The FCC is about to slap $25,000 in fines on Fox for faily to respond to its investigation into an “American Dan” episode on Jan. 3 that drew some 100,000 complaints.
The series is co-created by Seth McFarlane, who is now the poster child for all things crossing the line, what with his “Family Guy” topping all series complaints coming into the FCC. A March 8 episode, according to the New York Times, drew 188,368 complaints, as it featured a baby using horse semen instead of milk for cereal.
“Family Guy” and “American Dad” have an equine fixation.
The “American Dad” scene in question is highly suggestive that a man has given a horse an ejaculation. Media watchdog orgs like the Parents Television Council and the American Family Assn. don’t even think it’s “suggestive,” but an outright depiction of the sexual act. You can judge for yourself by viewing the scene here (if you really want to stomach it.)
Fox’s fines signal some movement by the FCC on indecency complaints, which are considerable, after their crackdown through much of the last decade was followed by the networks’ challenge to their indecency authority in the courts. The broadcast webs have argued that the more stringent enforcement had a chilling effect on free speech, but the fact that watchdog groups still find ample cause for alarm suggests that prime time is still ripe with opportunities to take offense.