Hollywood took aim at the FCC's indecency/profanity enforcement regime Wednesday in a filing with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, co-opting a media consolidation argument to suggest the FCC was chilling a diversity of voices.
The Center for Creative Voices in Media, which represents a host of TV programmers including writers, producers and actors, told the court that the FCC has created an "unworkable, inconsistent, and confusing indecency regime, with vague and arbitrary standards."
Center advisers include Vin Di Bona, Steven Bochco and Tom Fontana.
The Center called the FCC's indecency complaint process "wrought with abuse," and that its new approach to fleeting profanities was done with out a reasoned explanation.
It said the result is that TV content creators have been stifled with economic as well as creative consequences.
Adapting one of the group's arguments against media consolidation, the center argued that the, "general public also faces the loss of its expectation to receive diverse expression."
The Center was filing an "intervenor" brief in support of Fox and CBS' federal court challenge to four profanity rulings the FCC made in March. The FCC rethought those decisions and earlier this month and withdrew the profanity findings against CBS and ABC shows. CBS remained a petitioner in the challenge while ABC is pulling out pending the FCC making final its decision to change the earlier decision.
The FCC issued a statement that a spokesman said would apply to all the petitioners on Wednesday and NBC and CBS have yet to file but are planning to. FCC spokesman David Fiske said, "By continuing to argue that it is okay to say the F-word and the S-word on television whenever it wants, Hollywood is demonstrating once again how out of touch it is with the American people. We believe there should be some limits on what can be shown on television when children are likely to be watching."