WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $1.4 million fine against 52 ABC stations for a 2003 broadcast of police drama “NYPD Blue.”
The fine is for a scene where a boy surprises a woman as she prepares to take a shower. The scene depicted "multiple, close-up views" of the woman's "nude buttocks" according to an agency order issued late on Jan. 25.
ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Co. The fines were issued against 52 television stations either owned by or affiliated with the network.
The FCC's definition of indecent content requires that the broadcast "depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities" in a "patently offensive way" and is aired between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The agency said the show was indecent because "it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs — specifically an adult woman's buttocks."
FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate said in a statement: “The law is simple. If a broadcaster makes the decision to show indecent
programming, it must air between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This is neither difficult
to understand nor burdensome to implement.”
The network defended its broadcast of the episode, saying in a statement, “ABC feels strongly that the FCC's finding is inconsistent with prior precedent from the Commission, the indecency statute, and the First Amendment, and we intend to oppose the proposed fine."
The agency rejected the network's argument that "the buttocks are not a sexual organ."