Controversial Joke About President Donald Trump by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
FCC to Investigate Stephen Colbert’s
What Action is the Federal Communications Commission Actually Likely to Take?
The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, said that the commission had received a number of complaints about Stephen Colbert’s controversial monologue earlier this week about President Donald Trump. The Commission would review the matter and take the appropriate action.
The chairman acknowledged that different rules are applied during late-night hours.
“I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints — and we have gotten a number of them — we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and a number of other courts,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday on Philadelphia talk radio station 1210 WPHT.
“Follow the standard operating procedures, as we always do, and make sure we evaluate what the facts are and apply the law fairly and fully.”
The key phrase is “standard operating procedures.” The FCC is obligated to log and review any filed complaints.
Stephen Colbert’s language was not fit to some ears especially younger audience, and the FCC actually has a provision called “safe harbor” in order to prevent children from consuming indecent material. The Late Show is taped in advance i.e. the show editors were able to blurred out Stephen Colbert’s controversial joke: “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good at is being Vladimir Putin’s c—k holster.”
The Late Show airs at 11:30 p.m. eastern, therefore The FCC would have to determine Colbert’s material to be “obscene,” which is a higher standard. The removal of the audio in question, plus the show’s late air time, suggests the FCC is less likely to punish Colbert for his joke.
The FCC chairman seemed to indicate that the penalty would be monetary — not any form of censorship. “Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be. A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do,” Pai said.
On Wednesday’s show, “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons, who is gay, joked with Stephen Colbert about the controversy.
“I thought that was a very strange tag to put on the whole monologue.” Jim Parsons said. “As a gay man, I didn’t know certain things — that’s titillating. I wouldn’t call it homophobic. That’s just my take on your good form.”