At the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, HBO’s president of programming, Michael Lombardo, defends scenes of sex, violence, and rape in Thrones:
I personally don’t see myself as a libertine. I don’t think [graphic scenes] have ever been without any purpose. Dan [Weiss] and Dave [Benioff] are two very sober, thoughtful men. They have books as a map. Which involve wars, violence, sex. We have certainly not given them an edict or a note that they need to tone down the sexual content in the show.
According to Lombardo, HBO is a responsible broadcaster and those in programming have two responsibilities: to be responsible and not to have gratuitous sex and violence. He also points out that as an adult, pay-TV channel, HBO has more freedom than free-to-air broadcasters.
As long as I feel that [violence] isn’t the reason [people] are watching the show, that it isn’t a show trying to attract viewers with sex and violence, I am not going to play police.