ABMP Calls for Cancellation of Lifetime’s Unsavory MT Portrayal

The television network Lifetime is releasing a new series called “The Client List.” The storyline: Single mother massage therapist ends up working at a “spa” that is really a storefront for prostitution. ABMP has sent the following letter to the network’s president calling for the show’s cancellation. If you would like to register a complaint with Lifetime Network, you may join other massage therapists commenting on “The Client List’s” Facebook page.

February 9, 2012

Lifetime Networks
Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager
111 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10011


Dear Ms. Dubuc:

It is with great disappointment that we’ve reviewed the site and accompanying music video for the March premiere of “The Client List” on Lifetime Networks (www.mylifetime.com/shows/the-client-list).

It’s unacceptable that Lifetime has chosen to develop a story line around an outdated stereotype that massage therapy has unsavory elements. Ironic that this promo should come to light at the same time the Los Angeles Times published a lead story underscoring the benefits of massage— www.latimes.com/health/la-he-massage-20120202,0,343517.story.

You can no doubt imagine my surprise when learning this new program was being developed for Lifetime—I assumed it was something being offered on Cinemax. Perhaps Lifetime has determined its way to stand out is to win the race to the bottom.

We represent a profession of 300,000 U.S-based massage therapists—including our 80,000 members (professional practitioners or students in training) across the country. Each one of these individuals is specifically educated and dedicated to providing therapeutic massage services to their clients. The majority of the massage profession is female­—and while a fictitious show may seem on its surface innocuous, promoting a caricature can bring unintended consequences that have the potential to harm hard-working professional women. This seems antithetical to Lifetime’s mission.

In this age of social media, word is spreading quickly. We are partnering with other leadership groups in our profession in speaking out against “The Client List.” We call on Lifetime to halt the show’s launch and look forward to celebrating its cancellation.

I am certain you and your network can do better.


Les Sweeney


Les Sweeney, NCTM