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FCC fines Fox $1.2M for indecency
Regulators penalize News Corp. unit for airing raunchy scenes in a short-lived reality program.
October 12, 2004: 6:37 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - U.S. regulators have proposed nearly $1.2 million in indecency fines against Fox for its reality program "Married By America," the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Tuesday.

The FCC sought to fine 169 Fox television stations for violating decency standards when they aired an episode of the short-lived reality program, featuring scenes from Las Vegas bachelor and bachelorette parties.

The FCC said it proposed fining the stations $7,000 each for airing the episode on April 7, 2003 that showed sexually explicit and graphic scenes at a time when children were likely to be watching.

The agency voted 5-0 in favor of fining the stations after receiving 159 complaints. Not all Fox affiliates aired the show.

The FCC has been cracking down on television and radio stations for decency violations after singer Janet Jackson bared her breast during the televised Super Bowl game halftime show earlier this year.

The government agency said scenes in the "Married by America" show -- like a topless woman straddling a man, whipped cream being licked off one woman's bare chest and a underwear-clad man being spanked by two female strippers -- were sufficiently graphic and explicit to be deemed indecent.

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Although the nudity was obscured, "even a child would have known that the strippers were topless and that sexual activity was being shown," the FCC said in its order.

Federal rules bar television and radio stations from airing indecent material, typically sexually explicit in nature, except during late-night hours when children are less likely to be listening or watching.

Fox, which is owned by News Corp. (Research), argued the show did not violate the rules.

"We disagree with the FCC's decision and believe the content was not indecent," said Scott Grogin, spokesman for Fox Broadcasting Co. which owns 25 of the stations facing fines.  Top of page


-- Reuters contributed to the story




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