Anti-Child Abuse Group Wants The Who Out Of Super Bowl Show

If a Florida-based child abuse group gets its wish, next month’s Super Bowl halftime show won’t feature The Who. has a problem with guitarist Pete Townshend’s criminal history – namely, his 2003 arrest on charges of accessing child pornography.

“I’m a fan of the band, I grew up with The Who. Pete Townshend is the only issue, and the issue is that he’s a former registered sex offender,” founder and CEO Evin Daly told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The issue is, it sends the wrong message to American families.”

Townshend was arrested after a child pornography Web site in Texas was infiltrated by the FBI and pulled up information on 6,000 Britons who had used their credit cards on the site, according to the BBC News.

The guitarist admitted to using his credit card to access the child pornography Web site but explained that he was sexually abused as a child and that he was conducting research for his autobiography.

E-mails to child protection charities backed up Townshend’s research story. 

He pleaded guilty but avoided trial, instead receiving a formal police caution and having his name placed on a British sex offenders’ watch list for five years.

Photo: AP Photo
Formula One Grand Prix, Melbourne, Australia, along with another Florida-based group, Protect Our Children, is pressuring the media, politicians and sponsors of the Super Bowl XLIV to reconsider the halftime entertainment.

Daly admitted that it may be hard to convince the NFL to find a new band.

“First of all, the NFL — like all these big organizations — they have a corporate ego. It’s very hard for them to backtrack and say, ‘We were wrong,’ ” Daly said.

Joe Browne, NFL executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said the NFL is aware of the guitarist’s arrest and previous inclusion on the British sex offenders’ watch list.

“We recognize that the Super Bowl is annually watched by millions of Americans and we have worked hard in recent years to ensure the presentation is suitable for this mass audience,” Browne wrote in a letter to Daly, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Browne also pointed out Townshend’s “long history of involvement with charity work as well as being a champion of children’s charities.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press on Friday that Townshend and the rest of The Who will perform at this year’s Super Bowl.

“U.K. police cleared him since he was doing research for a project on child abuse,” McCarthy said.

Super Bowl XLIV takes place Feb. 7 at LandShark Stadium in Miami.

Click here for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel article.

Click here for the AP article.

Click here for the BBC News article.