Every year, it seems a new, high-profile Federal Communications Commission case ends up in court.
The most recent dispute involves a $1.4 million fine the Commission slapped on ABC for a 2003 episode of “NYPD Blue,” in which actress Charlotte Ross’ rear end was visible to viewers. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that there is nothing wrong with Ross’ buttocks (we concur) and that the FCC’s indecency rules are “unconstitutionally vague and chilling.”
This wording echoes similar rulings — in favor of FOX over “fleeting obscenities” in 2009 and when in 2004 the FCC tried to fine CBS for the “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show that exposed Janet Jackson’s nipple — otherwise known as “Nipplegate.” The court ruled that the Commission was wrong in holding the network responsible for the actions of Jackson and Justin Timberlake, who performed alongside her singing, “gonna have you naked by the end of this song.”
Since there have been so many FCC indecency cases to appear in the press, we compiled seven of the most famous cases to date, which have both shaped (and clouded) precedent today:
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