Terry Rakolta (born Terry Lynn Stern, September 18, 1944) is an American homemaker and former anti-obscenity activist, best known for leading a boycott against the Fox Broadcasting Company sitcom Married... with Children in 1989.
Life and family
Rakolta's sister, Ronna Romney, is a Republican political activist and radio talk show host, who was formerly married to G. Scott Romney, the son of former Michigan governor George Romney and brother of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Rakolta's husband was a National Chairman for Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign.
Married… with Children boycott
Rakolta was prompted to write to the sponsors of Married… with Children after her kids had watched the episode "Her Cups Runneth Over" on January 15, 1989, in which Al Bundy and his friend Steve purchase a bra for Al's wife, Peggy. That very same episode had also showed Al ogling at a naked model in a department store, but with her back facing the camera. Several sponsors decided to cancel their commercials in response.
Fox responded to the boycott by moving the show's time slot from 8:30 to 9 PM and toning down the level of "raunch" in the series, reducing the amount of sexual content and implied nudity. Fox also decided not to air a potentially offensive episode titled "I'll See You in Court". Known as the "Lost Episode", it was finally aired in 2002 on FX and was packaged with the rest of the third season in the 2005 DVD release. The episode has aired outside America as a regular episode of season three ever since the show went into syndication.
However, the boycott did little economic damage to Fox and to Married… with Children. A year after the boycott, nearly all the defecting advertisers had returned, and ratings were higher. Rakolta herself felt that her boycott had contributed to the show's higher viewership.
- A Mother Is Heard as Sponsors Abandon a TV Hit (March 2, 1989) New York Times
- Honorary Consulates of Romania in the US: Detroit, Michigan
- Mitt Romney Bolsters National Finance Committee Leaders
- Has 'Married' Been Muzzled?, Gene Seymour and Veronica Byrd, Entertainment Weekly, February 16, 1990
- I'll See You in Court overview
- Terry Rakolta's Fight against Married... with Children
- Americans for Responsible Television profile via Response Unlimited