PTC Pushes Indecency Complaints Over 'The Mick'

The Parents Television Council is ramping up its campaign against Fox's The Mick, calling on viewers to file indecency complaints at the FCC over the show.

Specifically, they are targeting the April 25 episode, which aired at 8:30 p.m. ET and had a plotline about a teenager wanting breast implants. It cites not only the general plot line but the phrase "you're working the room like you're mayor of tit town…"

"Not only was an indecent word used in a sexual context, but the dialogue was delivered by a minor. Furthermore, the entire episode included graphic sexual dialogue and double-entendres, yet it was rated by Fox as appropriate for viewing by children as young as 14 years old," said PTC. 

“George Carlin’s infamous comedy routine about the seven words you can’t say on television is still an unofficial guideline the FCC uses to determine whether language is in violation of Federal Indecency laws," said PTC president Tim Winter. "We urge the FCC to act and to help families protect their children from indecent content, just as the Congress has instructed and just as Chairman Ajit Pai has pledged."

In an interview with B&C, Pai said recently that "so long as [the indecency reg] remains on the books, and the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality, it is the duty of the agency to faithfully enforce that provision with respect to broadcast regulations."

He also laid down the potential law in an interview with, ironically, Fox Business Network, saying: "If we are presented with complaints, we are duty bound to enforce the law," he said, "and the law that is on the books today requires that broadcasters keep it clean so to speak." Pai said he took that FCC obligation seriously.

PTC two weeks ago was trying to push Mars candy company (M&M, Skittles) to pull its ads from the show. 

The FCC has already taken one indecency-related action under Pai, which PTC took as a shot across the bow, but one veteran attorney who has defended TV stations against indecency complaints said he did not see it that way. "The WSKQ Consent Decree tells us that the Media Bureau is eager to dispose of a license renewal challenge that has been pending for more than a decade, but tells us relatively little about what indecency policy the Commission will pursue," he said.

Fox had no comment on PTC's push for indecency complaints.

John Eggerton

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.