Parents Television Council Take Action E-Alert July 14, 2005

ABC Airs F-Word During Live 8 Broadcast


On July 2nd the ABC Television Network aired Live 8: A Worldwide Concert Event -- a prerecorded program containing footage from the many concerts that took place that day all across the world.

Audiences tuning-in to this family hour broadcast got an unexpected surprise at the bottom of the first hour (8pm Eastern, 7pm Central). During The Who's performance of "Who Are You" a line in the chorus "who the f*ck are you" was aired unedited. The program was aired on a tape delay, which should have given ABC ample time to edit all obscenities from the concert prior to broadcast. In fact a number of other profanities were edited from the program, but this F-bomb found its way into millions of living rooms across the country.

We need your help TODAY. If you feel that a network television broadcast of "f*ck" violates your community standards, we urge you to act now and register your indecency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and ABC.

Many of the artists performed songs that included obscene and vulgar language, and ABC took some steps to protect family audiences watching at home. ABC should have caught this obscenity as well, but they didn't. Given the time of day that this program aired, the broad family appeal of the Live 8 event, as well as the program's PG rating, ABC should have been more diligent.

In October 2003 the FCC outrageously ruled that the use of the F-word on television was not indecent if used as an adjective or intensifier. After a national outpouring of anger and frustration, the FCC reversed itself and said that the the "F-word" was indecent and profane. In making the ruling, then-Chairman Michael Powell said, "The gratuitous use of such vulgar language on broadcast television will not be tolerated." The FCC also issued a warning to broadcasters saying, "All broadcasters are on clear notice that similar broadcasts in the future will lead to forfeitures and potential license revocation, if appropriate."

That was March 2004. Since that time the FCC has still not ruled on a number of outstanding indecency complaints stemming from the use of the "F-word" on primetime television broadcasts. So long as those complaints remain un-adjudicated, broadcasters will continue to permit 'mistakes' like the Live 8 concert obscenity to occur. And that is inexcusable.

The FCC needs to review and act on these outstanding complaints. In doing so, they will send a loud and clear message to the broadcast networks that this kind of language does not belong on network television, particularly when young children are in the audience. The television networks must abide by the indecency law. And the FCC must vigilantly enforce the law.

Please take a moment to fill out an official FCC complaint against ABC and its affiliates at Please tell ABC and the FCC that we will not tolerate this abuse of OUR airwaves!

With urgent thanks,


Tim Winter, Executive Director

PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL -- Because our children are watching.

P.S. Please forward this e-mail to friends, relatives and colleagues in your email address book. If they join you in protesting to the FCC, and in forwarding this e-mail on to their circle of friends and relatives, our grassroots campaign against TV indecency will spread across the country like wildfire!

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