FCC Probably Powerless To Fine ABC Over Diane Keaton's "Fucking Personality"

Diane Keaton, while appearing live on “Good Morning America,” told Diane Sawyer that she’s admired her looks, particularly her lips, saying “that if she had lips like that she wouldn’t have had to work on her ‘fucking personality’ and would be married by now.” Obviously, Diane Keaton is awesome, but FCC chairman Kevin Martin is notoriously fond of attempting to punish stations that allow free spirited celebrities to slip in a few “shits” and “fucks” into their live television appearances.

After Bono expressed his opinion that winning a Golden Globe was “really, really fucking brilliant,” the FCC tried to amend the obscenity rules to include “fleeting references,” such as Bono’s. The rule was tossed out by a court.

Last year’s court decision that threw out the FCC’s policy on “fleeting references” complicates any action the commission might want to take against the stations or the network, chairman Kevin Martin told reporters.

When asked whether the FCC would take action, Martin appeared flummoxed by the court’s decision and the most recent incident of celebrity potty mouth.

“Obviously the commission’s pending litigation has impacted a whole host of issues, but I don’t know enough about the details of this to see how it would be impacted,” he said.

Diane Keaton swears on TV, FCC stammers [a wire service]
( AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

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  1. Buran says:

    I’m a little confused here. I see that they’re biased somehow, but against what exactly?

  2. B says:

    Isn’t this like when Bono swore at the Oscars? There wasn’t any fine then, and the context is similar. Also, won’t somebody think of the fucking children?

  3. B says:

    @B: Seesh, learn to read, idiot.

  4. vanilla-fro says:

    until the right person does it, then fines, fines everywhere fines.

    is it ok or is it not ok? that’s all yes or no. GMA has the ability to run on a delay like radio shows and now award shows. they don’t have anything to say that is important enough that 8-10 seconds would be a disaster.

  5. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Obviously her “fucking personality” is why she’s not married by now.

  6. hubris says:

    I just don’t get why he’s angry that he can’t chase after people and levy fines. I mean, sure, there should be some standards, but who exactly is he championing here? Is there a great general outcry by people upset about this? Or is he just mad he can’t fill his coffers for stupid fucking reasons? (oooh….fine me!)

  7. vanilla-fro says:

    @B: also Bono said it at night. this was right about when little jonny would be eating cherios off the table.

  8. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Who gives a shit what the fuck Diane fucking Keaton says?

  9. B says:

    @vanilla-fro: Reflecting further, the context is different. Bono used fucking as a synonym for really, where as Diane Keaton, I think, is using it more as a synonym for bad.

  10. EncephelanetRepairHelperGuy says:

    So who bought the upper-700 bandwidth form the FCC this month?

  11. diamondmaster1 says:

    While I deplore the coarsening of language, I cannot in good conscience say that there’s anything fucking wrong with what was said. Shit, we’re supposed to have freedom of fucking speech in the US of fucking A, aren’t we?

  12. That70sHeidi says:

    She’ll need more than just her lips revamped. Eeesh.

  13. mthrndr says:

    video please.

  14. danno99 says:

    I kinda dig a gal who drops the f-bomb once in a while.

  15. sir_eccles says:

    OMG, generic moral outrage!

  16. mthrndr says:

    never mind, here it is: Diane Keaton swears
    The best part is Diane Sawyer’s forced laughter after it happens. That laughter is filled with unctious stress that if they get fined, she will be spanked.

  17. hubris says:
  18. shan6 says:

    She’s kinda hot in an “older woman who has seen enough that she doesn’t care who tells her not to say ‘fucking’ on the air” sort of way.

  19. Who is Diane Keaton again?

    Exactly.

  20. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: Isn’t that pretty much what she said?

  21. When stuff like this happens, you just have to loosen your tie-if you’re a man or Diane Keaton or Avril Lavigne- and then you try to jump out of it.

  22. spryte says:

    @Tian: Um, an actress who’s been around quite a long time and been in some major movies (like that little indie flick The Godfather and a couple of Woody Allen’s best films, IMO).

  23. kimsama says:

    @mthrndr: You can see the video on Jezebel.

  24. martyz says:

    Honestly, I’d probably watch it more often if the show was called “Good Fucking Morning, America.”

  25. Andrew says:
  26. dgcaste says:

    People that think they’re funny when they drop the F-word anywhere in this comment section need to stick to their day job.

  27. @dgcaste: sorry…were they planning to move to their night jobs? “I us0rred the F-word! I r rockstarz!”? Fuck, man. Chill out.

    Diane Keaton has been around forever, and taken on some truly iconic roles, so…uh…yeah, she gets a little leeway in the industry.

  28. dgcaste says:

    You’re not funny either.

  29. LikeYourFace says:

    @dgcaste: Fuck that. What is this, the seven motherfuckin phrases you can’t say on the goddamn internet? Don’t be a douche.

  30. dgcaste says:

    Are you always a douche when referring to another douche? Does that work for you?

  31. Trauma_Hound says:

    Listen my fellow fucking Americans, you have a constitutional right to free fucking speech. You do not have a constitutional right not to be offended by said fucking speech.

  32. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @sir_eccles: I LOL last night at this idiot the news had on who was complaining about the moral outrage of the new Target ads. The ad she thinks should be banned show a girl fully clothed sitting on the target bullseye. I had no idea what she was pissed about since the girl has about 99% of her skin covered. Then she was like the bullseye was some kind of sexual referance because her crotch was in the middle of the bullseye. I was shocked and stunned that someone can be that stupid. Then she went on to say that she spends all her free time looking for things like that in the media. Pretty pathetic.

  33. spinachdip says:

    @Tian: Wow! Such irreverence!

    Seriously, go get some fucking culture.

  34. AD8BC says:

    Uh, Diane Keaton must really have no class.

    Even my wife (who can cuss the wallpaper off a wall) knows when to keep her language clean.

    I don’t mind decency rules on broadcast media. You wanna cuss? Go to cable.

  35. ExtraCelestial says:

    @dgcaste:
    Ok Mr.Grumpykins. While I agree that having the inclusion of a swear word be the punchline of a joke is rather far from funny, humour is quite subjective. Someone, somewhere could be in a fit of uncontrollable giggles. Calm it down a bit.

  36. Leiterfluid says:

    I think most of you are missing the point. Diane Keaton shouldn’t by fined, but GMA, and the network that airs it should for not having a delay built in so they can censor stuff like this.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech, I cuss like a sailor, but this type of thing is never appropriate for daytime broadcasts.

    Not only that, but Diane Keaton is fantastic. Anyone who doesn’t know who she is needs to go out and rent Annie Hall, Sleepers, and Love and Death.

  37. savvy999 says:

    Tale of these two Dianes:

    Sawyer = kinda hawt, graceful, prone to smiling and blinking
    Keaton = kinda weird, germophobe, prone to hiding her neck & hands

  38. Islandkiwi says:

    If it happened on GMA, nothing happens. If it happened on a morning radio show, major fines.

    And it’s not just the double standard, it’s the fact that the FCC refuses to tell you what exactly the rules are…then when something like this happens, maybe they choose not to enforce it.

  39. econobiker says:

    You can not say fuck on the tv but you can say bovine anal mucus…

    Which is worse?

  40. MercuryPDX says:

    @Islandkiwi: Ditto Oprah, but I bet the Fundamentalist groups that usually carpetbomb (as an army of one, plus a copy machine) the FCC “My sweet lord… they said Peee-nis on the air!” complaints let that slide.

  41. vanilla-fro says:

    @econobiker: depends on the order you may want to say them in.

    I got the bovine anal mucus all over myself and then we…..

    or: While we were fucking and then she poured….

    nevermind, I guess they’re both bad in any order.

  42. johnperkins21 says:

    @Leiterfluid: Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech, I cuss like a sailor, but this type of thing is never appropriate for daytime broadcasts.

    Why exactly? Can you give me a good reason why it’s not appropriate for daytime broadcasts? Saying it’s not good for kids to hear isn’t an answer because what makes it bad for kids to hear? What’s wrong with the word fuck? If I use fudge in it’s place, with the exact same intended meaning, why is that ok? I simply don’t understand the taboo behind “curse” words.

    I can see why some language is inappropriate, like racial slurs, but expletives are expletives regardless of their spelling or pronunciation.

  43. Instigator says:

    BBC America lets Gordon Ramsay slip a few “shits” through on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, yet bleps out the rest. I wonder if he’s allowed only so many per episode. Anyway, at least The Beeb America isn’t as anal as American broadcast TV (and the FCC). And as I noted in another post, we can now expect “vagina” to become “va-jay-jay” when Oprah takes over Discovery Health.

  44. quiksilver says:

    @ad8bc: Good call! It’s called common sense and being able to censor one’s self. Apparently it’s something Diane Keaton is lacking.

  45. mandarin says:

    SOmehow I always thought, by the way she dresses that she was a lesbian..

  46. Klink says:

    “Don’t say that johnny, just hear it.”
    -George Carlin

  47. @spinachdip: ha, that was your pun, right?

    knee slapper alert.

