Society

Boycott Ensues After Stephen Colbert Mocks Melania (Video)

| by David Bonner

The movement to boycott "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" is gathering steam after the host made fun of first lady Melania Trump (video below).

The episode, which was posted on the show's YouTube account on June 14, featured Colbert conducting a mock interview with Melania impersonator Laura Benanti, reports The Inquisitr.

The focus of the "interview" was the first lady's recent move into the White House after a five-month delay. In the skit, Benanti's Melania character is portrayed as trying to think of reasons to avoid living with the president, and as having a tendency to self-medicate with wine, which she punctuates with the slogan, "Make American Grape Again."

But it is the reference to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which was a "vile attack" that "took things way too far," according to the conservative Red Nation Report.

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As Melania, Benanti said: “America took a vow, and Donald Trump is our president. ... And we must honor that. No matter how often America fantasizes about being with Justin Trudeau."

The humor offended enough Trump supporters that a #boycottColbert campaign was launched, in addition to the #FireColbert campaign that was started after the May 2 airing of his show, in which Colbert made a decidedly vulgar joke about President Donald Trump having a sexual relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*** holster,” Colbert said of the president on that episode.

On May 4, the Federal Communications Commission acknowledged that it would review complaints about Colbert’s joke, leading many to believe that a formal "investigation" was underway.

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However, as Georgetown University media law specialist Andrew Schwartzman notes, the FCC reviews every complaint it receives. "If somebody files something, of course the FCC has to look at it," Schwartzman said in an email to The Washington Post.

On May 8, an FCC spokesman confirmed to The Post that the commission was not launching an investigation, because the program airs late enough at night that it is exempt from the FCC’s policies on profanity and indecency.

It is not exempt from the more serious charge of obscenity, but Schwartzman insists that  "there is ZERO chance" that Colbert's joke would be considered obscene by the FCC, adding that there has been no successful prosecution of obscenity since the 1970s, when the Supreme Court adopted a much broader definition of the term.

Media lawyer David Oxenford succinctly deemed the controversy over Colbert's joke "much ado about nothing." In  communication with The Post, he added: "If it's legally obscene, it's got to be really bad. It has to be pandering to the prurient interest, the sexual interests of the audience, and has no redeeming social significance. ... It's something that I don't think the FCC to my knowledge has ever really been faced with."

Making fun of the president has been legal since 1964, when the Supreme Court struck down the Sedition Act of 1798, which outlawed criticism of the government, as Forbes points out.

Sources: The Inquisitr (2), The Washington Post, Red Nation Report, Forbes / Photo credit: Montclair Film Festival via Wikimedia Commons

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