No offence

US watchdogs reject TV complaints

American TV watchdogs have rejected a raft of complaints about everything from Friends characters discussing a phallic-shaped cake to mention of homosexual kissing on Will And Grace.

Clean-up campaigners the Parents Television Council filed 36 complaints about incidents they thought were dragging down standards.

They also included an episode of The Simpsons in which striking students carried banners saying "Don't cut off my pianissimo" and the scene in the Austin Powers movie where a naked Mike Myers had his genitals hidden by cunningly-placed objects.

The Federal Communications Commission rejected all the complaints, ruling: “None of the segments were patently offensive under contemporary community standards and thus not indecent.  The commission also found that the material was not profane, in context.”

Tim Winter, executive director of the Parents Television Council said: "In three recent indecency rulings, [the FCC] has sanctioned the following content during the so-called family hour: a high school teacher refers to one of his students as ‘a big dick’; criminals hire a prostitute to have sex with a horse; and jokes about pedophilia and Michael Jackson’s penis. By what community standard is it not patently offensive during the family hour to broadcast these things?”

The complaints are part of a concerted effort to clean up TV following the incident at the Superbowl where Janet Jackson flashed a breast, leading to record fines for broadcaster CBS.

Published: 26 Jan 2005

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