Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2008

FCC proposes $1.4M fine for bare ‘buttocks’ on TV

January 27, 2008


— The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $1.4 million fine against 52 ABC Television Network stations over a 2003 broadcast of cop drama "NYPD Blue."

The fine is for a scene where a boy surprises a woman as she prepares to take a shower. The scene depicted "multiple, close-up views" of the woman's "nude buttocks" according to an agency order issued late Friday.

ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Co. The fines were issued against 52 stations either owned by or affiliated with the network.

FCC's definition of indecent content requires that the broadcast "depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities" in a "patently offensive way" and is aired between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The agency said the show was indecent because "it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs - specifically an adult woman's buttocks."

The agency rejected the network's argument that "the buttocks are not a sexual organ."


Bill Chapman 10 years, 4 months ago

It's what happens when you stay at home til you are 40, watch only "Leave it to Beaver" and "the Andy Griffith Show". If I were a Disney lawyer, I'd drag out the "it's art!" defense - how do you think all the music video channels get away with showing what they do?

If someone can complain about a female (or male) actresses' / actors' butt being shown on TV, shouldn't I get to complain about seeing all the over-weight, cottage cheese butts covered only by spandex at the local mall - without getting a load of cr@p dumped on me for "being insensitive"?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Too bad the FCC is not as concerned about violence in a show. A butt is hardly violent or obscene but a necessity that humans were born to use. Another over reaction very very similar to the Janet Jackson scenario. The human body is simply not obscene. The FCC authorities must have some strange thoughts running about their minds. They make the public evermore curious.

50YearResident 10 years, 4 months ago

This is opening Pandora's Box,

If they use this rule on the new shows they will have to fine quite a few of them, with both men and women offenders.

seriouscat 10 years, 4 months ago

How about just getting rid of the FCC altogether? Do we really need it? How much money does Colin Powell's son make per year protecting dumb Americans (SARCASM!) who can't think for themselves or exercise their remote control operation skills? $100,000, $200,000 or more?

Mike Blur 10 years, 4 months ago

I actually applaud this move by the gub'mint. Granted, censorship is very, very bad, but at the same time, network TV is in such sad shape that "any means necessary" should be taken to break down the multimedia hegemony today.

Disney has spent far more than $80 million (roughly the amount of the proposed fine) the past few decades buying up, neutralizing, and decommissioning smaller media outlets. $80MM is but a drop in the bucket to Big Ears.

StrangerCreek 10 years, 4 months ago

TV has become trash. Try having your 6 year old ask you what masturbate means. Or what it means on Friends when they talk about "doing it." Watch Two and Half Men and you'll hear Charlie complain about having a vagia on his back. Or describe someone as a "s.o.b" or "bastad". Thanks goodness they are going to outlaw those hideous truck nu*s. Try explaining them to your 6 year old daughter. Those that display them are morally broke, totally repulsive and inconsiderate of young minds. I'm confident that the negative responses to my post will be from those without children, or those with children who lack basic morality. Let's clean it up.

StrangerCreek 10 years, 4 months ago

Again the idots miss the point. What are we to do Jonas & offtotheright, not drive on the public streets? How about the decal of the little boy peeing on the chevy or ford emblem. Cute I know. But not a behaviour I want to teach my child. What about the truck hangings? Have you watched Nic lately? Yeah, I have a V-chip. Yeah, I screen what our children watch. Yeah, we've been caught off guard. When you cut out all the trash there's little left to watch. Sure we watch History, Dicovery, etc. But these boobs put this trash on TV starting at 4:30. My point is, it has become too profane. I know I try my best to protect my kids from this crap and I hope everyone else can too.

All I have to do is walk downtown with my kids on a Saturday and we're baraged with profanity. The "F" word in society has become too comon place. So are you teaching your kids about sex at 6 years old? Explaining what masterbation is? To a six year old? Get real. If you have kids you know better. If you have kids you know they're curious, but we don't scare them at our house. We talk about some things but we don't talk about everything at this age. Unless you have children don't make judgements about issues you are unqualified or inexperienced to do so.

jonas 10 years, 4 months ago

"Or what it means on Friends when they talk about "doing it." Watch Two and Half Men and you'll hear Charlie complain about having a vagia on his back. Or describe someone as a "s.o.b" or "bastad". Thanks goodness they are going to outlaw those hideous truck nu*s. Try explaining them to your 6 year old daughter."

How's about "try not watching them with your six year old daughter." Why should the rest of us suffer because you're too immature or irresponsible to either control what your child is watching or to leave the TV off when they happen to be around. Can you simply not forgo those shows that you watch adult content television in the presence of your daughter? You have far more blame in your daughter experiencing these things than the television entity.

standuporget 10 years, 4 months ago

Have any of you seen that clip? It is a little too much. But she looks great naked.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 4 months ago

A butt is not obscene. This prudery is rediculous. Everyone on this planet has a butt. Big deal. It is an upside down world that glorifies violence and murder but shames the act of love.

Kingman, use your V-chip, adult supervision, flip the channel or perhaps use the naughty show as an opportunity to teach your values. Rarely have I seen attempts to shelter children work out successfully. The more a child is sheltered the more they will seek out info from their peers or worse yet some molester.

If a child askes what is masturbation why not use that opportunity to teach about the right time place and circumstances in which to explore one's body.

mr_economy 10 years, 4 months ago

What ever happened to SLAPS? It's sad to live in a country that glorifies violence and renders deviant the human body. Then again, is it hard to imagine why such a society might have issues involving violent sexual deviance? Hmm...

Bill Chapman 10 years, 4 months ago

I have a problem with a social system that does not allow people to form their own opinions on subjects like sex without previous "instruction" on the subject.

