The Federal Communications Commission has been fielding complaints from the American public for more than a year regarding Donald Trump’s incendiary comments on the campaign trail. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the release and subsequent broadcast of the 2005 recording of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women has prompted nearly two dozen people to write to the agency to complain.
These viewers appear disturbed that news networks chose to air the tape uncensored and that trusted news personalities reporting on the tape were saying things like “pussy” and “bitch” when children could be watching.
FCC indecency regulations do not apply to news or to cable television. The agency said as much in its response to the complainants: “The FCC is not permitted to censor or restrict the availability of non-broadcast programming shown over cable and satellite systems. Cable and Satellite Operators do not have the same restrictions on program content as regular television broadcast stations.”
VICE News obtained 23 of these Trump tape complaints via a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the FCC. It took just one day for the FCC to respond — unprecedented speed for a federal agency.
We asked Arthur Scrutchins, an attorney at the FCC, whether this number of complaints was normal. “It is all relative,” he said. “What may seem like a major event could hardly create a blip. On the other hand, a seemingly minor event could cause a major reaction. We can never predict what will offend the public or move individuals to take time to complain to the Commission.”
The agency redacted the names of the people who complained, but you can read their letters in full below: