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Skins Too Sexy for Taco Bell, but Is It Child Porn?

Skins MTV

Update: Another sponsor has said so long to the racy MTV teen drama. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wrigley has decided it wants nothing to do with the show that has come under heavy fire from groups like the Parents Television Council. In a statement, the company said it has "decided to suspend any advertising during MTV's Skins as it was never our intent to endorse content that could offend consumers."

Skins needs to ease up on the skin.

Already one advertiser down, parent company Viacom has asked producers to tone down the sexy scenarios amid worries that the MTV series, about a group of rambunctious teens and their sexual exploits, was venturing into child-pornography territory, the New York Times reported Thursday.

And the argument that the actors are all adults (i.e. over 18) doesn't hold water in this case.

PHOTOS: Here's some celebrity skin

The largely unknown actors playing high school kids in the show are between the ages of 15 and 19, a deliberate casting decision in order to lend authenticity to the scripted antics, which are based on a British series of the same name.

So, unlike the twentysomething Glee stars who posed for controversial GQ pics last year, some of the Skins stars really are minors in the eyes of the law.

MTV stands by the production, which is rated TV-MA and airs at the more adult-friendly hour of 10 p.m., and says careful consideration is given to every scene.

"Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way," MTV spokesman Jeannie Kedas said in a statement obtained by E! News.

"We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.  We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate."

The Times said that Viacom execs were particularly worried about the upcoming third episode of Skins, which features a backside shot of a naked 17-year-old male running down the street.

But one episode, which aired Monday and attracted 3.3 million viewers, was apparently enough for Taco Bell, which has pulled all advertising from Skins' timeslot and plans to redirect it to other MTV programming.

"We advertise on a variety of MTV programs that reach our core demographic of 18 to 34 year olds, which included the premiere episode of Skins," a Taco Bell spokesman said. "Upon further review, we've decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming."

The trigger-happy Parents Television Council has taken it a step further, penning a letter to the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice to immediately open an investigation into allegations of child pornography and exploitation on Skins.

"On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, Skins," PTC President Tim Winter wrote in the letter. "The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content. Moreover, future episodes promise much more of the same."

And with that, we predict twice the number of people tune into next week's episode.

(Originally published Jan 20, 2011, at 4:48 p.m., PT)

PHOTOS: What's so wild about Skins?

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