Charlotte Ross’ Buttocks Slapped With Fine

ABC have been fined $1.43m for an NYPD Blue episode that showed “multiple, close-up views” of Charlotte Ross’ (below) buttocks.

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The announcement follows years of argument between the US regulator and the network since the show was broadcast as far back as February 25, 2003.

The Federal Communications Commission said it found the episode to be “indecent”. The fine is $27,500, the maximum possible at the time, multiplied by the 52 ABC stations that showed it.

The FCC commissioner Deborah Taylor said,

“We find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks. Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.”

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The fine is more than twice that applied when Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show.

You can see more of this shocking scene at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnsxFvCaZJ8

But don’t say you weren’t warned.

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9 thoughts on “Charlotte Ross’ Buttocks Slapped With Fine”

  1. The video is great while she’s undressing and even when the little kid comes in. In fact it’s great until she supposedly realizes that he shouldn’t be seeing her naked and starts to try to cover herself. Now if this was a movie for Swedish TV they probably wouldn’t need to have her do that. That shame and coverup is the part I find most objectionable. I mean, she’s a beautiful woman. But it’s actually kind of ugly to see her feeling guilty and trying to hide.

    Why should she be ashamed of a little kid, who is presumably her son, seeing her naked like that? How could it have any sexual significance for a kid that age? It’s not like he’s losing his innocence just by seeing a woman naked. Folks, what you’re seeing here is cultural programming. Charlotte’s character is programmed to be ashamed of her body and her actions are programming the kid to feel women’s bodies shouldn’t be seen. That’s what she’s teaching him.

    Of course, Charlotte’s shame and coverup probably serve to create dramatic tension around sexual guilt which is maybe good for audience involvement and ratings. Hey, probably the publicity around the fine is good for ratings and free advertising too. So it’s a win win situation for most of the participants. Even Charlotte Ross gets a lot of “exposure” out of this news story. The government gets money. Valdor gets a story. We get a good excuse to see Charlotte naked, because after all we need to investigate what the fuss is all about.

    Now what I don’t understand is why the network is getting fined when it was Charlotte who did the bad thing. Yeah I know the government thinks the network made her do it. But you’d think there’d be someone there at the network who’d know how to make the punishment fit the “crime” and would take this opportunity to have a little fun with the situation. And what was the crime again exactly — showing her naked buttocks on network TV? I mean I’m sure it must have been her own idea. Right?

    And if it wasn’t her own idea? Charlotte, if you’re out there reading this, log on and set us straight. Please and thank you.

  2. I did wonder if it was the presence of the kid that they really objected to.

    Either way, as you both seem to be saying, I’m sure the network knew what they were doing and were courting some controversy and publicity with this scene.

  3. This is part of the on-going “culture war” in the U.S. There are organizations, most prominently the “Parents Television Council,” who are trying to “cleanse” TV, not only of nudity, but of all discussions of sex or anything else not “suitable for children.” They really do want the TV of the early 1960’s back. They’re tight with the Bush administration and have been pushing for this sort of thing for years.

    “NYPD Blue” was a special target. Although one of the greatest television dramas of all time, IMHO anyway, it did have a lot of gratuitous nudity. (Not that I’m complaining — we did get to see not only Charlotte’s bottom, but Sherry Stringfield’s, Amy Brenneman’s, Kim Delaney’s, etc. Of course, we also had to look at Dennis Franz’s.) At the beginning of the series, there was at least one butt-shot in every episode, whether there was any reason for it or not; by the end, one season opened with two characters in bed after a night of lovemaking, giggling over who would get out of bed first … and do the first nude scene of the season.

    So this is all political … and one more reason to hate the Bush administration.

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