Free Speech VS Censorship: Warnings From Explicit Lyrics to Trigger Warnings

Offended by lyrics they deemed too sexual and violent, Tipper Gore and Susan Baker campaigned to put warning labels on albums in 1985. Years later, warning labels have ended up in some unexpected places.

When Tipper Gore and Susan Baker founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), their campaign to put warning labels on albums sparked a debate over censorship and resulted in a dramatic Capitol Hill showdown with musicians like Frank Zappa. Ultimately, the record industry agreed to put parental advisory stickers on explicit albums, and today warning labels are commonly found on everything from music to television to video games. Which leads us to explore some age-old questions when it comes to kids and pop culture: how do we define harm? And who gets to decide?

  • Producer: Joshua Fisher
  • Editor: John MacGibbon