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Hollywood Writers' Union Defends Stephen Colbert

Hollywood's primary writers' union has come to the defense of member Stephen Colbert after Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said he was investigating an anti-President Donald Trump monologue the comedian delivered on his Late Show last week.

In a radio interview last Friday, Pai said that his agency was looking into a Late Show monologue delivered on May 1st that criticized Trump for abruptly aborting an interview with CBS News' John Dickerson. Pai said the agency had received complaints—some online critics have labeled Colbert's monologue homophobic—and promised it would "apply the law" set out by the courts.

In a joint statement this morning, Writers Guild of America East and West presidents Michael Winship and Howard Rodman wrote that they were "appalled" by Pai's remarks. "Pai's remarks are just the latest in a series of statements by the current administration indicating a willful disregard of the First Amendment," they wrote. "What is obscene is not what Colbert said but any attempt by the government to stifle dissent and creativity."

The FCC reviews complaints of broadcast content and typically issues fines when it concludes flagged content is obscene or indecent. A fine on Colbert seems unlikely, however, owing in part to the higher tolerance for explicit content in late-night time programming.