STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN KEVIN MARTIN ON 2ND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS INDECENCY DECISIONAnother way to look at this is to just accept that, with the advent of TiVo and Internet video, there is no such thing as prime time. Any show can be seen by any kid, at any time, unless a parent gets involved.
Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the use of the words “fuck” and “shit” by Cher and Nicole Ritchie was not indecent.
I completely disagree with the Court’s ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that “shit” and “fuck” are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience.
The court even says the Commission is “divorced from reality.” It is the New York court, not the Commission, that is divorced from reality in concluding that the word “fuck” does not invoke a sexual connotation.
These words were used in prime time, when children were watching. Ironically, the court implies that the existence of blocking technologies is one reason the FCC shouldn’t be so concerned. But even a vigilant parent using current blocking technologies such as the V-Chip couldn’t have avoided this language, because they rely on the program’s rating, and in this case the programs were rated appropriate for family viewing.
If ever there was an appropriate time for Commission action, this was it. If we can’t prohibit the use of the words “fuck” and “shit” during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.
So, if a parent doesn't want their kid to hear swear words, maybe a show featuring allegedly comic exchanges between Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie ought to be avoided. Any "vigilant parent" is going to keep tabs on what their kids watch -- all the time. If you're relying on a V-Chip alone to do this, you're in deep fucking shit.
Programming note: A later version of Martin's statement substituted the word "prohibit" with the word "restrict" in the following sentence: If we can’t prohibit the use of the words “fuck” and “shit” during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.
— Phil Harvey, Prime Time Editor, Light Reading