- The Federal Communications Commission shared a list of over 1,000 complaints it received about Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime performance.
- Many cited that the performance was too sexual and used harsh phrasing. Some complaints compared the show to pornography, accused it of promoting sex trafficking, and said their eyes had been “molested.”
- Last year, the FCC only received 58 complaints about Maroon 5’s performance, with most citing Adam Levine taking his top off. These are still far less than the 200,000 complaints received in the five days after the Janet Jackson incident in 2004. In general, the FCC receives a high volume of complaints about sex and nudity on television.
Complaints About Halftime Performance
When Shakira and Jennifer Lopez lit up the Super Bowl LIV stage for a lively halftime show, some audiences felt that their eyes were “molested” and that they had witnessed “harm to our society,” according to over 1,300 complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.
The complaints were originally obtained by WFAA, a news station in Texas. The performance was broadcast to the over 102 million people who tuned in for the February 2 game. As it was happening, many praised it online as one of the best halftime shows they had seen but it seems that others watched in horror.
The bulk of the complaints said that the show was too sexual and provocative, though many accused the routine of being far worse. Almost 400 of the complaints compared it to pornography.
“Completely inappropriate half time-show with simulated orgies, stripping, and borderline pornography. This is a family event during prime time and should never have happened.” – Fort Wayne, Indiana
“The performance during the half time show was raunchy, lewd and not at acceptable for all viewing audiences…The scantly clad butt shots of JLo, especially when she turned to the cameras and bent over, was nothing short of hard porn.” – Lexington, South Carolina
Some tried to argue that the performance was especially bad for efforts to stop sex trafficking.
“In an era where sex trafficking is increasing such programs only tend to feed the problem. If I wanted to see this type of activity I would go to a strip club,” Instead, my living room was invaded by this.” – Southlake, Texas
“During a time when we are trying to stop Sex Trafficking and prevent Rapes why are we showing children women who are scantily clad during the half time show? Why was the camerman so obsessed with showing us Jlo’s crotch and anus? Why are we showing our children a stripper pole dance? Is your network encouraging more rapes and sexual assaults? Disgusting display of sex on tv. There wasn’t even a parental warning.” – North Las Vegas Nevada
People even threatened to boycott Pepsi and the NFL as a whole. Others encouraged the FCC to fine the league and those involved in the show.
“From start to finish, both Shakira and JLo did nothing but cause harm to our society. If there is no consequences from the FCC, then there might as well not be one. And they will only get my outrageous.” – Fort Myers, Florida
Others used particularly bold language when lodging their concerns.
“We expected to watch football and a quick concert but instead had our eyes molested. Shame on you all for allowing that to infiltrate our homes.” – Spring Hill, Tennessee
“No one wants to watch a bunch of whores dancing half naked on TV. This has to stop. Our children are watching. And women wanted to be respected? Bull crap.” – Larkspur, California
“The super bowl half time shows have GOT to be changed. No sex period. You are part of the problem with kids turning into horrible adults. Get your shit together.” – Kerrville, Texas
Previous Super Bowl Complaints
Complaints about Super Bowl halftime shows are nothing new for the FCC. Last year they also received complaints about indecent attire when Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine took his top off. In total, however, the FCC only received 58 complaints about 2019’s show, just four percent of the amount they saw this year.
These are both nothing in comparison to the 2004 incident with Janet Jackson, which brought in 200,000 complaints within the five days following the show. As time went on, some reports indicate that the number of complaints more than doubled that.
The FCC did hit CBS with a $550,000 fine afterward. After years of legal back and forth, it was tossed out.
Sex on TV and the FCC
Sex and nudity are not the only things viewers complain to the FCC about. Beyonce’s 2016 halftime show brought in over 40 complaints, with many outraged that she paid homage to the Black Panthers.
Complaints outside of the Super Bowl vary too. Over 100 people lamented that the 2016 presidential debates were often required a cable package or streaming subscription to be viewed. Game of Thrones saw concerns about sensational cruelty, Stephen Colbert has been hit for mocking the bible, and plenty of shows have been hit for language.
Still, sex and nudity are among the top things viewers file complaints about. While the FCC does not provide a breakdown of the subjects of the complaints it receives, based on public documents, as well as materials collected by MuckRock, it is one of the most common. The aforementioned shows also saw complaints regarding sex and nudity. Other programs ranging from Seth Macfarlane’s hosting of the 2013 Oscars, to innuendo on the Big Bang Theory, to bits and jokes on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, to a sneaky 50 Shades of Grey references on Sesame Street have been the subjects of FCC complaints as well.
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)
Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists
Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”
The American Music Fairness Act
Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders.
The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders.
On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments.
In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”
“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”
“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”
The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year.
The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.
Support From Major Music Groups
The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians.
If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”
Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists.
“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”
Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.
Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”
After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums.
Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs
Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.
On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”
While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers.
Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case.
“Not For Sale”
“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”
Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful.
According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.
The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”
“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued.
West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.