- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission won’t discipline “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert for making an oral sex joke this month involving President Trump and his Russian counterpart, the regulatory agency said Tuesday.

Mr. Colbert ignited a firestorm during his May 1 broadcast when he concluded a diatribe directed at Mr. Trump by stating, “the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c– holster.”

While the expletive was censored during that evening’s broadcast of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS, the FCC nonetheless initiated a routine investigation afterwards upon receiving an avalanche of complaints from concerned viewers.

“Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints,” the FCC said in a statement Tuesday, Variety first reported. “The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”

The FCC had received a “number” of complaints about the comment in the immediate aftermath of the broadcast, Chairman Ajit Pai said in a radio interview earlier this month. In Tuesday’s statement, the FCC quantified the complaints as “thousands.”

Federal rules prohibit television stations from broadcasting content deemed indecent or profane between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., but “The Late Show” airs in most markets beginning at 11:30 p.m., placing the program in a time slot where only “obscene” material is barred by federal law.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled content may be considered obscene if it appeals to the average person’s prurient interests, is “patently offensive” and wholly lacks “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

Mr. Colbert previously said he would have changed “a few words that were cruder” than necessary, but expressed no regrets for targeting the president.

“He, I believe, can take care of himself,” he said of Mr. Trump earlier this month. “I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.”

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin directed an influence campaign meant to boost Mr. Trump’s likelihood of winning last year’s White House race. Moscow has denied the allegations.

Separately, investigators in the U.S. House, Senate and Justice Department are currently considering whether any members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign were in cahoots with Russian actors prior to last year’s election. Both the White House and Kremlin have denied collusion.

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