions.

  20. Then please don’t let them watch Sesame Street either,Tom, because they have another slut as a current cast member.
    Now go pray about it before you go to hell.
    Amen.

  21. so she did something years ago. she is not a slut. that is wrong for people to even say that. so we should not be around out kids and other kids because we have sex? it is not like she was promoting it.

  22. This is absolutely ridiculous, and an outrage! My child LOVES The Goodnight Show, and as children do, feels like he has a relationship with the characters and that Melanie and Star are his friends! America’s children have a relationship with Melanie and Star, and THAT is what matters – not whatever can be drudged up on the internet!! Our children aren’t surfing the web, they are establishing fundamental relationships and learning trust – and they KNOW abandonment. How do we look our children in the eyes and explan that their best pals can’t come visit them anymore before bed because Mr. Big Cheese decided that Melanie made a mistake in the past so she can’t be friends with them anymore??! What kind of message is THAT to my Preschooler? I am telling him that she is on vacation, (- and he is miserable about it too.) A vacation America’s children and families are eagerly awaiting her return home from – home to The Goodnight Show, home to our children, and home to our families.
    It’s SICK that George Carlin can be excused but that some flash in the pan internet comedy skit from the past can cause a young mother to lose her job – and upset America’s children. Come on PBS – AMERICA WANTS THEIR MELANIE BACK!! WE LOVE OUR GOODNIGHT SHOW – WE WANT MELANIE & STAR!! BRING THEM BACK HOME!!

  23. I am sure the executives at PBS know that it will never be the same. Blues Clues never seemed the same when Joe replaced Steve.

  24. I sent this E-mail to Sandy wax at PBS

    melanie was great at what she did, teach the little ones and have fun. we all have things we would do for our childs amusmant. and we have a differant set of things to do to get some humur out of other adults. and that all hse has done, nothing more, nothing less.

    I think if you have ever made a sexual referance in a humarus manor or ever had any type of premisquess sex you should be relieved of duties as well. i liked melanie and so did my 3yr old doughter. she danced and sang with her every night. when i got home from work i used to do those silly dances with her as a game. You all made a terrible decision over an actress that did just that… ACT! I’m very disapointed in this dicision and the way it was handled. This action is leaving a far worse black mark on PBS kids then anything she has done publically. Further more it is also bringing sexual referances more so into the open then a couple of 2 mins comidic videos ever could. you are a terrible boss an imorral person and i would rather have my daughter watch C-span then anything you are afiliated with.

    Sincerly

  25. “Let he (or she) who hath no sin, cast the first stone”
    The self righteous people who support PBS’s choice to terminate Melanie’s employment for something she did seven years ago, that could hardly be classified as “amoral” a “sin”, should probably point their fingers at themselves first before blaming others because even the most holy of them have done/thought of many “amoral” things within the last seven years as well. I believe PBS made a terrible mistake along with the holy stone throwers who support that choice as well.

    “To err is human, to forgive divine”

  26. I read on someone’s blog that they suspected she was pregnant and thats the reason she was fired. If that was true then it was dispicable of PBS to not only fire her but lie to us by placing the blame on her. Those 2, 30second films from 7 years ago were jokes and you might as well fire all teachers, princapals, counselors and so on because I’m sure they told jokes dirtier that that and have direct contact with our children.

  27. Hi Brian:
    Perhaps it’s not a faux pas to be moral, but it is a faux pas to be self-righteous and to use such poor spelling.

    Adults talking or joking about sex, even ANAL sex, isn’t immoral for many of us. Please don’t assume that your morals are the same as others’, and please don’t assume that your morals are superior to others’.

  28. I have a problem with these “people” who support her termination…..calling her a slut….I’m willing ot bet everyone here has been involved with the very thing they accuse her of supporting….you show me a saint and I’ll show you a sinner in denial.

