USA: Mötley Crüe blacklisted by NBC

According to The New York Times, the heavy metal lads of Mötley Crüe are suing NBC because the network canceled scheduled appearances and banned the band after singer Vince Neil uttered the “F”-word on a live “Tonight Show” broadcast

Has Mötley Crüe’s free-speech rights been violated? The glam-metal band filed a suit against NBC on May 24, 2005, stating that the network violated the band’s free-speech rights and weakened its sales by banning it after Vince Neil, the lead singer, used an expletive on the air in a 31 December appearance on “The Tonight Show”. Mötley Crüe is requesting a ruling that NBC’s ban is unconstitutional, a court order forcing the network to lift it, and unspecified financial damages tied to the band’s reduced media exposure.

According to the newspaper’s staff writers Jeff Leeds and Jacques Steinberg, NBC banned Mötley Crüe to “ensure compliance with its broadcast standards”. The story illustrates the uneasiness of the relations between the American entertainers and the media companies that provide a platform for their fame in the cautious climate that has surrounded programmers since CBS’s Super Bowl fiasco last year, when Janet Jackson’s right breast was exposed during a half-time performance in front of tens of millions of viewers. Last year the Federal Communications Commission proposed fines of nearly US$ eight million against broadcasters, primarily for risqué material, and executives have spoken openly of practicing self-censorship to avoid the agency’s crosshairs.

Rick de Yampert from The Daytona Beach News-Journal puts it this way:
“Motley Crue’s lawsuit alleges the band was unjustly made a patsy amid the current climate of the fine-happy Federal Communications Commission and government threats to crackdown on allegedly indecent TV and radio programming. Motley Crue lawyer Skip Miller drove this point home when he noted NBC has not announced bans on U2’s Bono or John Mayer, two other pop music artists who have uttered profanities on air.”


The New York Times:   ‘M

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