×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FCC to Investigate Stephen Colbert Over Controversial Donald Trump Joke

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that his agency will be looking into complaints made against Stephen Colbert for what some labeled a homophobic joke about President Donald Trump.

“I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints — and we’ve gotten a number of them — we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” Pai told Philadelphia’s Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

“Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be,” he continued. “A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.” Pai was appointed to the FCC in 2012 by President Barack Obama. He was elevated to the chairmanship of the commission by Trump in January.

Pai’s comments on Colbert are surprising as “The Late Show” airs outside the FCC’s long-established “safe harbor” time frame of 6 am to 10 pm in which the commission has the authority to police allegations of indecent and obscene material on the airwaves. They would also seem to clash with Pai’s vow to maintain a lighter regulatory environment for media overall.

Colbert faced backlash following the Monday night airing of “The Late Show,” during which he made numerous jokes about Trump during his opening monologue. Among them, he said, “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.” Colbert’s mouth was blurred and the term was bleepded out for the broadcast, however.

Viewers took to social media to declare Colbert’s joke homophobic.The hashtag #FireColbert began spreading around Twitter, along with calls for people to boycott sponsors of the late-night show.

Colbert responded to the controversy during his opening monologue on Wednesday, saying he regretted his choice of words but stopped short of an apology.

“So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” he said. “I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”

Also during Wednesday’s show, “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons, who is himself gay, joked with Colbert about the controversy. “You taught me new terms,” Parsons said. “As a gay man, I didn’t know certain things — that’s titillating. I wouldn’t call it homophobic. That’s just my take on your good form.”

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins

    TV News Roundup: Jacob Tobia Joins 'She-Ra and the Princess of Power'

    In today’s TV news roundup, “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” Season 4 adds Jacob Tobia, and The Weather Channel announces the premiere date for its climate change special with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.  CASTING Jacob Tobia has joined Netflix‘s “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” Voicing Double Trouble, Tobia joins Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5

    TV Ratings: 'Watchmen' Premiere Draws 1.5 Million Viewers

    Who will watch the Watchmen? Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night. For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the [...]

  • Variety Sundance Portrait Studio

    Melanie Lynskey Joins Showtime Pilot 'Yellowjackets' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Melanie Lynskey has been cast in one of the main roles of the Showtime ensemble drama pilot “Yellowjackets,” Variety has learned exclusively. The project tells the story of a team of talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the Ontario wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Boosting Efforts in Project Development Amid Agency Standoff

    The Writers Guild of America, locked in a six-month standoff with major talent agencies, has announced that it’s boosting efforts at gathering TV, streaming and film project development data to help members find new employment opportunities. The WGA made the disclosure in a message to members on Monday. The guild directed its 15,000 members to fire [...]

  • Amy Poehler Jessica Goldberg

    Amy Poehler, Jessica Goldberg Team for 'The Mother-in-Law' Put Pilot at NBC

    Jessica Goldberg is set to write a drama with a put pilot order at NBC that Amy Poehler will executive produce. The project is titled “The Mother-in-Law,” based on the novel of the same name by Sally Hepworth. It is described as a thriller centered around a woman’s complicated relationship with her husband’s family that [...]

  • Beau Willimon Hulu The First

    Beau Willimon, Katie Cappiello to Produce 'Slut' Series Adaptation at Netflix

    Playwright Katie Cappiello is teaming with “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon to bring an adaptation of her 2013 play “Slut” to the small screen. The show, titled “Grand Army,” is set up at Netflix with Odessa A’zion set to lead the cast. “Grand Army” follows five students at the largest public high school in [...]

  • How 'Catherine the Great,' 'Chernobyl' Challenge

    How 'Catherine the Great,' 'Chernobyl' Challenge the Hollywood Script on Russia

    Hollywood loves a good baddie, and for the last 50 or so years, a large proportion of those villains have been Russian. Take Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who killed Apollo Creed in the ring in “Rocky IV,” or Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman), who hijacked the President’s plane in “Air Force One,” or more recently the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content