The FCC and buttocks

I get the FCC’s daily email updates, which mostly contain links to boring procedural documents, but occasionally are a source of amusement. They decided to fine [pdf] ABC for the Feb. 25, 2003 episode of NYPD Blue in which a woman’s buttocks are shown. On pages 4-5, they state:

As an initial matter, we find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks. Although ABC argues, without citing any
authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.

I remember that episode causing a bit of an uproar at the time, but it took almost 5 years for this decision to come out, so I suppose they have been thinking really hard about butts over at the FCC. Perhaps they are getting a bit obsessed.

UPDATE : Language Log has more.


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