Feeds

Jane Fonda c-word slip shocks US

NBC apologises for Today outrage

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Middle America is none to pleased with veteran thespiatrix Jane Fonda who yesterday entertained viewers of NBC's Today show with "a four-letter word for female genitalia".

Host Meredith Vieira had asked Fonda about her appearence in stage play The Vagina Monologues, which contains a section entitled "Cunt". In her answer, the actress referred to the segment by name, and the rest is history.

Vieira offered a swift on-screen apology, saying: "You know, before we go to break, in our last half-hour we were talking about The Vagina Monologues and Jane Fonda inadvertently said a word from the play that you don't say on television. It was a slip, and obviously she apologises, and so do we. We would do nothing to offend the audience, so please accept that apology."

According to Variety, a spokeswoman for the TV company later said the network was "letting Vieira's on-air apology to viewers serve as comment for the entire company".

The Parents Television Council, which describes itself as "the nation’s most influential advocacy organisation protecting children against sex, violence, and profanity in entertainment", was having none of it, and has "called on NBC to change its broadcasting practices" in response to the outrage.

It said in a statement: "There is no excuse for airing one of the most patently offensive words in the English language on broadcast television, especially at the breakfast hour. If an NBC employee used the 'c-word' to another employee, that employee would be suspended or even fired.

"While NBC's apology is helpful, it is not enough – millions of families were indeed offended. NBC must change its broadcasting practices and implement a time-delay on all of its live broadcasts, thereby ensuring that this type of language does not air on the publicly-owned airwaves."

The PTC further called on concerned citizens to "petition the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] in order to communicate clearly to NBC that this type of language is a violation of their broadcast licenses".

FCC action on the matter is, however, unlikely since "the agency's policy on live, fleeting expletives is under court challenge", as Variety explains.

As we reported last year, the FCC's 2004 ban on fleeting expletives took a bit of a legal shoeing when a New York court decided the body "may not have the right to police American airwaves".

Until 2004, the FCC's policy on passing profanity had been not to take action, but it decided to clamp down in a move described as "a reflection of President Bush's views".

It then weighed into Fox for two incidents, one involving singer Cher, the other Nicole Ritchie. In her acceptance speech at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, Cher declared: "People have been telling me I'm on the way out every year, right? So fuck 'em."

Richie the following year entertained the crowd at the 2003 Billboard Music Awards with: "Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple."

Fox was found to be in breach of the revised indecency code, but was not sanctioned because the two incidents predated the revision. The company, backed by other broadcasters, challenged the ruling on the grounds that the FCC had "breached the US Constitution's first amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech".

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York agreed that the action was unconstitutional, and "questioned the basis" of the FCC policy overhaul. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.