Last week, Stephen Colbert sparked controversy due to a joke he made about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin during his opening monologue of “The Late Show.” “The only thing [Trump’s] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster,” the host joked, prompting the Federal Communications Commission to announce it planned to review the joke following some complaints from viewers. On Monday, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) issued a statement slamming the FCC.
“As presidents of the Writers Guilds of America, East and West, we were appalled to read recent remarks by Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai,” WGA East chief Michael Winship and WGA West chief Howard Rodman told Deadline. “He said the FCC would investigate a joke about Donald Trump by Writers Guild member Stephen Colbert, ‘apply the law’ and ‘take appropriate action’ if the joke were found to be ‘obscene.'”
They added, “Pai’s remarks are just the latest in a series of statements by the current administration indicating a willful disregard of the First Amendment. Colbert was poking fun at authority, a time-honored American tradition and an essential principle of democracy. What is obscene is not what Colbert said but any attempt by the government to stifle dissent and creativity. Our unions vehemently support Colbert and his writers and will fight for his or any individual’s right to publicly express his or her opinion of our elected officials.”
Following the controversy, Colbert defended his joke later in the week, but was not apologetic at all. “So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes, he has the launch codes. So it’s a fair fight,” Colbert said of his joke last Wednesday. “While I would do it again, 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.”