Phrase used twice
Ms. Mirren, walking on stage to accept a Best Actress Emmy for her role in "Elizabeth I," joked that, "My great triumph is not falling ass over tits coming up those stairs. If you saw the shoes I've got on, you would understand." Actress Calista Flockhart later repeated the "ass over tits" statement.
PTC President L. Brent Bozell noted that NBC, which aired the Emmys, was the same network that aired a 2003 Golden Globes telecast in which Bono made a statement that subsequently prompted the FCC to act. "Didn't NBC learn anything from airing the live broadcast of the Golden Globes during which Bono dropped the F-word?" Mr. Bozell asked. "NBC should have aired the Emmys on a tape delay, to bleep out the obscenities. A few seconds delay would not have meant a thing."
Dan Isett, PTC's director-corporate and government affairs, said the word "tits" was the problem. "It's one of the original seven dirty words," he said, though adding that PTC's point was broader than the specifics. He said NBC hadn't exercised proper care in screening.
'What the law says'
Asked whether "tits" really represents indecency anymore -- a dancer in the musical "A Chorus Line" repeatedly uses the word onstage in one example of mainstream usage -- Mr. Islett said that decision isn't up to him. "It doesn't matter what I think. It's what the law says."
NBC did not immediately return several calls seeking comment.