MANHATTAN (CN) – Television networks do not have to pay a $1.2 million fine levied by the Federal Communications Commission over an episode of “NYPD Blue” that showed a woman’s naked buttocks for about seven seconds, the 2nd Circuit ruled Tuesday.
“In the episode, Connie McDowell (played by Charlotte Ross), who has recently moved in with Andy Sipowicz, disrobes as she prepares to shower, and her nude buttocks are visible,” the ruling states (parentheses in original). “As McDowell turns toward the shower, the side of her buttocks and the side of one of her breasts are visible. While she faces the shower, the camera pans down, again revealing her nude buttocks.”
ABC argued that the scene contributes to the characters’ arcs, but the FCC cracked down after receiving indecency complaints.
A February 2008 forfeiture order heaved $27,500 penalties on each of 44 ABC affiliates.
Applying the same reasoning that the court used to throw out fines Fox incurred after airing unscripted obscene words during an award show, the three-judge appellate panel vacated the ABC forfeiture order, finding that the agency’s indecency policy is “unconstitutionally vague.”