When Stephen Colbert unleashed a vulgar joke about President Trump on his late-night show last Monday, some felt the comedian had crossed a line.
“The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c— holster,” Colbert said of the president. The most vulgar part of the joke was bleeped when it aired.
#FireColbert soon began trending on Twitter, where many lambasted his joke as homophobic. The Federal Communications Commission reportedly received complaints about Colbert’s remarks.
However, it was only after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai acknowledged Thursday that the commission would review complaints about Colbert’s joke that the story spun out of control, according to media law experts.
Suddenly, the FCC had opened an “investigation” into Colbert, according to headlines in multiple news outlets. Under federal law, profane, indecent and/or obscene content is prohibited from being broadcast on TV or radio.
But such headlines are misleading because the FCC reviews every complaint it receives, said Andrew Schwartzman, a media law specialist at the Georgetown University Law Center.
“If somebody files something, of course the FCC has to look at it,” Schwartzman said in an email to The Washington Post. An FCC spokesman confirmed to The Post on Monday that the commission was not launching an investigation.
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.