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'Scandal' torture scene criticised by Parents Television Council

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Kerry Washington, Django Unchained film photocall, Rome, Italy, 04/01/13

© Rex Features

Scandal has been criticised by The Parents Television Council for airing a torture scene.

A recent episode of the ABC drama featured scenes of violence and water-boarding, with the PTC criticising the network for broadcasting the "brutal" sequence.

"The brutal nature of that scene, which was rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, refutes statements made by an industry claiming to be responsible and concerned about societal violence," the organisation said in a statement.

PTC president Tim Winter added: "It is sickening just how quickly the entertainment industry was able to move past the tragedy of Newtown and get back to business as usual."

The episode in question - Scandal's January 10 instalment - was preceded by a content advisory which warned viewers to expect "intense, explicit and bloodied" scenes.

John Landgraf - president of cable network FX - recently called for more studies on how on-screen violence affects viewers.

Meanwhile, Fox chief Kevin Reilly warned against using shows such as his own network's horror drama The Following as "a scapegoat" for issues relating to real-world violence.

"Everyone is... wanting to put a finger on one thing that's the problem," he said. "We are just in an age of complex issues. It's no one simple thing."

In its statement, the PTC called on the Obama administration to enforce "real responsibility from those who produce and distribute violent media content as well as real reform of the failed TV ratings system".

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Watch a promo for Scandal's January 10 episode below:

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