Band sues NBC in free speech challenge to FCC indecency rule

Last New Year’s Eve, Vince Neil, lead singer of the rock band Mötley Crüe, used an expletive during an appearance on a live broadcast of NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” Following the incident, the network permanently banned the group from future appearances on all NBC shows.

Last month, Mötley Crüe sued NBC in federal court in Los Angeles, accusing the network of violating the singer’s right of free speech in an attempt to mollify the FCC.

The band is asking the court to rule that NBC’s ban is unconstitutional. It also wants a court order forcing the network to lift the ban on future appearances and for unspecified financial damages tied to its reduced media exposure since Dec. 31.

The case, the first to highlight rising tensions between entertainers and media companies over the continuing FCC indecency initiative, broadens the effect the FCC’s stiff fines are having on over-the-air programming.

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