WTF: Profanity Still A TV No-No

Supreme Court rules the FCC can issue fines for any on-air cursing

By Caitlin Millat
|  Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009  |  Updated 9:45 AM PDT
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WTF: Profanity Still A TV No-No

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia read the court's decision to uphold the FCC "fleeting expletive" ruling.

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Potty mouths have no place on the boob tube.

The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Tuesday to uphold a government policy that would fine broadcasters for airing even a single curse word.

The court determined in a 5-4 decision that even the one-time-use of expletives like the "F-word" and the "S-word" could considered be "actionably indecent."

The case stemmed from two separate incidents at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, where Cher and Nicole Ritchie both dropped the F-bomb on-air. After the show, the FCC was bombarded with complaints from parents who said their kids heard the swear words.

Fox Broadcasting challenged the FCC "fleeting expletive" policy that caused the network to get steeply fined after the show aired and won its challenge in the state of New York. The Supreme Court decision Tuesday overturned that verdict.

Judge Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said that the decision was neither "arbitrary nor capricious" and was a reasonable way to keep the airwaves appropriate for all audiences.

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