  48. AD8BC says:

    @quiksilver180: Exactly. And, in the name of decency, ABC should have had a 7 second delay and their finger on the dump button.

    Keaton should have censored herself.

    Lacking that, ABC should have censored her.

  49. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Diane Keaton is excellent. Any woman who is the inspiration and embodiment of Annie Hall is alright by me.

    And I love that she managed to sneak in the F word on Good Morning America. Haw.

  50. AD8BC says:

    @johnperkins21: Just because you say it is OK for kids to hear, doesn’t mean that other parents think the same.

    Is censorship of bad words against the 1st amendment?

    The first amendment was designed to not let the government quash ideas. Dianne Keaton could have presented the same idea without the F word.

    Also, if the FCC wants to regulate language on broadcast TV and radio, let them. There are plenty of outlets to send profanity to the masses anyway. Cable TV being one of them. And I don’t have a problem with that, because I don’t think the FCC should have it’s hands in cable TV anyway. Let the FCC regulate their airwaves, and I’d be happy.

  51. AD8BC says:

    Another good point. What was the TV rating of this show?

    An astute parent who does their best to protect their kid from smut would set up their V-chip to lock out programming with the F-bomb in it. I can’t seem to find GMA’s maturity rating, it is probably like TV-G or TV-PG. “Fuck” would probably call for a TV-MA.

    Which means ABC, if they are planning to allow this in the future, should rate their show TV-MA. Sounds like someone needs to complain to the TV Parental Guidlines commission. [www.tvguidelines.org]

  52. Egakino says:

    @SpiderJerusalem: @LikeYourFace: Please get to know a fundamental rule of forum posting: Don’t feed the troll.

  53. topgun says:

    A) What would Diane Keaton do with those lips that would have her married?
    B) She’s how old and how wealthy?
    Give me a woman with a healthy bankroll and one foot in the grave any day.

  54. spryte says:

    So many people with their panties in a twist because “she should have censored herself”, “she should have more sense” blah blah. You’ve never accidentally let a swear word slip out? Come on! Lighten up, it’s not like she pulled a Michael Richards or something…

  55. Parting says:

    Show me a kid who does not know the word ”fuck”.
    I’ll wait.

  56. johnperkins21 says:

    @ad8bc: I didn’t say it was OK for kids to hear, I asked why it wasn’t OK for kids to hear. I personally don’t think “curse” words should be taboo. They only have that power because we give it to them.

    You said that “Dianne Keaton could have presented the same idea without the F word,” but why is it the F word you have a problem with and not the idea? Does that really make sense to you? You have an issue with the arrangement of syllables she used, but none with the sentiment? You really don’t think that’s fucking insane?

    And the FCC does not own the airwaves. They simply regulate them, poorly. The government should not have free reign to censor speech.

  57. AD8BC says:

    @spryte: Oh i have accidentally let one slip out.

    That’s what the network censors are for.

    After the “wardrobe malfunction” just about any live show ought to have a 7 second delay.

  58. AD8BC says:

    @johnperkins21: I agree they are regulated poorly.

    The one thing the FCC has done well with the airwaves has been to split them up amongst the services that require them.

    That’s about it.

    it’s up to parents to determine the speech they want their kids to hear. Although not a kids show, a parent would hardly expect GMA to let that one slip.

  59. stacye says:

    @ad8bc: That’s not what the FCC was originally designed for. Also, not everyone has access to alternative airwaves.

    @johnperkins21: “Cuss words” are not necessarily bad for kids to hear. They do, however, stunt their vocabulary growth. I would prefer my children understand how to communicate without saying universal words like fuck and shit. Yes, I understand “That fucking sucks” means “That is a terrible predicament, ” but if my kid continues to hear the cuss version, they will not learn how to properly communicate.

    Little Timmy isn’t going to turn into a class ‘A’ idiot by hearing ‘fucking personality’. Timmy will turn into an idiot when he hears mommy calling daddy a bastard for the 500th time.

    And the FCC really should have better things to do.

  60. johnperkins21 says:

    @stacye: Respectable argument there, and I can’t really disagree with you that using curse words as a crutch can limit a vocabulary. I can argue that by making the words taboo it actually encourages kids to use them. If they were simply viewed as another means of expression, like the difference between something being very large, enormous, or fucking huge, maybe we all as a society would use them more constructively and effectively increase our collective vocabulary.

    Ha ha. Sorry. I couldn’t actually type that with a straight face. But seriously, the taboo nature of the words is what gives them the power and possibly elicits the over-use. And any kid who watches too much TV, be it vulgar in nature or not, is probably going to end up with a limited vocabulary regardless. A majority of network shows are aimed at a 4th grade intelligence level.

