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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 15:12 GMT
MTV rapped by watchdogs
Prodigy singer Keith Flint has courted controversy
Prodigy singer Keith Flint has courted controversy
Music channel MTV is being forced to make an on-air apology after showing a controversial video by The Prodigy before the 9pm watershed.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) acted after seven viewers complained over the showing of Smack My Bitch Up on MTV Base at 1840GMT.

The video features scenes of drug-taking, vomiting and sex and is deemed suitable for transmission between 0100 and 0400.

MTV agreed it should not have been shown at that time, saying it had been mistaken for another video.

Leeroy Thornhill left The Prodigy earlier this year
Leeroy Thornhill left The Prodigy earlier this year
The video and song sparked huge controversy when it was first released in 1997.

A spokesman for the ITC said the incident represented such a serious breach of their programme code that the channel should broadcast an apology to viewers.

The on-air apology is rarely called upon and is only used for the most serious breaches of the ITC code.

The last time a channel was ordered to apologise on air was Channel Four, over Chris Morris' spoof documentary Brass Eye, which parodied the media's coverage of paedophilia.

Despite the video's controversial nature, Smack My Bitch Up won three awards at the MTV video music awards, including the best video honour.


The band have always skirted with controversy ever since they formed in the early 1990s.

Its four members had a series of chart hits at the height of the rave scene in Britain.

Their biggest hit was Firestarter, which hit the number one spot in the UK, also sparked outrage over complaints that it encouraged arson.

The band, now a three-piece after the departure of Leeroy Thornhill, are due to release a new album early next year.
Complaint about Eminem interview upheld
Complaint about Eminem interview on MTV was upheld

The on-air apology will be broadcast on MTV on 12 December.

This the second time that MTV Base has been rapped by TV watchdogs in the last six months.

The channel, dedicated to videos from hip/hop and R & B artists, showed an interview between rapper Eminem and producer Dr Dre.

One viewer complained over the sexually explicit nature of the conversation.

MTV apologised, saying the interview should have gone out at a later time, and the complaint was upheld.

See also:

30 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
MTV to cut workforce
04 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Channel 4 comedy 'unacceptable'
15 Feb 99 | Brit Awards
Prodigy star puts his back into campaign
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