Despite conflicting reports amid the #FireColbert backlash for a crude joke about President Trump, “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert is not being censored by the FCC.
During his monologue on Monday night, Colbert made an oral sex joke involving President Donald Trump and Russian President Vadimir Putin that sparked immediate backlash, including a #FireColbert trending hashtag on Twitter, Trump supporters asking for a boycott of CBS advertisers, accusations that the late-night comedian was homophobic — and the eyes of the FCC.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that after receiving a “number” of complaints, the agency was “going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts, and we’ll take appropriate action.”
While that’s leading many to believe that the government is trying to censor the popular comedian, the FCC is investigating the incident as it normally does with any other customer complaint it receives.
“We review all consumer complaints as a matter of standard practice, and rely on the law to determine whether action is warranted. The fact that a complaint is reviewed doesn’t speak one way or another as to whether it has any merit,” an agency spokesman told CNNMoney.
If the material in question is found to be indecent or profane under the FCC’s “safe harbor” provision that is aimed to protect children and keep networks from airing such content before 10 p.m., “we will take further action, including possibly imposing monetary penalties,” the agency said. Colbert’s Trump-Putin joke had been broadcast later than 10 p.m. and was bleeped out.
Colbert has taken the fallout in stride — and has no regrets.
“I had a few choice insults for the president. I don’t regret that,” Colbert said on Wednesday, explaining that he was a “little upset” after Trump insulted his friend, “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.
Trump abruptly ended an interview with that CBS show, which he dubs “Deface the Nation,” after Dickerson pressed him to elaborate on his claim that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.
“While I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” Colbert said.