The Federal Communications Commission will not take action against CBS' "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert for a monologue he delivered on May 1 in which he made crude jokes about President Trump.
The agency says it received thousands of complaints after Colbert mocked Trump over abruptly ending a interview with CBS's John Dickerson on "Face the Nation" when he was pressed on his unverified claims that President Obama wiretapped his office. After calling the episode "Disgrace the Nation," Colbert went on to say that Trump's "mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's cock holster."
Critics complained the joke was indecent and perhaps even homophobic, resulting in a trending social media boycott: #FireColbert.
Colbert said later that week that he didn't regret his "choice insults" directed at Trump, but conceded that if he were to do the monologue again he would "change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be."
As is a typical course of action with any complaints, the agency looked into the matter, as revealed by Chairman Ajit Pai a few days later.
"Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints," an FCC spokesman said in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. "The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC's rules."
The result of the investigation means the FCC did not find that Colbert's language was obscene or indecent enough to warrant what typically would be a fine.
After 10 p.m., (Colbert's show starts at 11:35 p.m. ET), "obscene" language is prohibited on broadcast TV and radio. According to the FCC, obscene content, not protected by the first amendment, is subjected to a "three-pronged" test established by the Supreme Court: "It must appeal to an average person's prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a 'patently offensive' way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."
The FCC's conclusion was first reported by Variety, which said Colbert's crude joke was bleeped out of the broadcast and his mouth was blurred.