Fox and most of its stations have asked the FCC to hold off on its
inquiry into the airing by Fox stations of a Jan. 3, 2010, episode of American
Dad that drew indecency complaints over its storyline suggesting
the manual servicing of a stud (horse).
Fox O&O's and the
vast majority of its 203 affiliates asked the FCC June 22 for a stay of
its indecency inquiry and extension of time for the commission to
resolve the issue of whether it should supply an affiliate with a copy
of a complaint from its market before asking it to respond to the
earlier this month proposed fining Fox TV Stations $25,000 for not
providing it with the answers to some questions about the show,
including a list of all the stations (owned and affiliated) that had
aired it. Fox counters that it did address all the substantive questions
about the broadcast, but only relative to the one complaint the FCC
Fox will respond to that fine proposal separately, but
Tuesday's move is to get the FCC to answer Fox's question about why any
of its stations should have to respond before seeing the complaint from
its individual market. "Its like being asked to face your accuser
without knowing what evidence the government has against you," said a
lawyer involved in the case.
Saying it was a "courtesy" to Fox,
the FCC had supplied it with a copy of a complaint against Fox's
KDFW(TV) Dallas, but with the request for information on all of the
stations that might have aired the show. Fox instead responded with
information about KDFW's airing only. The FCC then sent individual
letters of inquiry to all the Fox affiliates, which is the inquiry Fox
wants to put the brakes on until it gets a response to its own question.
According to a source, Fox has yet to receive a response to
its FOIA request for copies of all the complaints against the show.
a storyline involving the masturbation of a horse sounds familiar,
that's because the FCC once before received complaints about a Fox show
featuring a similar stud service performed by a prostitute. In that
involving an episode of Keen Eddie, a three to two
majority--with Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein
dissenting--denied the indecency complaint, noting that the episode
"contains no graphic or explicit dialogue, discussion, depiction or
description of any particular sexual or excretory organ or activity."