April 17, 2012: AMTA Encourages Massage Therapists to Contact Advertisers for The Client List
AMTA recommends massage therapists continue to express their views and concerns about the Lifetime TV series, The Client List. The association encourages massage therapists to join others on Facebook who have mounted an effort to protest directly to advertisers on the show. Check out this page for links to sponsor Facebook pages.
AMTA is also continuing its efforts to draw media and public attention to the unfair portrayal of massage therapists on the show.
April 5, 2012: AMTA President Cynthia Ribeiro was interviewed recently by CNN Entertainment on why massage therapists are upset about the upcoming Lifetime Channel series, The Client List. The association has been working with CNN producers for several weeks to get the story on the air.
The goal of the interview is to let the public know why massage therapists are upset about the show and that massage therapists not only expect their profession to be respected, but they are concerned for their safety. Ribeiro told the interviewer, “None of us wants to face more people who think it is OK to expect sex from a massage therapist. This is a matter of safety for us, as well as respect. I told them no one should ever expect sex from a massage therapist. We are not prostitutes. We are health care and wellness professionals.”
AMTA contacted executives at both Lifetime and its parent company, A&E, in early February as promotions for the TV series began. After more than a month of conversation, the executives and producers decided they would not agree to even a disclaimer on the show at this time.
While working behind the scenes to negotiate with the producers and network, AMTA has told massage therapists to continue to express their views about the show to Lifetime. This strategic approach has gradually gotten the attention of several media outlets, which are now asking if the producers understand the views of massage therapists. AMTA does not expect the series to be cancelled and encourages massage therapists to continue to express their views to Lifetime. The association will continue to work with media outlets and others to explain to consumers the importance of treating massage therapists with the professional respect they deserve.
February 23, 2012: AMTA has discussed the concerns of massage therapists about the upcoming TV series, The Client List, with the Senior Vice President of Communications for the A&E Networks. AMTA was assured that they have no intention of offending massage therapists. The association will monitor the series and communicate directly to their top executives if there are more concerns when the series is aired. We feel they understand our concerns and have provided us with the following statement:
“We appreciate your feedback concerning the new Lifetime Television series entitled, The Client List. For many years, Lifetime television has explored the complexity of women's lives and their stories through fiction and non-fiction movies, series and programs. The Client List is a fictionalized story about the experiences of a single mother as she unexpectedly faces dire economic circumstances. The series also features a broad range of characters with alternative points of view who make different choices. The Client List is not intended to depict any specific spa or massage entity, nor in any way demean or disparage the therapeutic massage profession and its benefits and contributions to the health and wellness industry.”
While AMTA doesn’t view the response from A&E as a victory, the personal communication from the corporate office shows that they are listening to AMTA and that they have heard the feedback from our strong community of professional massage therapists.
This situation continues to evolve and AMTA, as your association, will monitor the show and continue to advocate on your behalf and update you as we gain more information. Massage therapists should certainly continue to express their views on the show to the network and the producers.
February 7, 2012: AMTA wants members and others in the massage therapy association to know that the association is aware of the new Lifetime TV series called “The Client List” and has taken action to share the concerns expressed by many about how it might imply that it is common for massage therapists to also be prostitutes.
On Monday, February 6, 2012 AMTA sent a communication to the President and CEO of the A&E Network, copying other executives for the company that owns Lifetime, about the implications for massage therapists and the profession. The association will be monitoring their response and will consider other action to emphasize the importance of respecting the professionalism of massage therapists.
See AMTA’s public statement calling for professional respect from the media.