The Federal Communications Commission will not be penalizing “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert after thousands of complaints flooded the government organization, citing a joke in which the host said President Trump’s mouth would make a good “c–k holster” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After reviewing the complaints, the commission said in a statement obtained by TheWrap it “has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”
Late night shows are given more leeway in what they can joke about, making the fear of being fined by the FCC for indecency more remote.
Nearly 6,000 complaints were filed since “The Late Show” host’s joke on May 1, with objections ranging from indecency to hate speech to homophobia, according to Politico. Colbert’s mouth was blurred and his voice was bleeped out when the joke was broadcast.
Politico was able to review some of the comments obtained from the FCC through the Freedom of Information Act, with one Florida complaint saying, “I know all you Commie shills hate this president but it is your job to keep these Leftists from dragging this nation further into the gutter.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai initially responded to the stir surrounding Colbert’s joke by reminding the outraged that “it’s a free country.”
“The FCC — outside of our decency rules — we don’t get into the business of regulating content,” Pai said in an interview on May 3. “What I can say is that I realize this is a politically polarized time and I would hope that everyone can participate in the public discourse in a way that’s civil and operates in good faith.”
Pai did later, however, reveal that the FCC was reviewing complaints.
In a transcript provided to TheWrap on May 3 from CBS, Colbert offered a message of love and inclusion: “I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me an American hero.” He said he hoped Trump would agree.