Married by America titillation earns FOX a record FCC fine of $1.183 million.

Married by America titillation earns FOX a record FCC fine of $1.183 million.
The reality special Married By America had content that the FCC says existed to “pander to and titillate the audience,” as if that’s a bad thing, and the agency has fined FOX $1,183,000 for the offense. That’s $7,000 for each of the 169 stations that aired the show. That fine is nearly double the fine levied on CBS for the blinding shot of Janet Jackson’s breast, which of course is more of a threat to our children than terrorism.

FOX hasn’t decided whether or not to appeal, according to the AP, but said in a statement, “We disagree with the FCC’s decision and believe the content is not indecent.” Specifically, here’s what the FCC had a problem with:

Even with Fox’s editing, the episode includes scenes in which partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers’ bodies in a sexually suggestive manner. Another scene features a man on all fours in his underwear as two female strippers spank him. Although the episode electronically obscures any nudity, the sexual nature of the scenes is inescapable. … Although the nudity was pixilated, even a child would have known that the strippers were topless and that sexual activity was being shown.

There’s the freaking out over a breast again. So who at the FCC was breast-fed too long and is traumatized by the mere idea of a bare breast? I have an idea for a new reality show: Let’s take the members of the FCC, and the RIAA and MPAA just for good measure, and drop them off on an island. And leave them there.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.