Case | HBS Case Collection | September 1994 (Revised January 1997)

This Case Sucks: Beavis, Butt-head, and TV Content (A)

by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. and Jerry Useem


Beginning in 1992, "Beavis and Butt-head," an animated series on MTV about two uncivilized teenaged misfits, became both a runaway popular sensation and the symbol of a heated national debate about violent and inappropriate programming on television. Especially after the show was blamed for inspiring a five-year-old to set a fire that killed his younger sister, the controversy posed difficult decisions both for MTV's parent company, Viacom, and for advertisers, including some of America's biggest.

Keywords: Debates; Decision Choices and Conditions; Animation Entertainment; Fairness; Governance Controls; Media; Outcome or Result; Social Issues; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;


Badaracco, Joseph L., Jr., and Jerry Useem. "This Case Sucks: Beavis, Butt-head, and TV Content (A)." Harvard Business School Case 395-053, September 1994. (Revised January 1997.)