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GQ Glee shoot turns some heads, and turns some stomachs

by on October 31, 2010

The Problem

Recently, GQ ran an article called “Glee Gone Wild,” featuring a photo spread 2 of the popular television series cast members in skimpy outfits. The Parents Television Council quickly lambasted GQ, the producers, and the cast members for putting forth a shoot “bordering on pedophilia” as the scenes were based on the under-age high school characters– though the actresses are each 24 years old. Their statement:

“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show’s direction. And it isn’t good for families.”

To further complicate the PR disaster, Linda Holmes writing for NPR refocuses to target the nature of the photos, rather than their adult subjects, pointing out that the photos are meant to convey sexualized childishness and therein lies the real issue.

·         Glee currently holds the #4 spot for broadcast TV by this weeks’ Neilson ratings

·         GQ Is a highly recognized Mens Magazine which has sought to cater to a more sophisticated reader than it’s competition

·         At the same time, this must be balanced against the potential value of scandal


The Solution

Scandal will probably do GQ and Glee well, as viewers want to know what all of the fuss is about. In the meantime, the turbulence might pose a problem for Glee. Ideally, they will be able to capitalize on the attention while shifting dangerous or turbulent criticism away.

Since the actresses involved have most public role in the controversy, It will be useful to have them reach out through their social media presence (noted below) to either express an apology or to defend their position. In either case, the response needs to be strategically managed so that the issue doesn’t grow, and also so that viewers who enjoy the sultry nature of the show don’t feel that it’s lost its teeth and rolled over.

Every apology is going to need to be two-sided, and it should seek to continue the debate among people who agree with the interests of the show. In short, this instance is really an opportunity to generate buzz and get a couple cast members on prominent talk shows. If the debate continues long enough to schedule appearances, but not long enough to cause turbulence with the network, this will be a bit win for Glee in the ratings.

Social Media Presences

Lea Michele
Twitter – @alittlelamb (406k followers)

Diana Agron
Blog –
Twitter – @alittlelamb  (173k followers)



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