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Press Release

September 3, 2008

PTC Files Amicus Brief in Support of FCC Fine Against ‘NYPD Blue’


LOS ANGELES (September 3, 2008) – On Friday, the Parents Television Council™ filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief responded to ludicrous arguments made by ABC lawyers regarding a February 25, 2003 airing of “NYPD Blue.” The broadcast at issue contained a graphic display of female nudity and aired at 9:00 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones. PTC called on the court to uphold the FCC fine and ensure that ABC is held accountable for violating the broadcast decency law.

“The Parents Television Council is asking the court to take seriously ABC’s clear violation of the broadcast decency law during a 2003 episode of ‘NYPD Blue.’ Abiding by the law should not be too much to ask from a network that uses the publically-owned airwaves for free,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“As discussed in PTC’s amicus brief, the arguments presented by ABC lawyers are laughable. In the episode at issue, ABC shows a fully-naked woman from behind. The camera ogles her up and down with saucy music playing in the background and a child looking on. Later in the show, the adult characters joke about the boy’s reaction to seeing the woman naked. How ABC lawyers can even begin to object to the network’s indecency violation is beyond me; the fact that they compare the scene to nudity shown in ‘Shindler’s List’ is simply ridiculous.  


“This incident cannot be justified by the context or by ABC’s claims that the show explores ‘the multifaceted aspects of family interrelationships.’ As stated in our brief, the show ‘is about titillation and jokes at the expense of a child who has walked in on his father’s naked girlfriend…Context is why ‘Schindler’s List’ is not indecent – and why the soft porn shower scene in the challenged ‘NYPD Blue’ episode, with its smirky, gratuitous jokes, is indecent.’”


“The indecency statute has been upheld by the courts and was recently amended by Congress to increase penalties for broadcast decency violations. The statute must mean something. The voices of PTC members and many other citizens who expressed their concern about the episode must also mean something. PTC calls on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to listen to the people for whom the broadcast decency law was created, rather than the high-paid network lawyers and their agents who will say anything to muddle the commonsense truth that such explicit and gratuitous nudity on broadcast TV before 10 p.m. is indecent. We beseech the court to enforce our nation’s broadcast indecency statute,” concluded Winter.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.



The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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