Shout at the Network

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Mötley Crüe is suing NBC for banning the band from its shows after lead singer Vince Neil "used an expletive" on The Tonight Show last New Year's Eve. The group argues that NBC acted under pressure from the FCC's stepped-up campaign against broadcast "indecency," transforming what would otherwise be a private programming decision into a violation of Motley Crue's First Amendment rights. Although the argument is a bit of a stretch, it's more creative than you might expect for what appears to be little more than a publicity stunt. Still, it's not clear NBC actually was worried about the FCC in this instance. The show featuring Neil's naughty word aired late at night, during the "safe harbor" hours when the indecency rules do not apply. You could argue that NBC was nevertheless trying to court favor with the FCC by going beyond its legal duty. But it's just as plausible that the network was worried about offended viewers and advertisers. The absence of government-imposed programming restrictions does not mean that anything goes, and broadcasters have a First Amendment right to decide what does.

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  1. NBC can ban who they want, when they want. Period. They’re a private organization (IIRC?) and as such, have that right.

    Crue is a joke. Albeit, a funny one that I’d love to see. Personally, I’m betting Mick Mars is actually already dead and one day will just fall down on stage! I wanna be there so I can say I saw it in person!

    When rockstars resort to bullshit litigation to boost popularity (let’s face it, that’s what this is) they cease being rockstars. Now Crue can go join Metallica in the “Remember when we rocked?” unemployment line.

  2. You could argue that NBC was nevertheless trying to court favor with the FCC by going beyond its legal duty. But it’s just as plausible that the network was worried about offended viewers and advertisers

    That’s what makes arbitrary and capricious government policies so much fun! You do what the government wants, and they get to say you did it voluntarily.

  3. What?! Crue can’t go on any NBC show? How will this affect the fall season? On “ER”, there was going to be a very special episode where a terrorist attack sends the hospital scrambling, and only by the grace of Nikki Sixx (visiting sick kids at the time) can a delicate appendectomy be performed.

  4. The same thing happened to Martin Lawrence in the early 1990’s, after his atrocious SNL monologue. I remember that one well because I had the fun of watching it with my mom in the room.

  5. I remember hearing the newscaster snickering when they reported that Mick Mars had hip replacement surgery. I think I laughed too.

  6. To my surprise, I’ve discovered this matter has legal precedent; please refer to RATT v. Aurora Public Access, 1992.

  7. My first bout of homoerotic panic occured back in the 80s, when I was in my cousin’s room, and gave a half-look at a poster on his wall.

    “That blonde is kinda cute.”
    “Dude, that’s a DUDE!”

    Thus my deep hatred of lipstick metal was born.

  8. Wasn’t Axl Rose in that band at some point?

  9. Motley Crue IS an expletive.

  10. Martin Lawrence … atrocious SNL monologue.

    Wow, that was just… awful. Y’know what I’m sayin’?

  11. Wasn’t Axl Rose in that band at some point?

    How DARE YOU! Axl, before becoming a recluse, would have NEVER been in Crue! He wasn’t into makeup, he was into kicking ass!

    *damn, how silly will I feel if I went all fanboy and I turn out to be wrong?? LOL!

  12. Will they still play Girls Girls Girls at strip clubs?

  13. Can’t they just be banned cuz they suck?

  14. As far as the Martin Lawrence gig.. you can tell early on how extremely nervous he is. It must be terrifying for a comedian to feel that he has very little connection with his audience. I’m sure he kills at a Def Jam type club, but in front of a bunch of tighty-whitey tourists.. different ballgame. Plus he’s on national, live TV.

    But yeah, I can’t imagine watching a set about female hygene with one’s mom. What a nightmare.

  15. I remember Martin Lawrence hosting SNL…and I remember the Crash Test Dummies as musical guest..but for the life of me I don’t remember that monologue. I wonder if my local network censored it or something, because I don’t recall seeing it. That, or perhaps I was too young at the time to know what he was talking about. That, or the part of my brain that was damaged by drug experimentation thankfully contained that segment.

    Related topic: “Pilly-packers”??? Jigga wha-?

  16. If NBC put a clause in the appearance contract pertaining to the band’s performance (i.e. no swearing), then NBC is well withing their bounds to ban the Crue from future appearances.

  17. That Motley Crue is suing so they can be on Jay F–king Leno again shows just how far that band has fallen. If they were doing it to get on Carson Daly’s show, though…

    I’m sure the lawsuit was done to eke out whatever infintesimal amount of earned media they could get from it.

    The Crue’s collective biography that came out a few years ago, “The Dirt,” is probably the best glam rock biography around (yeah, that is a serious statment). My Amazon.com review of that book: “Choking on Broken Glass.”

  18. I remember Martin Lawrence hosting SNL…and I remember the Crash Test Dummies as musical guest..but for the life of me I don’t remember that monologue. I wonder if my local network censored it or something, because I don’t recall seeing it.

    If you saw it in a rerun, it’s taken out (they actually supply a summary of what he said that’s funnier than the routine itself). If you saw it live, by definition they couldn’t have censored it.

  19. ranger–Axl had a makeup wearing phase. Watch the video for “Welcome to the Jungle”. Mucho eyeliner.

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