The episode of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” that aired 4/5/09 has raised the ire of the Little People of America, who object both to the language used in the episode and the characterization of the people it represents, and their taking their ire straight to the FCC, asking that certain language offensive to its members be banned from both TV and radio.
The episode focused on promoting ALL detergent, which uses the slogan “small and mighty.” In an attempt to come up with a viral campaign for the product that played on the program, little people were made fun of, objectified and language considered extremely offensive to members of LPA was used, in particular repeated use of the word “midget.”
LPA claims that neither NBC, Mark Burnett Productions nor Donald Trump would issue a statement/apology, so it is asking its members to file a complaint with the FCC over NBC’s broadcast of offensive material.
In an email, LPA stated, “We decided to file a compliant against NBC with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC www.fcc.gov). The compliant along with supporting letters and material from others, will bring to the attention of the FCC that the word “midget” is considered offensive to the dwarfism community and should not be seen or heard on TV or radio. It will also bring to their attention that it is unacceptable to portray people of short stature as objects rather than people and in a degrading manner as seen on April 05, 2009. In order for this type of material to be considered obscene, indecent and or profane by the FCC, it needs to be seen as such by many people. We ask that you join in our efforts and file a compliant on behalf of every member of your family.”
LPA made the appropriate FCC form intended to report broadcasts that are profane, obscene or indecent available to its members.
RBR/TVBR observation: Steve Martin recently described his early stand-up comedy days, and said his goal was to be different than others in that crazed profession. The way he did it is not to make fun of others, as was and is common, but to make fun only of himself. If you think about it, self-deprecating humor is the safest for broadcasters who wish to avoid offending anybody. Still, we doubt LPA has much of a case.