FCC is Investigating Colbert For Trump Jokes, and You'll Be Surprised Who Is Defending Him

by Caitlin Flynn
Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Stephen Colbert has never been one to hold back when it comes to skewering Donald Trump — and his ratings have soared since November 8. But he's currently facing backlash over a joke from his May 1 monologue, which has prompted the #FireColbert hashtag and prompted an FCC investigation.

"The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's c–-k holster," Colbert said of Trump. The #FireColbert camp claims that Colbert disrespected the president in a vulgar manner and should be fired for his joke.

On Thursday night's episode, Colbert responded by saying he doesn't regret the joke itself — but he would change some of the phrasing if he could do it over again:

"I don't regret [the joke]. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it's a fair fight... I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be. I'm not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that."

In response to the backlash, the Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation. On the surface, this sounds like a straight-up attack on free speech — but, in some ways, it is fairly standard procedure on the FCC's part.

However, the investigation is a stretch if you look into the details of the FCC's guidelines. "The Late Show” airs outside the FCC's  “safe harbor” time frame of 6 am to 10 pm — so the show's time slot will likely exempt CBS and Colbert from consequences.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed to the FCC by President Obama in 2012 and promoted to chairman by Trump in January, stated:

“I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints — and we've gotten a number of them — we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it's been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we'll take the appropriate action... Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be. A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do."

Meanwhile, celebrities have taken to Twitter to stick up for Colbert — and a few of them may surprise you.

George Takei Had A Prediction

And he was correct. Thursday night's episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert scored its highest rating since the September 2015 premiere.

Here's Why Patton Oswalt Is On Board With #CancelColbert

Honesty is the best policy — and, like the rest of us, Oswalt hates it when someone else beats us to the punch(line).

Rosie O'Donnell

O'Donnell has a different suggestion — and it's one I can get on board with.

Some Have Expressed Concerns Regarding Freedom Of Speech

Although the FCC's investigation isn't cause for major alarm, free speech is a hot button issue right now.

In fact, staunch conservatives Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity have described both the #FireColbert movement and the FCC investigation as misguided.

Both Huckabee and Hannity expressed similar sentiments — if you don't like a comedian's humor, change the channel. We'll probably never agree on anything again, but at least we have this moment.

Elite Daily has reached out to CBS and Stephen Colbert for comment. 

Citations: Why Do People Want Stephen Colbert Fired? #FireColbert Is Trump Supporters' New Rallying Cry (Bustle), Stephen Colbert responds to #FireColbert backlash (CNN), FCC to Investigate Stephen Colbert Over Controversial Donald Trump Joke (Variety), FCC Looking Into Colbert's Joke About Trump, Putin (CBS Philly), Stephen Colbert Hits Best Ratings Since 2015 Premiere (Daily Beast), Hannity opposes #FireColbert movement (The Hill), Huckabee defends Colbert from calls for FCC punishment (The Hill)