  29. Even if she were fired for being pregnant, which, I’m pretty sure they can’t do, it wouldn’t explain why they aren’t even showing the new season they just taped. I read an article a few months ago about how they were filming the next “season” in Paulsboro, NJ – that was around April I think.

    So even if she was pregnant, why wouldn’t they show the ones they already had?

    No, I’m afraid the real explanation is the one they are actually proud of. Protecting us from Evil Melanie, the 34-year-old mother who had the nerve to pretend to enjoy anal sex 7 years ago.

    Now can someone please protect me from the sex-crazed government? Please? Because they’re much scarier, and have actual power.

    And Tom – jeez, get a grip man. Is everyone who ever PORTRAYED a sexual character a slut? Every actor in every movie ever made? Did you know Julie Andrews, the beloved Mary Poppins, once DISROBED in a movie? Oh yeah, it was all out there. Guess she’s a slut too. She ACTED in a role, just like, as you say, she ACTS all sweet and innocent, or whatever. She’s ACTING. I bet in real life she doesn’t talk to fish.

    You puritanical “she gets what she deserves” people embarass and scare me. I hate to think that you would ever represent the actual majority in this “free” country.

  30. This is crazy. My 2year old child use to kiss the TV(Melanie) everynight before he went to bed. He loved her. He asks all the time for Melanie. What she did is in her past, is in the past. I mean lets get real here, all of us have a past. If you can let Thomas (which my child also likes) to run with Carlin and Baldwin (who wished all people who didnt think they way he does, should be dead) then Melanie should not be a problem. The only reason I have sprout to begin with is because of her. BRING HER BACK.

  31. Calling Melanie a slut is silly – she read a script for a funny clip 7 years ago. She’s an actress and that’s her JOB.

    My sproutlets are 6 1/2 and 5 and love to watch her before bed. I think MOST people would have never seen this video clip if it weren’t for PBS firing her. She was proactive and concerned about her position and mentioned it FIRST to PBS before they found out on their own and this is how they repay her.

  32. Here is the letter I wrote to PBS Sprout

    I am extremely dismayed at your decision to fire Melanie Martinez from the GoodNight Show. My 3-1/2 year old son has been asking about her for days. What am I to tell him? Melanie was fired from the show he loves because she was honest. She told you the truth about a perhaps questionable video she made 7 years ago. When I researched the video I found it was pretty ho hum, not some kind of rancid pornography. This show is for 2-5 year olds after all. It is not likely they are even cognizant about such things. What is the matter with the corporate culture in this country? Do I tell my son that she was fired because she told the truth? I think she was being pretty honest and forthright. Could you not stand behind her and congratulate her for doing a good job and being a good employee? I have learned over time, that unfortunately, in our culture, honesty is not generally rewarded. Beneath all of her enthusiasm, Melanie really was the real thing. I cannot tell you how infuriated my friends and I are about this. And my son is heartbroken. And I can’t imagine how Melanie must feel right now. Will she ever cop to the truth again if this devastating outcome is the result? What does she tell her own child? “I perhaps made a mistake once a long time ago, and now I am being punished for telling the truth about it?” How can you people sleep at night? I thought PBS was a humanitarian organization. But you have just proved to me you are as low as all the other cutthroat bottom line bottom dwellers in the corporate world. And are you afraid of the religious right? I thought PBS Sprout is all about growing up in an educated, humanistic atmosphere of acceptance. But what is this?????

    Signed,
    Barbara Vaughan

  33. MELANIE DID NOTHING WRONG..SHE WAS DOING A SCHOOL PROJECT..ITS SATIRE…

    WHY IF PBS WAS SO CONCERNED ABOUT OUR KIDS DID THEY NOT LET PARENTS TAKE A VOTE
    ..
    AS PARENTS WE HAVE A RIGHT TO SAY WHAT OUR KIDS WATCH..

    AND AS FOR THE OTHERS WHO ARE AGAINST MELANIE..
    HOW WOULD A 2 TO 5 YEAR OLD LEARN TO SPELL AND FIND A WEB SITE WITH OUT SOMEONE OLDER HELPING THEM..?..

