FCC won't take action against Colbert over Trump joke

A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said Tuesday that the agency received "thousands" of complaints about the late-night host's May 1 show, so it reviewed the material as "standard operating procedure".

After reviewing the footage, the FCC said in a statement, "There was nothing actionable under the FCC's rules". The oral sex joke was bleeped before the airing of the May 1 episode of CBS Corp's "Late Show with Stephen Colbert", but prompted a social media campaign to get Colbert fired.

Colbert started with Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, including the many similarities between what Trump criticized former President Barack Obama over and what he himself did - Obama bowed to accept a gold medallion, for example, and Trump threw in a curtsy.

On that broadcast, Colbert made a joke suggesting that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in a sexual act.

Several days after the broadcast, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was asked about complaints over the remarks, and he said that they would be looked into.

The FCC reviews complaints as a matter of course, but there was essentially no avenue for it to take any action against the CBS stations that aired the content even if it wanted to.

"I don't want to betray my guest because there's what happens on-camera and off-camera, but I guess it's okay because I don't think [Ted Cruz] understood what he was asking", Colbert said on Saturday at New York Mag's Vulture Festival, according to the New York Post. "I have jokes; he has the launch codes". Colbert told his audience he was responding to Trump's appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation" the preceding weekend, when the president told host John Dickerson that he liked to call the Sunday morning news show "Deface the Nation". "But it was protected speech", PTC President Tim Winter said of Colbert's joke.

  • Salvatore Jensen