Calvin Klein’s new spot shows actress Eva Mendes fuzzy in a black-and-white composition, rather artsy until for a split second her arm moves revealing the tip of her breast. U.S. TV networks banned the ad and refused to accept even a recut version.
The real deal is poor ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox (as well as mid-tier cable networks) are caught between FCC broadcast rules representing the moral safety of the American public and what Americans really want. Consumers are fleeing broadcast in droves to watch racy videos on YouTube and online nudity, yet TV broadcasters face huge fines if they cross the line.
(Complaints to the FCC are up. Back in 2001, there were only 346 complaints all year; in the first half of 2006, U.S. consumers shrieked 327,198 times.)
The irony is the FCC rules do, by definition, allow naked flesh. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. — hours when children might watch — nudity, profanity, and obscenity are banned. But after 10, TV broadcasters have a safe harbor period in which they could conceivably broadcast full frontal nudity or the F-bomb.
But there is a catch. The FCC provides no safe harbor for “obscenity,” and that is defined as any material that an average American might find has a tendency to excite lustful thoughts. So you see, America, it’s not the nudity that keeps Eva off your television. It’s the naughty way your mind might react.
Via Steve Hall.