The Federal Communications Commission on Friday rejected an appeal from Fox Television on Friday to overturn an indecency complaint over a 2003 episode of a short-lived reality TV show.
The commission reaffirmed its decision to fine Fox television stations and affiliates $7,000 for an episode of Married by America which was aired in April 2003. The show featured contestants licking whipped cream off strippers.
The FCC posted an order on its Web site, stating that it would have fined the company more had it been allowed. The agency first proposed fining 169 Fox stations for airing the broadcast, then did little to follow that up.
On reflection, we believe that the forfeiture penalty...is unduly low in light of the nature and gravity of the violation and the ability of the licensees to pay. If we were proposing a forfeiture for the first time here, we would be inclined to propose a significantly higher forfeiture per station.
Originally, the agency proposed fining each station that aired the show before 10 p.m., which would have resulted in a $1.12 million fine, but ultimately decided to fine just the 13 stations that had complaints filed against them, for a total of $91,000.