On Thursday November 14, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had reached a settlement with Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. (LBI) to resolve a nearly three year-long investigation into the airing of indecent, obscene, and profane content on a number of its Spanish-language broadcast stations. The investigation was launched after the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and GLAAD filed an extensive complaint concerning the program “José Luis Sin Censura” which aired on KRCA, LBI’s Los Angeles station, and other stations across the country.
“José Luis Sin Censura” was the Spanish-language show that for several years aired virulent anti-gay, anti-Latino and anti-female content. Guests and audience members were regularly prompted to chant anti-gay slurs, anti-Latino slurs, and anti-female terms, as well as engage in verbal and physical attacks. The program frequently featured blatant nudity and female guests were shown in violent fights.
In the Consent Decree, the FCC states that LBI violated the FCC’s indecency regulations. LBI agrees to make a “voluntary” contribution of $110,000 to the United States Treasury and to effect an extensive, three-year compliance plan to ensure that it will no longer broadcast indecent material. That compliance plan must include, at a minimum: the appointment of a compliance officer; the establishment of operating procedures to ensure compliance; the creation of a compliance manual; annual employee training; and compliance reporting, including self-reporting of possible violations in the future.
To view the Order and Consent Decree, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-13-2036A1.pdf.
The historic Consent Decree marks the first indecency action taken by the FCC since 2010 and, also, the first since the Supreme Court questioned the FCC’s indecency policy in June 2012.
“This settlement is a hard fought victory for our communities and sends a message that the FCC’s indecency rules will be equally enforced against Spanish and English-language broadcasters,” said NHMC’s President & CEO, Alex Nogales. “I applaud the Commission’s leadership and particularly the efforts of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau under Michele Ellison. I hope this is an indication of the return of the FCC as a steward of the public interest under its new chairman, Tom Wheeler, and that other bad actors will be held accountable when they use their broadcasting privileges to inflict harm on our communities and our children.”
“No one should ever be subjected to hearing the kinds of anti-gay, anti-transgender and anti-female words that were regularly hurled at audience members and participants on this show,” said Wilson Cruz, GLAAD National Spokesperson. “LGBT Latinos and their family and friends don’t want to turn on the television and hear derogatory and hurtful language. This kind of language often leads to prejudice and motivates violence. Entertainment media should never be part of creating a hateful environment that harms real people.”
The settlement follows an 18-month campaign by GLAAD and NHMC that resulted in the show’s permanent removal from the broadcast schedule in August 2012. At the outset of the campaign, GLAAD and NHMC filed a nearly 200-page formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and contacted dozens of major advertisers whose ads appeared during the program. The campaign resulted in an ongoing investigation by the FCC and a number of advertisers withdrawing their support of the show including AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals were mobilized, many via a petition at Change.org.
To view the nearly 200-page formal complaint against LBI and KRCA, visit: http://www.nhmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Jose-Luis-Sin-Censura-Liberman-Complaint.pdf
About GLAAD: GLAAD amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.