    I MONITOR MY 15 YEAR OLD AND ANY THING MY THREE YEAR OLD DOES..ITS OUR JOB TO KEEP OUR KIDS SAFE..IT OUR CHOICE…

    SAVE MELANIE

  34. Protect children, and keep them safe. First and foremost. Melanie was aimed at a pre-shcool audience.
    I would love to meet the pre-schooler who watches Sprout and could find this link on the ‘net.
    As for when they are older they will learn that MOST people will take jobs when they are younger that they may regret later. Not the worst thing they will learn, and not the worst they will hear. I only hope that instead of judgement and condemnation, they learn to think for themselves and use common sense mixed wiht sympathy.

  35. What the hell are you talking about, Billie? Parents are supposed to parent their kids, not let them run wild. Why would a kid be on the internet unchecked when they can run into any adult type of material without parental control on the web browser? Why would a preschool child even be on the internet unsupervised? Give me a break, Billie.

  36. I am completely furious and disappointed at PBS Kids Sprout for their spineless decision in dismising Melanie. My daughter watched the Good Night Show for Melanie rather than the programming.
    The values that the programming aims to teach the preschoolers – fairness, honestly, courage – the network execs displayed none of these when they decided to let Melanie go. Perhaps their positions should be reconsidered.. these values are far more important than a 30 sec segment produced years ago that has already disappeared into oblivion.

  37. Of course PBS fired her. PBS goes hat-in-hand annually to Congress for an appropriation. Most of the Republican majority in Congress wants PBS shut down entirely. PBS had to make Melanie Martinez a sacrificial lamb. While the majority of funding for PBS programming comes from “viewers like you”, Congress gives PBS its biggest funding bloc. You want a different PBS? Elect a different Congress.

  38. All I know is that my 2 year old ask to watch Melanie and Star every night how do i explain to her that she is gone? Why does it matter what Melanie did in the past? Everyone says she shouldn’t be teaching our children if that is the case what do we really know about the teachers in our school systems?? I guess we should just fire them all!!! Maybe we should all home school all our children since we know that we never ever did anything wrong in our past!!!!!!!!!!

  39. We just sent Barney a friendship message to Melanie on Sprout’s website. I put it on the Save Melanie website,too.
    Join me and Celia, my daughter who loved her. She was so happy that we sent the message. Maybe the messages will tell Melanie that we are thinking of her.

  40. My little boy started asking about her today while he was winding down before he his bedtime. I told him she was just on vacation and she’ll be back soon. I hope the people who are in charge of Sprout realize that what she did in the past has ABSOLUTLY no bearing on what she is doing now for our children.

    I guess the corporate types who run Sprout and PBS do not realize that the narrator of Thomas the Tank engine have been an admitted drug and alcohol abuser, Ringo Starr. A man who came up with the “7 dirty words” that aren’t aloud on broadcast television and radio…George Carlin. And Alec Baldwin, a mediocre actor at best who has some political views some might not see eye to eye with.

    It’s a dangerous and disgraceful way of doing business.

  41. ADULTS KNOW THAT SHE IS AN ACTOR AND MY 3 CHILDREN UNDER 5YEARS OLD WOULD NEVER KNOW OR CARE ABOUT HER PREVIOUS JOBS. THEY MISS HER.

  42. I agree that firing this woman was wrong.

    However, I’m also a little disturbed that so many children need to watch a TV show before bed at night. People are talking about toddlers kissing Melanie before bed and being distressed about missing her. Why are two year olds watching TV in the first place?

    There are things in the world that are a much greater threat to our children than the firing of Melanie. I hope everyone who took the time to protest Melanie’s firing will also take the time to work against other problems in the world.

