HBO Exec Defends Scenes of Sex and Violence in ‘Game of Thrones’

“Game of Thrones” (HBO) Emmy Awards

LONDON — Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president of programming, has defended the inclusion of graphic scenes of sex and violence in “Game of Thrones.”

Lombardo told attendees at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival that the pay TV operator had more freedom than free-to-view broadcasters, but used that freedom responsibly, the Guardian reported.

“It is an adult service. Our subscribers pay a fee for uncensored shows,” he said. “My job is to be in business with responsible creative forces. And if I am doing that I trust their decisions about what is appropriate for the character or not. And I feel we made the right choice with Dan (Weiss) and Dave (Benioff) and they continue to try to be responsible.

“As long as I feel that (violence) isn’t the reason (people) are watching the show, that it isn’t a show trying to attract viewers with sex and violence, I am not going to play police.”

Lombardo argued that the showrunners, Dan Weiss and David Benioff, have stayed true to the original books.

“I don’t think (graphic scenes) have ever been without any purpose. Dan and Dave are two very sober, thoughtful men. They have books as a map, which involve wars, violence, sex. We have certainly not given them an edict or a note that they need to tone down the sexual content in the show,” he said.

A scene showing the character of Jaime Lannister raping his twin sister, Cersei, has sparked heated debate as some critics have argued that in George R.R. Martin’s books they have consensual sex.

Lombardo said: “I appreciate there was some controversy, and it generated a conversation about what consensual sex is and isn’t.”

He added: “People responsible for programming have two responsibilities. To be responsible, not to have sex and violence that’s gratuitous. That is certainly not who we are. At the same time we don’t want to be a censor that inhibits the authentic organic creative process by policing how many breasts should be on a show.”

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  1. Dolores says:

    There is still more female nudity, than male. Also, no mater how you show it rape is rape. Shows on non-pay and pay channels have gotten more violent through the years. Comedy shows are more racy, there are few shows that are suitable for family viewing in the early evening. People can choose what they want to watch, but there seems to be less and less to watch.

  2. Mur says:

    The complaint has been that there is an imbalance in the quality and quantity of nudity between male vs female characters and some scenes showing nudity do it gratuitously. If a scene exists in the book where a couple has been or will be intimate and both are nude or partially nude, make it realistic, sure. But the number of scenes with women being topless (and sometimes bottomless) and caressing and canoodling while males are fully clothed or only shirtless are more than I can count. It is unrealistic that men having/just had sex are artistically or conveniently covered but the females are not. Don’t try and make excuses for that. As for arguing you raised a conversation about what is/isn’t consensual sex, don’t be foolish. Rape is rape. The book scene was not rape, it was a sad, twisted, tender homecoming. The show was rape. The only conversation to be had was “why the hell did you make it rape when that wasn’t what happened in the book.” Your responsibility isn’t to the breast count, it is to the quality and faithfulness of the adaptation and when you take liberties with that that skew female-exploitative and people stop and say “hold on a minute, that’s too much” you need to listen to them and stop washing your hands of it.

    • Don Cristobel says:

      Technically I believe there is a reason, maybe. I think standards and practices allow the showing of a flaccid penis, but not an erect one. Obviously if you show a flaccid penis during sex you’re admitting it is all fake. Of course we know its all fake, but the goal of the show should be to make everything as real as possible. We know the dragons are fake too, but they still spend untold millions making them look as real as possible. So in response to your complaint of not having more male nudity during sex scenes, that could be an obvious reason. If it makes you feel better, the average R rated comedy these days shows far more male nudity than female nudity. I blame Jason Segel.

  3. Daisuki says:

    I think ITTY IT needs to relax a little. And try harder to explain his thoughts in a manner in which most people can understand her.

  4. Julienne says:

    They shouldn’t have to defend it. You have to PAY for HBO to watch it! HELLO??????????

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