GLAAD, NHMC Launching Indecency Complaint Campaign Against Liberman
Concerns broadcasts of daytime Spanish-language talk show 'José Luis Sin Censura'
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/28/2011 4:00:00 AMJosé Luis Sin Censura (José Luis Uncensored).
The complaint alleges the show is obscene, indecent and profane, and provides transcripts and photos to illustrate the allegations.
Streamed video clips allegedly from the show supplied by GLAAD feature pixilated nudity and a mix of bleeped and un-bleeped cursing and anti-gay slurs as well as violent outbursts from angry audience members.
"For years Liberman has ignored concerns from viewers as well as revenue loss from advertisers pulling spots," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "This material is some of the most violent and offensive on television today and the FCC should hold the broadcaster responsible for airing material which is putting gay and lesbian people in harm's way." Liberman execs had not returned a call or e-mails for comment at press time.
According to GLAAD, it met with the station owner in 2005 and asked it to cut out the cursing, slurs and violence, but that did not happen. It also says that after that protest several advertisers pulled ads. A spokesman said GLAAD would renew its call to advertisers to avoid the show.
The show also airs on Liberman's Estrella TV network in 37 other markets, which the company says reaches over 77% of Hispanic TV households, including in Miami, New York and Houston, according to GLAAD.
GLAAD said it is teaming up with the Women's Media Center for an online campaign urging supporters of its complaint to send e-mails to the FCC supporting their complaint or filing their own individual complaints in other markets.
"In over twenty episodes that aired between June 18 and Dec. 7, 2010, the program contained images and language of the nature that is never displayed or is bleeped out of pre-taped English-language programs of the same nature," said GLAAD. "This program is way overboard, and goes far beyond a fleeting moment of expletives or nudity," said NHMC President Alex Nogales in a statement announcing the complaint. "José Luis makes Jerry Springer look like Mr. Rogers."
The FCC has found nudity and language in Spanish-language broadcast fare to be indecent in the past, and bleeping and blurring are not absolute shields against indecency findings. An FCC spokesperson pointed to several findings against Spanish-language broadcasts in the past, including against a pair of Puerto Rican stations for cursing. "The FCC translates," said the spokesperson, "and whether it is in Spanish or English makes no difference" to whether it is actionable.
The FCC has not issued any indecency finding against a station, English-language or Spanish-language, in over three years, due in part to court challenges to its authority to regulate indecency. Most recently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the FCC's indecency enforcement policy is unconstitutionally vague and chilling, a decision the government is preparing to appeal to the Supreme Court.
"Regardless of FCC authority being litigated in the courts, the FCC's history of enforcement of Spanish-language media is substandard," said Nogales. "This was the case long before the indecency litigation began."
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