06
Jan
12

US Supreme Court to Hear TV Profanity, Nudity Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh the government’s power to regulate profanity and nudity on broadcast television in a challenge to a long-standing policy that goes back to comedian George Carlin’s “Seven Filthy Words” monologue.

With their free speech rights at issue, the major television networks are contesting the Federal Communications Commission’s indecency policy that was upheld in a 1978 dispute over Carlin’s
act. The networks’ challenge involved more recent events.

One was a 2002 awards show during which singer Cher blurted out an expletive. Another was a 2003 show when actress Nicole Ritchie used two expletives. A third was a seven-second shot of a woman’s nude buttocks on a 2003 “NYPD Blue” episode on Walt Disney Co’s ABC that led to $1.21 million in fines.

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