FCC fines Fox stations for raunchy reality show

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - The Federal Communications Commission has rejected Fox’s arguments that an episode of the defunct reality program “Married to America” did not violate the nation’s indecency laws because offending body parts were pixilized.

The commission fined 13 Fox stations and affiliates $7,000 each.

In its order Friday, the FCC said simply pixilizing female breasts and buttocks during a raunchy bachelor party scene in the April 2003 show do not indemnify broadcasters from commission action.

“To be sure, the pixilation of the female strippers’ naked breasts and buttocks does render the material less explicit and graphic than it would have been in the absence of pixilation,” the commission said in its forfeiture order. “However, the material is still sufficiently graphic and explicit to support an indecency finding.”

In its arguments, Fox noted that in addition to the pixilation, the show can be V-chipped preventing children from viewing it, the incidents were fleeting and the statute and the commission’s enforcement of it makes no constitutional sense.

“Fox strongly disagrees with the commission’s conclusions in the notice, and we will be actively considering our options,” the network said.

The FCC fined only the Fox stations that had complaints filed against them.

Last week, the FCC fined ABC stations and affiliates a total of $1.2 million for airing a woman’s bare buttuck during a 2003 episode of ABC’s “NYPD Blue.” ABC has paid the fine but will appeal.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is expected to meet Friday to consider the FCC’s appeal of a appeals court ruling that said the commission’s enforcement of fleeting profanities is “arbitrary and capricious.” Four of the nine justices must vote to hear a case for the court to take it up.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter