CBS Nipplegate Fine Tossed—Again

FCC remains unhappy with Janet Jackson's breast

What the fuck?

Three years later, and there's still no real conclusion on the Federal Communications Commission's $550,000 fine against CBS for Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl. For the second time, a three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia called the fine arbitrary. 

The Court first ruled it was arbitrary in 2008. That was appealed to the Supreme Court, which remanded it back to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2009 following the FCC's indecency ruling involving Fox Television's airing of a "fleeting expletive," uttered by Bono at a 2003 Golden Globes awards show.

An FCC spokesman said that "while we are disappointed by the court of appeal's decision, we note that the court overturned the FCC's 2006 forfeiture order on narrow procedural grounds. In the meantime, the FCC will continue to use all of the authority at its disposal to ensure that the nation's broadcasters fulfill the public interest responsibilities that accompany their use of the public airwaves." 

For the most part, the FCC's indecency rules are in limbo. The Supreme Court is planning to take up the rules involving broadcasts by ABC and Fox, which were both fined by the FCC in 2003 for, respectively, showing a bare butt on an episode of NYPD Blue and Fox's aforementioned airing of a "fleeting expletive" (Bono called an award "fucking brilliant").