Sex is necessary for the human races' continued existence - just how it occurs should be left up to the individuals involved in the act. Making sex a taboo subject prevents people from looking at sex as a beautiful physical act between two (or more) people mutually professing their love for each other.

Just what is the horrible social system that allows this to happen?

Well, it just so happens this social system that also tries to "instruct" people on love (platonic) for all people no matter their differences. Even though the system itself is very confused on just who (and how) this should be done.

What is this social system?

Try this out:


zettapixel 10 years, 4 months ago

blah blah blah... the FCC has nothing better to do than collect fines for a bare buttocks... where does the money from the fines go? I'm glad the FCC doesn't censor photography or I'd be broke and living on the streets!

janeyb 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm not getting this. Has anyone been watching the "Make me a Super Model" show on BRAVO? They model thongs. I'd rather see a bare butt than one with a string up it. Last week they were doing bedroom shoots. Totally hot, and much steamier than the NYPD Blue scenes.

"Excretory organs"---I love that term. It makes me giggle.

fu7il3 10 years, 4 months ago

Why are we worried about a show in 2003? There have been worse things since then. NYPD Blue didn't bring the fall of moral decency in the United States.

fu7il3 10 years, 4 months ago

One thing to remember, though, is that cable networks are not subject to the same FCC restrictions as ABC. The fact that they will say almost anything on FX doesn't make a difference.

kneejerkreaction 10 years, 4 months ago

And this stupid fine sums up a lot of what is wrong with the US of A.

domino 10 years, 4 months ago

As a mom, I agree that parents need to be aware what their children are watching. That being said, if your 6 year old asks what masturbation is, I would first want to know where he/she heard it. After that, a 6 year old doesn't want to know the specifics of masturbation - they just heard a word and don't know it and, as Kingman said, are naturally curious. Good rule of thumb is don't tell them more than they really want to know and can understand. I think of the old joke about the little kid asking his parents where babies come from. Mom & dad swallow and go thru the whole explaination only to have the kid reply, "My friend Johnny said his parents got him at the hospital."

I'd much rather have a bare butt on my tv than most of the violent crap I see.

lawrencechick 10 years, 4 months ago

Go FCC...I have a list of about 50 more shows that are so far over the line. Where do I donate money to this cause? Please don't listen to the dopes on this discussion board. FYI for people who probably don't even have kids but are experts on parenting- your child could be watching a completely innocent show and just the commercials for this crap are everywhere. The other day on a childs network I had to listen to a lovely 2 minute commercial on genital herpes. The media in general act like children...constantly pushing the limits for money, knowing they can count on censorship crying idiots. It's not rocket science- the correlation between sex and violence on TV over the past 20 years and the sad state of our society now is obvious.

jonas 10 years, 4 months ago

So tell me, Kingman. . . how many different subjects do you plan to broach and expand upon on this thread? I hope you feel better after that anti, errr, everything rant, but maybe the problem is you are simply too touchy. I'd advise not reacting to things that you are afraid will influence your daughter until you see her influenced by it. Odds are that if you don't flip out each time it happens, she won't notice.

Personally, I think the likely culprit, after your last post, is that YOU are way too uptight. But I must admit that it's my natural reaction when I hear people saying that society has all these problems.

snoozey 10 years, 4 months ago

It's another embarrassing moment to be an American. Travel a bit and get an outsider's perspective on our culture. Who put the hypocritical prudes in charge anyway? What is so bad about a nice bottom in a shower? Are folks afraid to explain to their kids that most people have butts and take showers? It makes no sense at all.

PabloPalmeri 10 years, 3 months ago

lawrencechick -

I fell really sorry for your children. To say that it's terrible for your kid to have to see a commercial about genital herpes is childish and is part of the reason kids are they way they are today. Parents feel the need to protect our children from everything. We can't let them see a nipple. A painting of a naked women is even considered to be offensive these days. The problem is these parents that blame the media, blame society. Turn the finger and blame yourself. I grew up in a fairly well off family, and was friends with many other well off families. I had many oppertunities to do evil things. However my parents took the time to teach me instead of shield me from the dangers. I learned about sex and drugs from my parents at a young age. I was tought the dangers and the reasons not to do drugs. I was tought that as a man I must always respect women, and that a naked person is an art form, not a sex object.

These Teachings kept me from doing evil. The fact that I knew my parents loved me kept me from doing evil. All this and yet I watched Terminator 2 when I was 10. I've grown up to be a good man, and have a lovely wife and 2 children. Children who understand the dangers of life, and the reasons to stay away from those dangers. So instead of hating the media, and wanting the goverment and the fcc to raise your children, do it your self.

Kyle Reed 10 years, 3 months ago

Parents should quit using their televisions as a babysitter, and the FCC as a censorship committee is a complete waste of time and money.

Bruce Liddel 10 years, 3 months ago

YouTube evidently thought the video clip violated their terms of use. I can't be absolutely positive I remember the same scene being discussed here. Still I can't help reminding you all that zero tolerance equals zero intelligence, and this sounds like another case of just that.

Exactly what is excretory or sexual about trying to take a shower by one's self? It would have been much different if the woman was masturbating or excreting, but apparently she was merely standing.

If this scene is inherently offensive, how else would someone be able to present a more clinically sterile and less offensive view of someone's buttocks?

For a scene like this to be patently pornographic, the scene must be gratuitous, i.e. totally unnecessary to the plot. In this case, the boy startled the woman to the embarrassment of both - a real life occurrence that happens whenever ordinary citizens have to live within limited resources. Overpaid government bureaucrats who live in 50-room mansions shouldn't pass judgment so easily, and should instead go after television shows that glorify gratuitous violence and abuse of human dignities.

I'm no fan of Disney - because they have a bitter and unfounded hatred of general aviation, but in this instance I find them not guilty by reason of government overbearing.

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