The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) has hit the Nine Network with an “enforceable undertaking”, its most severe punishment, over a gay sex scene in the television series Dante’s Cove.

ACMA was responding to a complaint alleging that a December 9 episode of the show screened at 10.30 at night should have been given an R rating.

“It had detailed and explicit scenes of oral sex etc and in one scene you got a full frontal view of the man’s genitals,” wrote the complainant.

ACMA found the offending scene contained significant quantities of, “unambiguous visual detail” including, “thrusting during simulated fellatio”, “thrusting during simulated intercourse” and “genital nudity in a sexual context”.

“The length of the scene and the unambiguous visual detail, including genital nudity, are such that the intimate sexual behaviour is not discreetly implied or discreetly simulated. It therefore cannot be accommodated within the AV classification.”

Nine argued in its defence that a flaccid penis should be as acceptable as naked breasts and that the scene did not contain depictions of “genital penetration, oral stimulation … genital contact or other forms of explicit sex.”

Nine’s chief classifier Richard Lyle told other media this year he believed ACMA had a bias against male-to male-sex, a claim  denied by ACMA Chair Chris Chapman.

Nine’s classifiers will now have to attend training approved by the Director of the Classification Board. However it is hard to determine what impact this will have as the Classifications Board itself assessed the first season of Dante’s Cove as

MA15+ for DVD for its violence and horror themes — not its sexual content, which the Board deemed would have been acceptable for an M rating by itself.

Episodes of Dante’s Cove broadcast over the next two years will now have to be edited and Nine must provide weekly reports to ACMA on any complaints it receives about the show.

Nine must also provide reports to ACMA on its overall compliance every six months for the next two years.

Nine already planned to edit season two of Dante’s Cove which is R rated on DVD, but the ruling means that it will have to edit season three as well — also deemed MA15+ by the Classifications Board.

As a result of the ruling, Nine was unable to comment on the matter.

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