  61. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @martyz: GFMA, indeed :)
    Oh, [video.google.com]
    (The FCC song)

  62. r4__ says:

    @spryte: he’s not racist, that’s what’s so insane about this.

  63. spinachdip says:

    @Tian: ?

    I wasn’t trying to be funny, let alone punny.

  64. r4__ says:

    @stacye: I have an enormous vocabulary but still curse at least a hundred times a day.
    Why? Retail.

  65. spinachdip says:

    @stacye: I’ll cosign that argument.

    In a weird way, I feel the same way about cursing than I do about pot smoking. I don’t think marijuana smoking, in and of itself, is a bad thing (well, besides the low sperm count, short term memory loss, carcinogens, etc). Shit, it’s a safer alternative to prescription pain medicines. I don’t smoke myself, but if someone else in the room wants to light one up, that’s fine by me.

    But when kids smoke pot, it stunts their emotional growth, because they don’t learn to deal with stress or manage conflicts.

    Also, using bastardized curse words bothers me as much as actual obscenities. If you say, “heck” or shit, “H-E-double hockey sticks”, it’s pretty fucking obvious what you mean. Just come out and say it! It’s not the time or the place? Well, why are you expressing blasphemous thoughts? It doesn’t make you a better person because you found a way to express a blasphemous thought without actually saying it. It makes you blasphemous AND disingenuous.

    And I never understood commenters and message board posters who censor themselves, like “f*ck” on uncensored websites. It’s one thing if the site’s software filters out certain words, but otherwise, why? Again, it’s obvious what you’re saying. If you’re afraid of offending someone or being though of as obscene, why the fuck are you saying it to begin with?

    Oh, and Slate had a piece on the history of “fuck” a while back: [www.slate.com]

  66. joellevand says:

    I think Eric Cartman said it best: fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

    It’s a word. Little Johnny/Billy/etc. can say it and it won’t warp his fragile little mind. Words only have meaning derived from social context. If we don’t go fucking nuts on a child who says fuck (because we find it offensive — there is nothing intrinsically wrong with ANY word…cunt included. And I can say that, because I have an umbrella, as any NMTB fans know!) there will be no reason to repeat said word and it won’t matter if the word fuck is said pre-watershed, post-watershed, on radio, tv, or in print.

    It’s a word!

    Fuck!

  67. Elviswasntmyhero says:

    So Janet Jackson’s aging, funky-nipple-ring-wearing breast plays peek-a-boo and CBS never hears the end of it. Yet Annie Hall curses like Andrew Dice Clay and ABC will probably get a pass from the FCC?

    Right.

  68. suburbancowboy says:

    So Infinity Broadcasting was fined for millions by the FCC when Howard Stern said “Lesbians full of lust” (Yes, that was what the initial FCC complaint was filed for), but ABC gets away with the F bomb with zero consequences?

    Now I am fine with swearing. I curse all day long. What I am against is hypocricy, and double standards.

  69. Trauma_Hound says:

    @ad8bc: If you are so astute you’d realize your kids get worse words at school, in a worse context. I really love and hate America right now, we have people razing pussies.

  70. tk427 says:

    A NSFW language lesson:

    [www.youtube.com]

  71. Trauma_Hound says:

    @joellevand: EXACTLY! I’m a parent. My child has said shit, all of one time. We didn’t make a big deal about it, and she hasn’t said it since. I know parents that do make a big deal about it, and their kids cus like sailors.

  72. spinachdip says:

    @Trauma_Hound: I really don’t have a problem with people razing pussies, though I do prefer trimmed.

  73. AD8BC says:

    @stacye: Uh, actually the FCC was originally designed for splitting up and assigning frequencies and licensing people. By licensing them, it also set the rules. The FCC was actually started as the Federal Radio Commission (changed names in 1934 to the Federal Communications Commission).

    As a ham radio operator, I am subject to the same rules. Upon application for my license, I had to learn what the rules were and accept them — it is a form of contract, and I can be fined (up to $10,000) by using them on the airwaves myself. If I wanted to swear on the airwaves, I’d stick to CB (although still illegal, not enforced).

    @Trauma_Hound: You can also teach your children that those words are not appropriate and that those who use them on a regular basis are classless pussies themselves. Sure, they will encounter that kind of language… but it is for grown ups like myself, and you I suppose, to use.

    Hey, if you want to teach your children to not have any class, then go for it all you fucking want.

