Eight years after an NYPD Blue episode aired, which lovingly featured the pert buttocks of actress Charlotte Ross, the subsequent $1.4 million fine the FCC slapped on ABC (two years later!) for the ass-tastic scene has been tossed out by a federal appeals court. Today the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the fine, a decision stemming from its July ruling that the FCC indecency policy "violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague."
The court added, “Although this case involves scripted nudity, the case turns on an application of the same context-based indecency that Fox found ‘impermissibly vague.’”
What does this fancyfied legal mumbo jumbo mean for you and me? More graphic images being portrayed on television, that's what. Which I am in full favor of as long as we're talking about Timothy Olyphant in Justified. (Dear FX: please graphically portray his image naked with a cowboy hat. Thanks.)
It's apparent Ross herself took the potential fine quite seriously, since she then bared all for PETA's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" series. The Emmy-nominated actress included the titillating message: "I'd rather show my buns than wear fur."
ABC issued a statement that the network was pleased with the court's decision against the FCC:
"We have always believed that this 2003 episode of the long-running and acclaimed series NYPD Blue was not indecent and that the fines were unwarranted and unconstitutional."
However, the Parents Television Council watchgroup group has condemned the ruling. PTC president Tim Winter said,
“Once again the Second Circuit has proclaimed that it knows better than the Supreme Court, the Congress, the FCC, and the overwhelming majority of the American people. Regardless of one’s political viewpoint -- left, center or right -- this may well be the most egregious example of ‘legislating from the bench’ that our Federal Court system has ever witnessed."
So, basically the whole story can be condensed to the following:
FCC: "OMG. Was that an ass? On teevee?" *ponders mouthbreathingly for two years* "ABC, you owe ... uh, how about a million five. Yeah, that sounds about right."
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: "I LIKE BARE BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE. YOU OTHER BROTHERS CAN'T DENY."
ABC: "HA! Suck it, FCC!"
PTC: *removes giant stick from rear end, waves it in a threatening manner*
What do you think of the ruling? Should ABC have been forced to pay up?
Image via peta.org