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FCC Fleeting Expletives Policy Struck Down

Posted by on July 14, 2010

In fucking awesome news for anyone that likes to curse, a federal appeals court in New York threw out the FCC’s “fleeting expletives” policy, ruling that it was unconstitutional and threatens free speech. The Federal Communications Commission had put the policy in place in 2004  following a 2003 broadcast of the Golden Globes on NBC when Bono uttered the phrase “fuckin’ brilliant.” Following that impromptu utterance, the FCC said that the F-word in any context “inherently has a sexual connotation.” To which we say “really?” Seriously, the F-word is part of the majority of Americans’ normal speech pattern. We’re not saying it’s a good or bad thing, it’s just a thing. I’d think that pretty much 85% of the word’s use is casual speech having no sexual connotations whatsoever. The court agreed in their ruling, saying “By prohibiting all ‘patently offensive’ references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what ‘patently offensive’ means, the FCC effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive.”

This is a good thing for free speech, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that anyone on the radio or TV can release the kracken and just start cursing for the sake of cursing. Also, it should be noted that the first network to challenge the policy was Fox following the FCC citing profanity on their network uttered by Cher and Nicole Richie. Really? We’re all for free speech, but if the battle is being fought so Nicole Richie is free to curse, we’re not so sure we’re down with it.

Categorised in: Legal Woes