  74. AD8BC says:

    @Trauma_Hound: That’s what the bar of soap is for.

    It’s more fun than not making a big deal about it.

    Want to make sure they don’t say it again? Rub it in their teeth.

  75. Cary says:

    I saw last year’s court hearing where the FCC’s attorney got ripped a new one by the court. The ruling slapped the FCC up one side and down the other and told them that the court didn’t want to see this matter again.

    The gist of the ruling was that the FCC couldn’t make up the rules as it goes and slap a broadcaster with hundred of thousands of dollars in fines whenever it felt like it and decide what’s okay and what’s not on the fly and after the fact. It was an entertaining hour of television to say the least.

    Howard Stern, oddly enough, never mentioned the ruling. Odd, considering that he is due some major refunds.

    One of the most amusing parts of the hearing was watching a Justice of the Appelate Court swearing and then asking the FCC attorney if the evening news could play the tape of him uttering those words. Mr. FCC just stood there, not knowing whether to shit or go blind, speachless and dumbfounded. Excellent television.

    Since there are no published rules, and not wanting to wind up in front of the court again after this ruling, I don’t think the FCC dares tempt fate by fining ABC. At this point it would be kind of like arresting George W. for being an idiot; he’s guilty… but it ain’t a crime.

  76. Kilotonne says:

    FCC should issue the “F-credits” to all stations. Using any one of the “seven words” would use up one F-credit. Make the credits tradeable, so that the tight-butthole stations can sell them to the more fun ones.

    Slapping stations with ridiculous fines for stupid shit like cuss words cripples creativity. Many radio DJs complain that it’s getting out of hand – they can’t say anything without pissing-off the FCC.

  77. vanilla-fro says:

    @spryte: people paid to see him, in an adult setting. Was he wrong, sure. Should he have been censored in that setting, no.

  78. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    B won’t somebody think of the fucking children?

    the children really shouldn’t be fucking, if they are indeed children…

  79. S-the-K says:

    I wonder if this means that NASCAR has to re-imburse Dale Earnhardt Jr for the “fleeting reference” to “shit” in his comments after winning the Talladega race a couple years ago. The only reason he was fined was that NASCAR and Fox shit their pants at the FCC fining them for letting Dale Jr say the s-word after winning a race.

    BTW, it was when a reporter asked him something about how does this make him feel considering all the wins Dale Sr had at the track. Dale Jr said something like, “What I did don’t mean shit….” Referring to his accomplishments can’t hold a candle to his father’s accomplishments.

  80. Catrandom says:

    Well, there are a couple of things being jammed up together here, so here goes:

    The FCC doesn’t just go around slapping fines on people who use dirty words on the airwaves. Indecency enforcement is 100 percent complaint-driven. No consumer complaint, no enforcement action, no fine. So as far as the FCC is officially concerned, this hasn’t even happened yet. If somebody complains, then the Enforcement Bureau wheels will start to turn — very, very slowly.

    And the “fleeting indecency” case that got the policy change bounced out in court didn’t involve fines at all. The Fox appeal was over the ruling that language used on two separate awards-show appearances by Nicole Richie and Cher was indecent, but the FCC didn’t issue fines because the incidents took place after the Bono flap that led to the policy change on fleeting or “slip of the tongue” indecency. It was at the Golden Globes (not the Oscars) that Bono said the award was “fucking brilliant,” and the FCC first said that wasn’t indecent, and then, after Congressional freakouts, changed its mind and said it was. Nobody was fined over that, either.

    Congress being what it is, there are bipartisan bills pending to specifically allow the FCC (a change from earlier versions of the bill that would’ve required it) to set a policy that single words or images can trigger indecency enforcement. This has as much to do with Janet Jackson’s breast, of course, as it does with Bono’s fucking brilliance.

    And, if we’re talking about fleeting indecency, nobody owes Howard Stern’s employers even a buck on that score. The incidents Viacom/Infinity were fined over don’t fit into the “slip of the tongue” category, which is all this policy change involved. The court in the Fox case didn’t get into the FCC’s right to enforce indecency rules, just its right to arbitrarily decide that broadcasters are liable for fleeting, accidental, and tongue-slippage-type incidents.

    As far as trends, there wasn’t a single indecency fine levied against any broadcaster last year. The hysterics have turned to media consolidation these days instead.

    And, having written an epic, I’ll shut up now.

  81. Gesualdo says:

    Obscenity laws are absurd now, especially with the TV rating system and TVs now being able to block particular ratings/channels. Now that the govt has mandated these additions to the TVs, they should get out of the content and make parents responsible for ensuring their kids don’t watch inappropriate content.