    (Before I get attacked for not undetrstanding what it’s like: I have 2 kids a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old baby, they do not watch TV. I like TV and have every intention of letting my kids watch it when they’reolder. I just don’t think it’s developmentally appropriate for babies and toddlers)

  43. Hello, it happened how many years ago????
    Just let Melanie come back. My son loves her. So do I, she is much more entertaining than Leo, he bores me to death. I don’t care what she did almost a decade ago, she keeps my one year old entertained so I can make dinner for the other 2 children and my husband every day of the week after an 8 hour work day. WE LOVE MELANIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be a butt about what she did in college, just let her entertain our children in the here and now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    Thanks

  44. Unfortunately, the National Education Board is IN CHANRGE of PBS and Sprouts. Has anybody noticed how insanely “zero tolerance” the Child Welfare, the Boards of Education, the Law and society IN GENERAL have become when it comes to sexual inappropriateness involving children in ANY way at all what-so-ever?!!? Believe me, it’s a whole LOT worse than mere “zero tolerance!!!” In light of that, what happened to Melanie does not surprise me one bit. In fact, the way things are today, she may be lucky that being fired is the ONLY thing that ended up happening to her!!! Hint: Law Enforcement watches these things like a HAWK!!! And when THEY get involved in matters that even “hint” at sexual inappropriateness and CHILDREN, believe me, it ain’t pretty!!! Anybody remember what happened to the TV show “skins?” As I recall, even Nancy Grace flew into one of her “rages” over THAT one!!! ( I think a few of the “producers” of the show got charged with “indecency involving minors!” And that, no doubt meant JAIL! )And the children’s television networks have been simply “terrified” ever since!!! What is this parental decency “hit squad” like? Think of the Warden in Shawshank Redemption! Think of Mayberry’s Barney Fife! Think of Ms. Gulch ( from Kansas in the Wizard of Oz!)! Think of Caledon Hockley from the movie Titanic! Think of Percey Wetmore from The Green Mile! Then add in Nancy Grace and Chris Hansen!!! Add to that a whole bunch of CPS workers, wealthy prosecutors, rigid School Board members, Law Enforcement officials, all backed by JUDGES, and … you get the picture!!!!!! It was this very same so-called “Coalition for Concerned Parents” that got the original Teen Titans cartoon pulled before they could even finish the cliff-hanger season ‘finale!’ The producers were given court issued “cease and dessist” papers stating that any further production would result in swift legal cosequences! 2 “offenses” we’re cited: 1. Inappropriate behavior involving minors ( The “minors” being portrayed DO NOT HAVE TO BE REAL INDIVIDUALS! )! The unforgivable offense? Robin and Starfire demonstrated that they “had feelings” for each other!!! You just don’t DO that in modern, regulated cartoonery!!! The “other” offense? Too much “violence” ( punching, kicking, etc,.) which, like Popeye, teaches kids and teens that fighting is OK!!! The new anti-violence thing is also why the PowerPuff Girls got pulled!!! It taught GIRLS to fight! Another SERIOUS “no-no” in the modern ultra-regulated cartoon and children’s entertainment industries! And like the “Jr. Sproutlets” and the “Doodle Bops”, the future actors and actresses have to be SPAYED AND NEUTERED AT BIRTH and must be “raised” on the SET ( a basic “lock-down situation” ) so that 1. They will be incapable of thinking, doing, or saying anything even “slightly” controversial in nature, and 2. They will only know how to exist AS that which they were created and STRICTLY raised to BE!!!! ( The Doodle Bops, Jr. Sproutlets, or whatever! And even in their spayed and neutered condition, they must never be let out of their tightly regulated, controlled “phantom-zone” type studio world, lest they be “tainted” with some sort of SIN! For when that happens, they become “heathen” and are no longer “fit” to entertain CHILDREN!!!!! Poor Melanie Rodriguez obviously managed to “escape” PBS’s tightly controlled, sterile little “phantom-zone”, did something “slightly” mediocre while AWOL, and now, she’s banished FOREVER!!!
    Man, this extreme “zero tolerance on PCP” is REALLY starting to SUCK!!!!

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