By Meg Dickens
Members of the Johnson County A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition decided to join forces with the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America to fight back against NBC after it aired a Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch focused around young children drinking alcohol. The comedy sketch was set as a satire public service announcement promoting “Let Kids Drink.” Now A.C.T.I.O.N. is petitioning NBC to remove this skit from all platforms and consider better judgment on future content.
SNL’s skit mentions the phrase “let kids drink” a half dozen times in less than four minutes along with arguments on why to do so. The video features multiple children consuming what looks like different types of beer and cocktails, along with a caption saying these children are drunk. As of Monday, May 18, the video on YouTube had nearly 1,500,000 views.
“As a community substance use and misuse prevention coalition, our work on preventing underage alcohol use is of utmost importance,” said Executive Director Trish Burchette in a letter petitioning NBC. “Especially during this time of uncertainty and fear, sharing content that features youth alcohol use and parents allowing underage drinking could be extremely damaging to our prevention efforts.”
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) studies, feelings surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to more prevalent drinking. NIAA studies also show that heavy alcohol consumption weakens the user’s immune system and ability to fight back against both viral and bacterial infections, which can cause increased susceptibility to COVID-19.
Johnson County has seen younger children getting involved with drug and alcohol use in recent years. According to A.C.T.I.O.N data, students as young as fourth grade, nine to 10-year-olds, have tried some form of drugs or alcohol. A.C.T.I.O.N members are concerned that SNL’s “Let Kid’s Drink” is targeting an already vulnerable audience. One particular way is by using the image and voice of beloved snowman Olaf’s from the popular billion-dollar grossing films Frozen and Frozen 2.
“This video was in extremely poor taste and targeted some of our youngest and most vulnerable population, our kids,” said Office Manager Stephanie Walters. “The Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America drafted a response to this appalling video, and we at A.C.T.I.O.N are pleased to stand behind them in their efforts to make NBC aware of the dangers of this type of satire.”