FCC: Buffy Can Straddle Spike

A nearly three-year-old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Buffy kisses and then straddles a character named Spike in an allegedly sexually suggestive manner did not violate federal indecency rules, the Federal Communications Commission announced Monday.

The Parents Television Council filed a complaint alleging that the Buffy episode depicted sexual intercourse and, as a result, violated FCC rules. The rules prohibit the broadcast of indecent content between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The Buffy program aired Nov. 20, 2001 at 8 p.m. on at least one TV station in the Eastern time zone.
The FCC’s indecency rules do not apply to cable programming, only to radio and TV broadcasts.
In a four-page order, the five FCC commissioners unanimously ruled that because the Buffy episode was not “sufficiently graphic or explicit,” it did not constitute a violation of the rules.
A PTC spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment. PTC filed the complaint against station WDCA-TV in the Washington, D.C., market. PTC supports a crack down on sex and violence aired on broadcasting and cable.
In a similar ruling, the FCC found, again unanimously, that a March 31, 2003 episode of NBC’s Will and Grace, in which “a woman photographer passionately kissed [a] woman author and then humped her,” did not cross the indecency line.
The FCC found that because “both characters are fully clothed” and the activity was not “dwelled upon,” Will and Grace was not intended “to pander, titillate or shock the audience.”
The Will and Grace complaint was lodged by a group called Americans For Decency against TV station KSAZ in Phoenix, Ariz.
The program aired March 31, 2004 between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.