Court Tosses FCC `Wardrobe Malfunction’ Fine
PHILADELPHIA — CBS won’t have to pay the $550,000 indecency fine leveled against it by federal regulators for Janet Jackson’s breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
A federal appeals court has ruled the Federal Communications Commission “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity.
The court found that the FCC deviated from its nearly 30-year practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so “pervasive as to amount to ‘shock treatment’ for the audience.”
The 3rd Circuit judges also ruled that the FCC deviated from its long-held approach of applying identical standards to words and images when reviewing complaints of indecency.