5:51 pm - 01/27/2014

How Did Macklemore Get Away With Saying "Faggot" Last Night?

(at 2:26 mark)

Queen Latifah used her monarchical powers to marry 33 couples at the Grammys last night. Some of those couples were gay. Macklemore sang his song "Same Love." No straight marriages were harmed by last night's proceedings.

Macklemore's song includes the lyric, "Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board." He sang that, un-bleeped by network censors. That's cool, in context, that word shouldn't offend any people. Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar had half of m.A.A.d City bleeped out, probably because of his prolific use of the N-word.

Are there laws regarding this, or are the people at CBS just making things up as they go along?

Contrary to popular belief, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not ban specific words. There aren't seven words you can't say on network television. The FCC bans "obscene" speech, so arguably there are hundreds of words that could be strung together in a prohibited way, depending on the tightness of your wad.

The FCC only acts when they receive public complaint about programming. In 2012, there was a backlog of 1.4 million such complaints, but a recent Supreme Court ruling encouraged the FCC to get its act together and come up with some more clear rules for broadcasters. People complain about all sorts of things.

Realistically, there are only two words that will get your network automatically slapped, and I think we all know what they are: dropping F-bombs will get you in a load of waste. For pretty much everything else, if the FCC gets a complaint, its staff will look to the context of the language. And that brings us back to Macklemore. In the context of a special marriage ceremony, in the context of a song about the unequal treatment of gays and lesbians, Macklemore's use of the otherwise offensive word "faggot" shouldn't result in an obscenity fine. In fact, it's unlikely that most people even noticed the non-bleeped use of the word.

But the Grammys are nothing if not hopelessly behind the culture of music. Kendrick Lamar also "sang a song" during the Grammys... and it should make the Grammy people feel bad for not honoring his work this year. Macklemore even apologized to Lamar for "robbing" him. Interestingly, Lamar's rendition of m.A.A.d City was so heavily edited you might have thought your cable was cutting out during the performance:

Now... there are a lot of F-bombs and N-words in m.A.A.d City. It's probably not that surprising that CBS censors worked overtime on that one. But it is interesting that when it comes to the N-word, context be damned. Shouldn't the FCC be just as able to distinguish offensive context around the N-word as it is regarding anti-gay slurs?

Don't get me wrong: lots of people think the N-word should be just as "banned" as any of the traditional dirty words. Lord knows, the last thing anybody wants to see at an awards show is Brad Paisley and LL Cool J working out their racial issues on stage.

But legally, CBS didn't have to bleep Lamar like he was a Hobbit humping the Imagine Dragons. We could live in a world where everybody got the benefits (or consequences) of context.

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swissbeauty23 27th-Jan-2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
i was wondering that too
glittergary 27th-Jan-2014 10:54 pm (UTC)
wow idk how i missed that
johnyoung524 27th-Jan-2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
like they didnt even try to censor the right words for Kendrick or Bey I just remember missing whole lines from their performance but I could hear "faggot" clear as day like...
speshsnowflake 27th-Jan-2014 11:00 pm (UTC)
The censorship was lazy as fuck tbh. But yeah, I peeped that too.
thebloomroom 27th-Jan-2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
lmao i know like "how the hell this shit happen" got bleeped but this went thru? oh okay
sfarfallio 28th-Jan-2014 01:39 am (UTC)
i was so surprised they bleeped out that whole line and not just the shit part. like really?
robintheshrew 28th-Jan-2014 01:36 am (UTC)
Sad thing is I'm not even surprised. All these award shows are just a big joke.
theantipoet 27th-Jan-2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
I can't even with this guy.

can he just go away already?
goldengal1193 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
"can he just go away already?"

Every time I see him I wonder the same thing.
zombeats 27th-Jan-2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
Nope, he can't.
breadprincess 27th-Jan-2014 11:40 pm (UTC)
my fiancé loves him and i'm just like yeah, straight dude, tell me more about how hard it is to be mistaken for being gay, please, i'm riveted
nowakingeye 28th-Jan-2014 12:04 am (UTC)
randommakings 28th-Jan-2014 10:07 am (UTC)
starsremain 27th-Jan-2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
Ripping Kendrick's + Imagine Dragon's performance.

