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BET Sticking With Hot Ghetto ‘Mess’

July 16, 2007 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News

( BET executives Sunday defended their upcoming program “Hot Ghetto Mess,” which has already had advertisers pull out because of claims that it features negative depictions of African-Americans.

BET Entertainment president Reginald Hudlin, speaking Sunday at the Television Critics Association meeting in Los Angeles, said BET was going forward with the program, noting none of those criticizing the show had seen it. It’s scheduled to air later this month.

The program is based on a Web site that, through photos and videos, illustrates socially and politically incorrect behavior, mostly by African Americans. Mr. Hudlin, who took the reins at BET two years ago, said the show was part of the network’s effort to address those problems in a way that would be appealing to 18 to 34-year-old viewers.

“The biggest critics are going to be the biggest fans,” he said.

Mr. Hudlin said the network did not present the show to critics at the TCA meeting because it wasn’t finished. Nor has the show been presented to advertisers.

Nonetheless, the ruckus over the show has already caused Home Depot and State Farm to pull their ads.

While the controversy likely will bring attention to “Hot Ghetto Mess,” Mr. Hudlin said he’s concerned that the network’s other shows could be overlooked.

“We’re not doing escapism,” Mr. Hudlin said, adding that with a broad programming slate, BET is trying to be the “responsible broadcaster people want us to be.”

By Jon Lafayette

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