A British television show aiming to promote body positivity showed adult men stripping naked in front of children. The program has been the subject of hundreds of complaints to the U.K.’s communications watchdog following the airing of its first episode last Tuesday.
“Naked Education,” which is broadcast on Channel 4, features adults who take their clothes off in front of underage teenagers who are then required to give feedback on the body parts they see in front of them.
“I’ve never seen, like, a full, naked man before,” one teenager told producers during the first episode.
“It’s just a lot to process. Naked men in real life. We’ve never really seen it,” added another young girl after four adult men stood in front of the group of children and dropped their bathrobes to bare all.
Its host, Anna Richardson, said ahead of the first episode last week, “If you’re curious about your body, and your life’s journey (whatever that may be), then tune in.” She described the program as “educational, emotional, joyous.”
However, a total of 930 complaints from members of the public were received by Britain’s broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, after the first episode, far more than the 66 complaints received for the second most offending program last week.
One adult participant, Liam Halewood, defended the show on Wednesday, telling a panel on GB News that he went on the show “to just show that people can be themselves and be confident.” When asked whether he accepted the show could be deemed “perverse” and potentially dangerous, the participant rejected this notion.
Halewood was challenged on his analysis of the show by political commentator Connor Tomlinson, who revealed that an episode of the identical show produced in Denmark recently had to be pulled because one of the participants was found to be a convicted pedophile.
Broadcaster Channel 4 has vigorously defended the show and its intentions. Its chief content officer, Ian Katz, wrote in response to criticism: “Anyone who suggests that the Channel 4 show Naked Education promotes pedophilia or is abusive of children almost certainly hasn’t watched it.
“The show counters the dangerous myths and toxic images that teenagers are bombarded with by exposing them to real, normal bodies and engaging them in an open, safe conversation about them.
“It would be hard to think of a clearer example of valuable public service broadcasting that challenges the kind of misconceptions that too often cause anxiety and feelings of inadequacy in young people,” he added.
The show’s co-host, Dr. Alex George, added: “The show is all about body positivity and educating people on what ‘normal’ bodies actually look like.
“We talk about everything from the ageing body to [penis] size, answering the questions people are afraid to ask,” he wrote on Instagram.
“We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules before deciding whether or not to investigate,” an Ofcom spokesperson said in response.