Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai revealed that the agency would investigate the comedian’s reference to Trump on Monday’s show as Russian President Vladamir Putin’s “cock holster.” Many called the comment “homophobic.”
“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,” Pai said on The Rich Zeoli Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT on Friday.
Pai added the FCC would follow the standard operating procedures and “make sure we evaluate what the facts are and apply the law fairly and fully.”
Colbert’s fiery two-minute routine, titled “Stephen says everything journalists wish they could,” included jokes about Trump’s tiny hands and missing tax returns. But it was the “cock holster” line that drew the most ire and subsequently inspired a #FireColbert hashtag on Twitter.
The late night show host responded to the controversy on Wednesday night, telling viewers he didn’t regret what he said because he believes the president “can take care of himself.” But Colbert did note if he were to do it again, he would “change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”
Addressing the claims of homophobia, he added, “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.”
Variety reported that Pai’s response to Colbert’s monologue is “surprising” as “’The Late Show’ airs outside the FCC’s long-established ‘safe harbor’ time frame of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in which the commission has the authority to police allegations of indecent and obscene material on the airwaves.”
Pai told The Rich Zeoli Show that if the commission finds Colbert violated FCC regulations he would most likely face a fine.
Still, Colbert probably isn’t sweating the investigation too much. “The Late Show” drew its best ratings on Thursday night since its premiere week in 2015.