Skip to main content

PTC Complains to FCC About Keaton's GMA F-Bomb

Look for Parents Television Council members to file indecency complaints at the Federal Communications Commission over Diane Keaton's unbleeped F-word on Good Morning America Tuesday.

PTC complaints have helped to generate proposed FCC fines in the millions of dollars (for an episode of CBS’ Without a Trace), generated court cases (Janet Jackson; the profanity-decision challenges) and consent decrees (CBS' recent settlement over the KUTV Salt Lake City license challenge). The group called on members to file the complaints, saying that there was "no excuse" for the F-word to "crop up" in news shows "in front of millions of parents, families and children."

In an interview with GMA’s Diane Sawyer, Keaton said she wished she had lips as attractive as Sawyer's, adding, “Then I wouldn’t have worked on my fucking personality.” Keaton immediately apologized and Sawyer joked that Keaton’s mother was going to wash her mouth out with soap.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday that he had not seen any complaints about the broadcast, but he conceded that current litigation on the FCC's indecency-enforcement regime has impacted a "host of issues."

News programs are not exempt from indecency fines, but there is a higher hurdle for such programming.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.