MTV drummed up publicity for Jersey Shore by promising controversial footage of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi being punched. Now that it has everyone's attention, MTV is backing out, pulling the footage and trying to erase it from the Internet. Good luck!
The footage of Snooki being punched was originally set to air on this Thursday's episode. Over the last several days, chatter about the incident reached an all-time high, complete with updates from the New York Post and other media outlets about the the charges faced by Snooki's attacker, New York City gym teacher Brad Ferro.
By hyping the footage of the attack on Snooki and promising to air it later, MTV got exactly what it wanted, what it had planned for all along: suddenly, everybody was talking about Jersey Shore. So, it came as quite a surprise when—yesterday morning—the network decided to not air the footage on Thursday, and issued the following statement:
What happened to "Snooki" was a crime and obviously extremely disturbing. After hearing from our viewers, further consulting with experts on the issue of violence, and seeing how the video footage has been taken out of context to not show the severity of this act or the resulting consequences, MTV has decided not to air Snooki being physically punched in next week's episode. The show will still make it clear what events transpired, including the full aftermath.
That's all well and good, except for the fact that MTV must have known what it was doing all along. How could it not? This isn't about taking the high road, it's about nipping another type of controversy—the negative reaction toward the network sure to come from anti-violence groups following the airing of the footage—in the bud.
Not only did MTV decide not to air the footage on Thursday, but the network also launched a campaign to remove any evidence that it ever existed from the Internet, reportedly policing YouTube and taking down any videos that feature the incident. And while this is a smart reaction—especially if MTV wants people to think that it's acting altruistically here, heeding the concerns of people uncomfortable with its original decision to air the footage—it's not a genuine one.
The bottom line here is that MTV manufactured a controversy, benefited from that controversy, and then tried to erase it before it backfired on them. Because of that, we've decided to show you the footage that MTV doesn't want you to see.
First, footage of the attack that MTV aired in a promo at the end of Jersey Shore's season premiere, which has since been edited out.
And now, additional footage that MTV aired in a promo following last Thursday's episode, which has also since been removed.
MTV may think it can trick people into believing that this whole thing wasn't planned from the beginning. The network may also think it can police the Internet and remove any videos featuring the footage, effectively ending the controversy it tried so hard to create in the first place.