Speed Reads

late night

Stephen Colbert is under FCC investigation for a Trump joke — but it's just standard procedure

Late Show host Stephen Colbert made an unusually crude joke about President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, a comment that has drawn ire from Trump's supporters and some members of the LGBT community alike. On Wednesday, Colbert apologized for his word choice but not for the substance of the quip.

The comic is now under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pursuant to "a number of complaints" following the Monday show. If the agency determines the joke was obscene — defined as a comments that appeal to "an average person's prurient interest" or "depict or describe sexual conduct in a 'patently offensive' way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" — CBS may be fined.

Though some have suggested the FCC's attention is politically motivated, the agency is following its normal rulebook, which entails investigation of all complaints. "We'll follow the standard operating procedures, as we always do," said FCC chair Ajit Pai, "and make sure we evaluate what the facts are and apply the law fairly and fully."