Sexual assault is a crime, not a punch line

On Wednesday night, Comedy Central aired the season premiere of a show called Workaholics. The show featured a storyline in which a group of characters meant to be Coast Guard recruiters were depicted in a vile hazing incident which included both an illegal criminal act of sexual assault and the involvement of a dog. The show went on to include a scene in which these same characters agreed to take part in a pornographic movie.

Photo of Rear Adm. Peter Gautier. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Earlier today, I joined Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle, chair of the Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention Council, and Rear Adm. Steven Poulin, The Judge Advocate General of the Coast Guard, in signing a letter to Comedy Central and its parent company, Viacom. In the letter, we reiterated that by airing this episode making light of the crime of sexual assault, Comedy Central and Viacom reinforced negative stereotypes and misperceptions that not only desensitize the crime of sexual assault but also degrade the victims of these heinous crimes. There is nothing funny about sexual assault.

We could not stand by and let this abhorrent fictional display of military culture go unchallenged anymore than you would stand by if this actually happened to one of your shipmates. That’s what we expect from each and every one of you and that’s what you should expect from us. Together, we will change our culture and drive sexual assault out of our Service.

Rear Adm. Peter Gautier
U.S. Coast Guard
Director, Governmental and Public Affairs

Letter to Comedy Central_Page One

Letter to Comedy Central_Page Two

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