Profanity: NBC Says FCC Is Violating Its Own Indecency Standard

Profanity: NBC Says FCC Is Violating Its Own Indecency Standard 1No, the commissioners aren’t swearing on television between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but NBC says that the FCC’s profanity findings against phrases like Cher’s “Fuck ’em” on Fox’s Billboard Awards or Bono’s “Fucking brilliant” on NBC’s Golden Globes, both cited by the FCC, are misapplied and contrary to “its own standard, common sense, conventional wisdom and ordinary usage.”

In its brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in the broadcaster court challenge to that new FCC profanity enforcement policy, NBC says the FCC decision should be reversed and that “no reasonable observer could actually conclude that Cher was exhorting the audience to have ‘sexual activities’ with those critics, or that her comment related somehow to sexual organs.”

The FCC has said that the word “fuck” has an implicit sexual meaning that gives it its power as an intensifier.

NBC says it is not saying a “properly designed indecency regime could never bar the repeated broadcast of expletives used as intensifiers” but that the FCC cannot “transform a standard that expressly requires material to ‘describe or depict’ sex into a dragnet for words that neither depict nor describe sexual or excretory activity.”

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