FCC Fines 13 Fox Stations Over ‘Married’ Strippers

Feb 22, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced a fine against 13 Fox stations for an episode of “Married by America,” featuring two couples being entertained by male and female strippers, that aired nearly five years ago.
The fine is the agency’s second move against alleged indecency on TV in less than a month.
The FCC action comes three and a half years after the agency first proposed fining 169 Fox stations for airing the broadcast, then did little to follow that up. Friday’s fine is being issued just a few weeks before the five-year statute of limitations on any FCC action on the program would have run out. The original program aired April 7, 2003.
The FCC said it limited the fine to the 13 stations because their viewers were the only ones to complain. The commissioners at the time fined each station $7,000, although the current FCC said that if it wasn’t so late in the cycle, it would have started over and proposed much higher fines.
“Married by America” was a weekly hourlong series featuring several single people who agreed to become engaged and potentially to marry. The April 7 episode focused on bachelor and bachelorette parties for two women contestants and two male contestants with adult entertainment and cut back and forth between scenes of the two parties.
At the bachelorette party, a shirtless male stripper performed a strip atop one bride who was lying on her back and wearing a miniskirt; he thrust his crotch in her face and then moved down her body toward whipped cream on her legs. At the bachelor party, two female strippers removed their clothing; one eventually performed a lap dance in which she straddled one of the “grooms.” The show then switched back to the bachelorette party, where a female stripper is shown lying topless on a couch, cupping her breasts as a “bride” straddles her.
Fox and some of its affiliates had argued against the fine, arguing that the scenes were carefully pixelated and nudity could not be seen; they also said the strippers actually were seen for less than 10.5 seconds.
The FCC rejected that objection, saying, “The party scenes were graphic in their depiction. The fact that isolated body parts were ‘pixelated’ did not obscure the overall graphic character of the depiction. The scenes in question were imbued throughout with highly charged sexual content.”
Fox in a statement Friday said it “strongly disagrees with the commission’s conclusions and we will be actively considering our options.”
On Jan. 25, the FCC proposed an indecency fine against ABC stations for airing an episode of “NYPD Blue” five years ago that featured scenes of a woman’s buttocks. That fine was formalized this week; ABC paid it and immediately challenged it in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Both fines come as the Supreme Court considers whether to take a case that could limit the FCC’s indecency authority. That case involves Fox’s airing of comments from Cher and Nicole Richie during live broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards shows.


  1. Next up . . .
    The FCC fines every broadcast channel with a nightly news broadcast in the Commonwealth of Virginia for showing a flag with a woman with a bare left breast exposed standing on top of a man in a “dominating” position.
    The FCC just keeps on proving that they’re becoming irrelevant each and every day.

  2. I wonder how many of said complainers actually watched the show…

  3. I feel that the action by the FCC albeit valid is untimely,because longevity of executives resopnsible forthere actions are most likely not currently employed by the stations involved, due to high turnover.
    Before the present economic times and economic situation in the Industry conditions would have been different.
    I hav worked in the busines all of my life, and have seen radical change in last 10 years.

  4. chump change to a fox station. the fine should have been $70,000 per station. i think it is ironic that rupert murdoch pretends to be a conservative Republican while simultaneously flooding the airwaves with trash. he would broadcast live sex acts if the FCC allowed such. He is worse than Larry Flynt because he is a hypocrite.

  5. Yep, Castro stepped down and the Soviets are gone, but the real card-carrying communists still exists and they go by the initials F.C.C. and P.T.C.

  6. I am far from a prude. I am not challenged by any view of the human body.
    Having said that, I would argue that the tasteless, luscivious crap that has come over commercial broadcast television needs to be harnessed.
    I would argue that the “executives” who are purchasing poor taste should be applying for unemployment benefits along with the “producers” who are serving up the titilating garbage.
    As for the FCC moving after years have passed…Hello, deal with today’s misdeeds.
    Our media reflects our life styles. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on a small, sordid portion of who we are.
    It comes down to choices, knowing how to make wise ones starting with choosing people, with substance, who will have influence on our media.
    I am a dreamer, and I have faith for a positive outcome. Do you?

  7. Sorry that this is a repeat from before BUT :
    This is right up there with the MPA ratings for movies. A few people, who are supposed to represent a cross section of our countries interests and beliefs, are in a position to decide what they think is appropriate for the general public to see. Um….who decides which people get to make these choices? Are they elected by the public, so that it would be an accurate representation of the general publics views?? NO!!!! Is the FCC or MPA answerable to any higher authority?? NOT !!! In a country that is at war to protect “Democracy and Freedom”, this is truly an unfathomable and beyond hypocritical. If the FCC is now the final authority on how we are to “protect our children”, then we, as Americans, are a bigger threat to ourselves than any terrorist. I am not saying everything on TV should be aired. There is some real poor stuff out there. (I would , however, prefer it if my daughters were to see a naked butt for 10 seconds than watch 10 seconds of Wife Swap, The Bachelor,etc. ) But do we really need a censorship board to decide this?
    If we are really worried about what our children are watching on TV…..WE CAN ALWAYS TURN THE F#$&ING THING OFF!!!!!

  8. Or television programmers could simply make sure that the ratings for the show match the content.
    What was the rating for Married By America? If it was TV-MA, those offended have only themselves to blame.
    But if it was TV-G or TV-PG, the stations deserve the fines.

  9. H

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