The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) won’t say whether or not it has launched an investigation into curse words that made it onto the air during Sunday evening’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards.
During the awards show Sunday evening, a curse word made it past NBC censors while Jacqueline Bisset accepted her award for best supporting actress in a series, miniseries or TV movie.
The broadcast bleeped out a portion of the Dancing on the Edge actress’s rambling speech but the sound returned just in time for the swear.
An FCC spokesman neither confirmed nor denied an investigation on Monday.
Anti-profanity advocates have criticized the commission’s reluctance to impose penalties on TV broadcasters under the Obama administration, which they say exposes children to negative messages.
“Certainly it’s a problem anytime profane language like that meets air at the times of day when we know millions of children will be in the audience,” said Dan Isett, public policy director for the Parents Television Council.
He added that NBC producers are “certainly to be commended for at least making an effort” to combat swear words with censorship through the show.
The FCC has been unwilling to issue any indecency fines in recent years.
Last year, the commission received more than 100,000 public comments on a plan to back off enforcement except in the most egregious cases of indecency. Many of the comments opposed the proposed action. The effort was one of former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's last during his tenure.
Networks have supported the policy change, which they say protects the right to free speech.
But Isett said that the FCC’s stance just makes it easier for more and more offensive content to be shown on TV.
“There’s an awful lot of content examples that have nothing to do with these so-called fleeting expletives that really the law is designed to deal with, the patently offensive things that continue to happen and happen more because the networks don’t think that the FCC is going to do any enforcement,” he said. “They’ve been right now for the last few years.”