|Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake on stage at the 2004 Super Bowl just seconds before the 'wardrobe malfunction' that sparked a national controversy over indecency in the media.|
Congress Raises Indecency Fines Tenfold
Maximum Penalty Increased to $325,000 per Incident per Station
FCC Rejects CBS Appeal to Rescind Super Bowl Fine
Network Vows to Continue to Fight $550,000 Penalty
FCC Slams Networks For Indecent Programming
CBS Says Ruling Too Harsh for Janet Jackson Incident
Broadcasters Announce Parental-Control Effort
$300 Million Effort Seeks to Shift Content Decency Responsibility to Viewers
Senators Blast TV Companies for Indecent Programming
Government Curbs and Cable Changes Suggested
Viacom to Pay $3.5 Million FCC Indecency Penalty
Settlement Covers Radio Shows but Not Super Bowl
Janet Jackson Super Bowl Debacle Dissected in Congress
NFL Chief Apologizes; CBS 'Shocked and Appalled'
CBS made it clear, however, that it was only paying the fine for the "procedural reason" of having to do so to proceed with its appeal. CBS in a statement said it continues to believe the ruling deeming the incident indecent was wrong.
"Payment of that forfeiture does not mean that CBS in any way is admitting to a violation of the FCC's indecency rules," CBS said in its court papers. It called the order "unconstitutional, contrary to the Communications Act and FCC rules, and generally arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law."
In a statement, the network denied violating the rules. "CBS has apologized to the American people for the inappropriate and unexpected halftime incident, and immediately implemented safeguards that have governed similar broadcasts ever since. However, we disagree strongly with the FCC's conclusions and will continue to pursue all remedies necessary to affirm our legal rights."
"The Commission will vigorously defend the forfeiture order," said FCC spokeswoman Tmara Lipper. "CBS' continued insistence that the halftime show was not indecent demonstrates that it is out of touch with the American people. Millions of parents, as well as Congress, understand what CBS does not: Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction' was indeed indecent."
140 million viewers
The Feb. 1, 2004, incident was part on an MTV-produced halftime show that aired live to an estimated 140 million viewers, the biggest TV audience of any show that year. It ended in a stunt in which Justin Timberlake pulled a part of Ms. Jackson's bustier, supposedly to reveal a red bra. Instead, what the audience saw was one of Ms. Jackson's breasts.
The breast-baring prompted a furor in Congress, which this year steeply increased fines broadcasters will pay for indecent material.
CBS has said it knew nothing of the stunt in advance and the breast-baring was accidental.
The FCC ended up fining 20 CBS-owned stations $27,500 each, resulting in a $550,000 fine.