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Press Release

PTC Says NBC Should Reconsider Policies About Airing Unedited Expletives

By: Kelley Oliver

Release Date: 1/15/2018

LOS ANGELES (January 15, 2018) – The Parents Television Council called on NBC to reconsider its policies about airing explicit language in light of the reportage over President Trump’s recent use of an expletive that was included in full during an NBC news broadcast, but not by other broadcast networks which have shown restraint about airing the expletive in full. Additionally, NBC allowed an unedited “f-word” to be aired during “Saturday Night Live.”

“Americans have reacted to the explicit language used in the White House with clear and convincing disapproval, so that shouldn’t give license to NBC or other broadcast networks to now legitimize s-words, f-bombs or other similar profanity on television. We believe that it’s wise not to expose children to that kind of harmful language, no matter whether it’s news or entertainment programming. We urge NBC to reconsider its policies about airing this kind of language on its network, in order to help protect children. Repeating the words that the network agrees are so vulgar only serves to legitimize them to young viewers,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“NBC was the only broadcaster to air the unedited expletive used by President Trump. By comparison, other broadcasters showed restraint in not airing this explicit language. NBC’s decision – although protected by the FCC’s ‘news indecency exemption’ and therefore is not subject to indecency complaints – only perpetuates and normalizes that explicit language.

“If that wasn’t enough, NBC allowed an unedited ‘f-word’ to air during the live broadcast of ‘SNL’ over the weekend. When NBC announced last year that ‘SNL’ would be aired live, we warned the network’s broadcast standards team that it must be on guard for the occasional instance of a performer going rogue. And while NBC’s team bleeped the ‘f-word’ on the West Coast feed, it wasn’t prepared for the East Coast feed. That is unacceptable.

“NBC must do better. The network has a responsibility to ensure that children and families – many more of whom will be in the viewing audience given 'SNL's' earlier air time – are protected from explicit or indecent content.

“And as a reminder to NBC, advertisers are watching. Network conduct on these matters will help inform sponsors in their media buying decisions.”

The Parents Television Council® ( 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 1.4 million members, 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.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
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To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at