Civil Liberties

Blurry Boobs, Butts Bother Bureaucrats


Fox is refusing to pay a $91,000 indecency fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for a 2003 broadcast of the now-defunct reality show Married by America in which the naughty bits of strippers at a bachelor party were blurry but inferrable. The FCC conceded that "the pixelation 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 pixelation" but concluded that "the material is still sufficiently graphic and explicit to support an indecency finding." It initially imposed a fine of $1.2 million—$7,000 for each of 169 Fox stations that aired the show—but later decided to fine just the 13 Fox stations in cities where viewers had complained. Fox nevertheless remains defiant, saying the FCC fine is "arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent, and patently unconstitutional."

In my column last week I said the FCC should stop it already with the indecency nonsense. Now I'm having second thoughts. I never saw Married by America, but I feel pretty confident in suggesting that it was less entertaining than the bureaucratic brouhaha it generated. 

[via The Freedom Files]