The FCC Can’t Fine CBS for Comments by Stephen Colbert, Experts Say
LOS ANGELES – The Federal Communications has no grounds to sanction CBS for comments made by Stephen Colbert during “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” earlier this week, experts told The Wrap.
Robert Corn-Revere, former chief counsel at the FCC and a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington D.C., said that late-night shows like Colbert’s are outside the FCC’s rules that ban indecent speech, which only apply between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Colbert’s “cock holster” joke aired Monday during Colbert’s “The Late Show” opening monologue that began at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Corn-Revere said that Colbert’s joke is not obscene because it had what is considered serious political value and did not show or describe a sex act.
Marjorie Heins, a First Amendment lawyer and founder for the Free Expression Policy Project, agreed with Corn-Revere.
“Colbert’s brief off-color joke, which was broadcast late at night and, in any event, was bleeped, would be unlikely to result in any indecency finding even given the agency’s wide-ranging discretion,” she said.