Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert’s controversial joke about President Trump has now drawn the attention of The Federal Communications Commission after the agency received “a number” of complaints about Colbert’s Monday monologue, according to the FCC’s chief.
Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, confirmed in an interview with Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the agency had launched a federal probe into the Late Show host’s remarks to determine whether the joke should be considered “obscene.”
“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,” he said on Thursday.
“Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be,” he said. “A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.”
Broadcast television is governed by different rules depending on the time of day, Pai said Wednesday, prior to viewing Colbert’s comments.
The FCC flags speech it considers “indecent” before 10 p.m., he told Fox Business Network, and looks for “obscene” content after that point. Colbert’s “The Late Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.
The agency’s website states that content must meet a three-tier Supreme Court test to be labeled “obscene.”
“It must appeal to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a ‘patently offensive’ way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” it reads.
Colbert on Monday defended fellow CBS host John Dickerson against Donald Trump after the president told the journalist to his face that he refers to his award-winning news program “Face the Nation” as “Deface the Nation.”
“Donald Trump, John Dickerson is a fair-minded journalist and one of the most competent people who will ever walk into your office,” Colbert told his audience.
“Here we go,” Colbert said, before launching a blistering takedown of Trump.
“Mr. Trump, your presidency? I love your presidency, I call it ‘Disgrace the Nation.’” Colbert said. “You’re not the POTUS, you’re the BLOTUS. You’re the glutton with a button. You’re a regular ‘Gorge’ Washington. You’re the presi-dunce. But you’re turning into a real prictator.”
Trump “attracts more skinheads than free Rogaine,” has “more people marching against [him] than cancer,” and talks “like a sign-language gorilla who got hit in the head.”
Then came the insult which sent Trump’s supporters into orbit. Colbert said: “Sir, the only the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”