Jimmy Kimmel just got hit with a massive fine from the FTC for sketch mocking President Trump. The bit from his show on ABC took the requisite shots at Trump (Hollywood) mostly missed the mark but violated FTC rules for abusing the emergency alert tone.
And this is no small number either – $395,000 smackers for not making people laugh at Trump’s expense.
From The Hollywood Reporter: The network agreed to pay a fine to the agency after late-night host Jimmy Kimmel in October used a simulated tone three times during a sketch about the nationwide presidential wireless emergency alert test.
The bit, which is posted on YouTube, featured a trailer for a fake movie called The Textening. According to the FCC filing, ABC says it was a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible.”
A network spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that “ABC takes regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue.”
From the FTC:
The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau today announced settlements reached with a TV broadcaster, cable TV networks, and a radio broadcaster for misusing Emergency Alert System (EAS) or Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) tones. Episodes of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” and Discovery’s “Lone Star Law,” as well as promos aired by Meruelo Radio Holdings, LLC’s Los Angeles-area KDAY and KDEY-FM’s morning radio show, all aired actual or simulated alert tones in violation of the Commission’s rules.
Combined, the companies agreed to pay over $600,000 in civil penalties, and each committed to a strict compliance plan to ensure such actions do not recur. The Enforcement Bureau has also released an Enforcement Advisory to reiterate existing law as it applies to the misuse of EAS tones.
The use of actual or simulated EAS tones during non-emergencies and outside of proper testing or public service announcements is a serious public safety concern. The FCC’s rules prohibit such broadcasting of EAS tones – including simulations of them – except during actual emergencies, authorized tests or authorized public service announcements. These rules aim to protect the integrity of the alert system by helping to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.
The settlements announced today conclude FCC Enforcement Bureau investigations following these outlets’ illegal airing of alert tones. The specific settlements include:
ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – On October 3, 2018, ABC broadcast an episode of the late-night show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” which used a simulated WEA tone three times during a comedic sketch. ABC transmitted the episode nationwide to 250 TV stations, including eight of its owned and operated stations, which in turn broadcast the episode in their markets. ABC admitted to the violation, agreed to pay a $395,000 civil penalty, and committed to a compliance plan.