A sex scene in ABC comedy Rake did not breach the Broadcast Services Act, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has found, despite a complainant saying the scene was “gratuitous pornography” that “gave tacit approval to the violent sexual expression of male dominance and encouraged the belief by younger viewers that such behaviour was normal and desired by women”.

The scene, broadcast on May 26 this year, was about 30 seconds long and depicted a conjugal prison visit between Edgar Thompson and an unidentified woman. According to the ABC’s description:

“Edgar Thompson is in prison and engages in implied sexual intercourse with a woman in a prison cell. A partially clothed woman is facing the wall and a partially clothed man is thrusting from behind. The first view is a brief wide shot, where the woman’s hands are seen on the man’s buttocks. Continued thrusting is shown in a waist high close-up shot, the man’s hands are shown on the woman’s covered breasts. In the final wide shot showing the man thrusting behind the woman, the man’s nude buttocks are shown briefly.”

A complainant objected to the scene, saying it depicted “simulated anal intercourse”. ACMA disagreed, saying “there is nothing to indicate that is the case”. The regulator also noted the scene was “consensual and non-violent”. Because of the appropriate classification and warning given at the start of the program, ACMA did not find a breach of the broadcasting code. Other factors considered by ACMA included the short length of the scene, and the lack of detailed nudity.

Peter Fray

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