Fox Flags Phony Email Addresses to Defend Its ‘Family Guy’ Sexual-Assault Episode

Company says “fraudulent” complaints undermine the federal government’s complaint process.

Creator/Executive producer Seth MacFarlane (C) poses at the Family Guy 100th Episode party held at Social in Los Angeles California. 
National Journal
Laura Ryan
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Laura Ryan
Feb. 19, 2014, 6:01 a.m.

Fox Broad­cast­ing came un­der fire in Novem­ber for air­ing a Fam­ily Guy epis­ode that in­cluded jokes about sexu­al as­sault, but the com­pany thinks it has found a crack in its crit­ics’ at­tack: At least 16 of the in­de­cency com­plaints, the com­pany says, came from fake mail­ing ad­dresses.

The broad­cast­ing com­pany says the com­plaint pro­cess is too easy for “com­plaint mills” to take ad­vant­age of, and it wants the FCC to tight­en up its pro­cess be­fore the agency acts on com­plaints.

The fraud­u­lent let­ters un­der­mine the cred­ib­il­ity of the com­plaint pro­cess and “re­flect dis­dain” for the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tion Com­mis­sion’s au­thor­ity, ac­cord­ing to a com­ment that Fox filed with the agency last Fri­day, which has the power to im­pose fines for in­de­cency.

The Par­ents Tele­vi­sion Coun­cil en­cour­aged mem­bers to sub­mit com­plaints about an epis­ode of Fam­ily Guy that aired on Nov. 10 con­tain­ing jokes about rape and sexu­al ex­ploit­a­tion of chil­dren, and they are dis­miss­ing Fox’s fraud com­plaints as a ca­nard.

“Des­pite Fox’s des­per­ate di­ver­sion­ary tac­tic, the FCC is bound by law to act, one way or the oth­er, on the more than 400,000 pending in­de­cency com­plaints be­fore it, in­clud­ing those filed over Fox’s Fam­ily Guy,” the Par­ents Tele­vi­sion Coun­cil said in a state­ment Tues­day. “The FCC’s re­spons­ib­il­ity to do so is not in ques­tion.”

Fox was able to de­term­ine the let­ters were fake after identic­al let­ters filed to the FCC were also sent to Fox.

Many broad­casters have long op­posed the FCC’s au­thor­ity to reg­u­late in­de­cency on the prin­ciple that it vi­ol­ates their First Amend­ment rights. The Su­preme Court has broadly up­held the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the FCC’s au­thor­ity to “po­lice” tele­vi­sion con­tent, most re­cently in 2012 when it va­cated chal­lenges to the in­de­cency rules by Fox and ABC.

What We're Following See More »
THE PRESIDENT’S POCKET
16th Charity Cancels Function at Mar-a-Lago
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
OVER N. KOREA NUCLEAR PROGRAMS
U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 16 Companies
16 hours ago
THE LATEST
U.N. REPORT REVEALS DETAILS
North Korean Chemical Weapons Shipments to Syria Intercepted
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country's chemical weapons program were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea sanctions violations."

Source:
PARTICIPATES IN TOWN HALL TONIGHT
Ryan: “There Are No Sides” on Charlottesville
1 days ago
THE LATEST

After taking fire for not forcefully condemning President Trump's statements on Charlottesville, Speaker Paul Ryan today issued a statement that takes issue with any "moral relativism" when it comes to Neo-Nazis. "There are no sides," he wrote. "There is no other argument. We will not tolerate this hateful ideology in our society." Ryan participates in a CNN town hall tonight from Racine, Wis.

Source:
TRUST FOR NATIONAL MALL SET TO REFURBISH SITE
New Jefferson Memorial Exhibit Will Acknowledge His Owning of Slaves
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

"An exhibit alongside the nation's chief memorial to Thomas Jefferson will receive an update that reflects 'the complexity' of his status as a founder of the United States and a slaveholder, according to stewards of the National Mall." The Trust for the National Mall, which works with the National Park Service to maintain the Mall, "has been planning to raise money to refurbish the National Park Service exhibit accompanying the memorial, which has deteriorated since its installment about 20 years ago." An official with the Trust told the Washington Examiner: "We can reflect the momentous contributions of someone like Thomas Jefferson, but also consider carefully the complexity of who he was. And that's not reflected right now in the exhibits."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login