- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Audio malfunction

Mick Jagger is under no censor’s thumb, the Rolling Stones said Wednesday, branding the decision to turn off the singer’s mike during the Super Bowl halftime show as “absolutely ridiculous.”

On two occasions during Sunday’s performance, the producers of the event, the National Football League (NFL), turned down the volume on lyrics deemed too sexually explicit for family viewing.

In a statement Monday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy insisted that the Stones had been consulted on the cuts before the show.

“The band was fine with it. They didn’t have an issue. Mick knew that’s what our plan was,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Though acknowledging that the group was aware of the NFL’s intentions, Stones spokeswoman Fran Curtis said they were anything but fine with complying.

“The Rolling Stones thought the censorship of their songs … was absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary,” MissCurtis said.

Producers have maintained tight controls on the content of the Super Bowl’s halftime show ever since singer Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed two years ago in what was famously blamed on a “wardrobe malfunction.”

The incident, which was broadcast to millions of TV viewers worldwide, led to CBS — the broadcaster for that year — being fined $550,000 dollars.

Reckless driving

Authorities were investigating an incident in which Britney Spears was photographed driving with her infant son on her lap but didn’t intend to pursue charges against the pop star, officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Diane Hecht said Tuesday that deputies went to Miss Spears’ home to collect information for the county’s Department of Family and Children Services. A DCFS spokesman wouldn’t offer specifics.

The sheriff’s department won’t pursue any charges, Deputy Luis Riskin said.

“Unless a deputy saw the violation, there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “We don’t even know if this took place in our jurisdiction.”

Several photos published Tuesday showed Miss Spears driving with her son, Sean Preston, perched on her lap rather than strapped into a car seat in the back seat. Miss Spears said she did it because of a “horrifying, frightful encounter with the paparazzi.”

The photographs show Miss Spears holding the wheel of the car with one hand and her 4-month-old baby with the other. A person is shown sitting in the passenger seat next to Miss Spears.

“I was terrified that this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger,” Miss Spears, 24, said in a statement released late Monday.

“I instinctively took measures to get my baby and me out of harm’s way, but the paparazzi continued to stalk us,” she said. “I love my child and would do anything to protect him.”

The agency that snapped the photos, X17, said the pictures were taken “in a very peaceful context, in which photographers exhibited no aggressive behavior.”

“We believe that the pictures speak for themselves,” the agency said in a statement.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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