Family Issues

Fox Network Declines to Air Amateur Porn Mom Episode of New Animated Show (UPDATED)

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UPDATE 8/29/2013 3:30pm: The original title of this post ("FCC Bans Amateur Porn Mom Episode of New Animated Fox Show") citing the blog Splitsider was incorrect: The FCC doesn't ban content on broadcast televison or radio but rather fines networks and stations after material is aired and is deemed actionable. While the fear of FCC fines may have played a factor in the episode not airing, the FCC itself doesn't ban anything. That is up to various networks' standards and practices departments, which regulate content for a wide variety of reasons, including audience and advertiser expectations, aesthetics, and potential legal action.

[This update continues near the bottom of the post]

ADHD's High School USA, episode Best Friends Forever

Splitsider reported that the Aug. 24 episode of High School USA, part of Fox's new animated block of programming called Animation Domination High Definition (ADHD), was banned by the Federal Communications Commission.

Creator, Dino Stamatopoulos, announced the news via Facebook saying, "FCC won't let us air this week's High School USA! this week. Pretty great."

"Best Friends Forever" was the title of the often heartfelt episode that featured a storyline about a teenage daughter upset that her mother had become an amateur adult film star "without telling her all the perverted details." The episode is available via Hulu with the disclaimer: "Intended only for mature audiences. Viewer discretion advised."

ADHD's programming premiered online with animated shorts and a website full of GIF images and social media friendly content; Then it began airing in its regular slot on television July 27. Even before it aired though, the Parent's Television Council (PTC), which says it promotes family-friendly programming, was calling the animated shows, "horrifically graphic, ultra-violent, sexually explicit, and profanity-laden." A press release from PTC, July 23:

Fox would have us believe that such extremely explicit programming is intended only for adult audiences. Yet they must know the content is inherently attractive to children with animated formats and themes like 'High School USA!' and 'Scientifically Accurate Spider Man.'

While Parent's Television Council may have gotten their wish granted by FCC regulators when an episode got pulled, the state of content consumption today shows how outdated FCC regulations and groups like the Parent's Television Council have become. Fox Broadcasting put it a little more diplomatically in its public comment to the FCC in June of this year:

Not only does broadcasting represent just a small sliver of the panoply of video content available to an average consumer today, it is also less uniquely pervasive and accessible to children than it was 30+ years ago.

Further, someone could watch a show deemed "indecent" by the FCC on broadcast television simultaneously as they watch it on a phone, tablet or computer, over which the FCC has no content-regulation power. Because of this dichotomy Fox said it was being held to a different standard:

The steady advances in video technology, and corresponding shifts in consumer viewing habits, have eradicated any justification that may once have existed for subjecting broadcasters to less First Amendment protection than other media.

Reason TV spoke with one of the writers for ADHD in July, Heather Anne Campbell, who writes many of the animated shorts that appear at FoxADHD.com.

[UPDATE 8/29/2013, CONT.]

After the post, I followed up with creator Dino Stamatopoulos via Facebook and asked whether Fox's standards and practices department said that the episode would not pass FCC guidelines or if the FCC stepped in, to which he replied, "From what I understand it was FCC."

The FCC's media department declined comment as of today.

The episode in question, "Best Friends Forever," was available on Hulu and Amazon Instant Streaming, but appears not to be available on either site now. It is available on torrent sites like this one though.

In the 2012 Supreme Court case Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, the court ruled that the FCC didn't give Fox Broadcasting, who would have faced fines, enough notice of their new policy on idecency. From the NYTimes:

It left open the question of whether changes in the media landscape have undermined the rationales for limiting their free-speech rights in ways the First Amendment would not tolerate in other settings. Cable television and the Internet are not subject to government regulation of ostensibly indecent material.

The court stopped short, as it did in 2009 with the same case, from looking at the First Amendment issues rasied.

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  1. The episode is available via Hulu with the disclaimer: “Intended only for mature audiences. Viewer discretion advised.”

    Maybe the FCC’s plan is to eliminate all broadcast programing.

  2. The steady advances in video technology, and corresponding shifts in consumer viewing habits, have eradicated any justification that may once have existed for subjecting broadcasters to less First Amendment protection than other media.

    Shut your fucking mouth, Fox. When politicians read stuff like this, all they think is, “Hey, why are we giving so much First Amendment protection to other media?”

    1. My thoughts as well.

      Fox needs to take shut up and take one for the team here.

      1. Or… Or… Maybe the FCC should just shut the fuck up, and fade into obscurity, while civilization manages to move on… without them. Yeah, bullshit… that will never happen.

        1. But who will rule over broadcast spectrum without the FCC? You don’t actually expect the peasants to form solutions on their own! That would be chaos! Anarchy! SOMALIA!

  3. Between this and FOX (and CBS’s) dispute with Aero and others, really, how long until the broadcasters do decide to go cable-only?

    1. And then be held hostage by Time Warner? No way. You’d have to see more vertical integration first, i.e. Comcast/NBC.

      1. Well, cable and satellite and online.

        The broadcasters hate Aereo in one sense, but CBS was actually recommending that people use them during their TW dispute.

  4. Meanwhile, Miley can simulate fucking and fingering on live TV.

      1. So if FOX shuts down their over-the-air broadcasts and leaves out 2% of the population that makes it okay?

        1. According to current law, yes.

    1. That was cable.

  5. Damn. We’re going to be deprived of Dino Stamatopoulos’ conception of “art”. The poorer we are.

  6. Creator, Dino Stamatopoulos, announced the news via Facebook saying, “FCC won’t let us air this week’s High School USA! this week. Pretty great.”

    Oh you thought that… ha… how quaint.

    It says “Congress shall make no law…”, not “Unelected career bureaucrats shall make no law…”

    Lot of the young people make that mistake.

    1. I’d say his point was “We can still show it over the internet, with a boatload of publicity because it got banned.”

  7. They should replace it with a half hour animated biography of Mohammed.

    1. That’s all we need, another attack on the Libyan embassy because of our First Amendmentz.

    2. I am still wondering how PBS got away with this:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I…..e_of_Faith

      The first episode deals with the life of Muhammad

      Then again it was broadcast before 9/11.

      Has anyone asked Obama and Hilary if they think this show caused the 9/11 attacks?

  8. Reason is consistent in the sense they’d defend the right of the Oakland People’s etc. etc. Collective to run a program about righteous socialists lynching the Koch brothers.

    But I don’t think they’d do a fawning interview with the President (or Chief Commissar) of the People’s etc. about what a wonderful artistic experience the whole thing is.

  9. Further, someone could watch a show deemed “indecent” by the FCC on broadcast television simultaneously as they watch it on a phone, tablet or computer, where the FCC has no power.

    For now.

  10. I thought all moms did amateur porn at some point.

    I think any broadcast programming that is “horrifically graphic, ultra-violent, sexually explicit, and profanity-laden” should have its own rating so we all immediately know what to watch without having to sift through tons of crap to find it.

    Nonetheless, I can understand why the FCC would ban it. After all, the wording of the First Amendment is crystal clear when it guarantees free speech to everyone as long as no one claims to be offended by what they have to say. It’s “for the children” and government thinks all citizens are children (although definitely not so young that we can’t work and pay taxes).

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