That's cardio workout music, right there.
nineteensix196 27th-Jan-2014 11:00 pm (UTC)
OMG DYING slay me! I just became an overnight Imagine Dragons stan also lol
odontv 27th-Jan-2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you baby jesus
cancerbats 27th-Jan-2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
thank you for this <3
endingonfire 27th-Jan-2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
Yessss <3
goldengal1193 27th-Jan-2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
Yesssssss. It's spring/summer of 2013 all over again for how much I'm about to play this.
xeroxicide__ 27th-Jan-2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
Is it usually censored? I mean like on family guy or American dad?
brogitsune 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
family guy has said it uncensored
xeroxicide__ 27th-Jan-2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
Hmm so I guess it's one of those acceptable curse words for network television like the word bitch. The selective censoring has always been odd to me anyway.
dumpweeds 27th-Jan-2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
glee used it too uncensored
laurondo 28th-Jan-2014 01:26 am (UTC)
As The World Turns, a daytime soap for god sake, said it uncensored. Doesn't make it okay, though, I know. But there you go.
peggybundy 27th-Jan-2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
i totally missed it when he said it yikes
noiresoul 27th-Jan-2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
They bleeped Beyonce too which confused me since I'm sure the lyrics were 'how the hell did we end up here?' and I don't understand why it was bleeped.
glittergary 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
she says "how the hell did this shit happen" in that line
noiresoul 27th-Jan-2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
so they bleeped out shit? what in the world
morgan90 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
It was bleeped for using the word shit, as in "how the hell did this shit happen"
gish_is_cool 27th-Jan-2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
i always thought the lyric was "woke up in the kitchen saying 'hi' to healthy dishes" so imagine my surprise when it was bleeped. oop.
goldengal1193 27th-Jan-2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
I heard that too last night and got so confused.
madhubala 27th-Jan-2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
Dis gonna be good
crucified 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
Fuck Macklemore and his shitty ass music.
sprty 28th-Jan-2014 12:36 am (UTC)
arielazul_22 28th-Jan-2014 01:39 am (UTC)
nothing more to say tbh
castiellans 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
How Did Macklemore Get Away With Saying "Faggot" Last Night?
he's a straight white man

but really they should have censored it
pikapika217 27th-Jan-2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
especially after censoring Beyonce for a whole sentence
amilahxo 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
I dont know much about rapping but he sucks so much
pikapika217 27th-Jan-2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
Mack is going DOWN the tubes.

Not even 12 hours ago I was defending his re: his success and saying essentially that while he profits from the current system he didn't create it and at least seemed to be self aware & trying to do the right thing.

THEN ALL THIS SHIT HAPPENS. I guess I'll have to be even more careful of the white entertainers I choose to fuck with even a little bit now
xoxobliss 27th-Jan-2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
We dun told you guys. Finally seeing the light. The signs were in all of our faces.
pikapika217 27th-Jan-2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
and the thing was I NEVER really ever saw it for him but figured he was largely harmless. He was never a fave of mine or even someone I really liked but I didn't mind him all that much either.
landwarinasia 27th-Jan-2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
What else happened?
giantbutts 28th-Jan-2014 12:09 am (UTC)
mte on everything
turi 27th-Jan-2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
because, context.
the song is bringing attention to the ignorance in using the word. but oh whatever, ontd hates him.
melissa_ivory 27th-Jan-2014 11:05 pm (UTC)
Doesn't mean it should have gone uncensored. I'm all for educating people, but really, with all the other censoring they did that didn't make sense, this should have been a no brainer.
turi 27th-Jan-2014 11:18 pm (UTC)
honestly I feel it's only 20 yr olds and below who are offended. and GOOD, as it should be. if you are in your 30s, this word was tossed around literally yesterday and you have to catch yourself from using it in mixed company. time will help it catch up to that verboten list tho.
maidenhell 27th-Jan-2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised this is the first (and so far only) comment stating this.
la_nostalgia 27th-Jan-2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
Right? He didn't insult anyone with the word, he said that other people called each other that behind their backs
devourlove 27th-Jan-2014 11:06 pm (UTC)
but if someone is talking about someone calling them the n-word that's censored out too. contextually that should be the same thing
bobbing_apples 27th-Jan-2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
Did you read the post? Nigger wasn't offensive in Kendrick's case but they still bleeped it.
zombeats 27th-Jan-2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
I don't get all the hate.
clairelittleton 27th-Jan-2014 11:13 pm (UTC)
this was actually what i was thinking. context and showing the ignorance in using the word.
crashh_world 27th-Jan-2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I agree I was confused about the uproar here. I've only heard like 2 of this guys songs so I'm not a fan but damn if ONTD is not nuts about this guy.
devolute 27th-Jan-2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
it doesn't matter why you're saying it, this is network television. the n-word is always bleeped regardless of context. can't drop f-bombs either even if you have all the best intentions.
zeldazonked 27th-Jan-2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
Definitely. Like if it had been Eminem up there performing, it would have been bleeped.
cpb1220 27th-Jan-2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
ia with you. Context is important here.
riruka 27th-Jan-2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
i feel like censoring it would defeat the purpose of the song...
leperheart 27th-Jan-2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
you know how much ONTD likes to climb up on their high horses and prance around going "look at meeeee look at meeeee"
vanishingbee 27th-Jan-2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
neemah 27th-Jan-2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
CBS hasn't cared about whether a profane word was used in the context of a positive song in the past.
countess_meow 28th-Jan-2014 12:13 am (UTC)
This. As for why it wasn't bleeped ... it is one of those words the FCC doesn't care about.

I don't even like this guy's music, but I've had to comment "context" on the most random things about him since last night.
robintheshrew 28th-Jan-2014 01:42 am (UTC)
...No, that doesn't matter, it should still be censored, at the very least because the black performers were censored for entire sentences. Trust me, ONTD can be irrational sometimes, but this time they're right.
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