Pop Culture

Group up in arms over 'X Factor' contestant stunt

Fox / Today

Dropping your pants may be a cheap and fast way to get yourself on TV -- but it's also a quick ticket to raising the hackles of the Parents Television Council. And according to TMZ, the PTC are up in arms about Geo Godley's pants-dropping stunt on the premiere of "X Factor" Wednesday night.

The PTC says it will file a formal indecency complaint with the FCC over the incident. Organization president Tim Winter noted, "If Godley performed his act in public, he would have been arrested. But if he performs it in front of a Fox camera, his act is beamed via the public airwaves into every home in the nation."

He added that the pre-taped nature of the show meant that producers couldn't claim to have been taken by surprise by the act (though judge Paula Abdul clearly was):"The prolonged, previously videotaped footage of a contestant dancing nude on the ‘X Factor’ stage represents a conscious decision by the producers -- with the approval of the network’s broadcast standards department -- to intentionally air this content in front of millions of families during hours when they knew full well that children would be watching."

He insisted that "X Factor" was touted as "family-friendly" programming and instead audiences got "graphic nudity."

Well, the audience in the theater certainly did, but Fox's choice to use the "X Factor" logo to block Godley's lower section meant audiences at home probably saw less skin than they would on the "Miss America Pageant."

And speaking of skimpy clothing, Godley has now told TMZ that there wasn't even anything to be upset about -- that he was wearing a G-string!

The outfit, said Godley, was inspired by his Greek roots: "We always dance in G-strings," he said. "G-strings are legal. The PTC have no complaint to make."

Nudity on prime-time broadcast television is virtually unheard of; shows like "NYPD Blue" have pushed the envelope with brief flashes of skin, and in 1997 the unedited version of "Schindler's List" was broadcast uncut, with full-frontal nudity -- though in non-sexual situations. But in 2004 sudden, unplanned nudity on live or reality shows came into the public discussion when Janet Jackson's breast was exposed during the halftime show of "Super Bowl XXXVIII." The FCC tightened up its indecency rules, and today any form of nudity (barring the occasional animated posterior on "The Simpsons") is all but gone from the broadcast airwaves. Still, the FCC rules are more vague about what's allowed to be suggested in terms of nudity on broadcast television.

Still, Godley admitted that maybe things got out of hand, and offered condolences to anyone who was offended: "I apologize to anyone that was exposed to my behind ... I had no intention of showing it and it was an accident when I fell. I was caught up in the moment."

At the moment, however, the PTC may still forge foward. Winter notes that television ratings themselves need to be more stringent.

"The fact that Fox assigned a content rating of TV-PG DL for a naked man frolicking around on a stage is not just inaccurate, it is fraudulent," he said. "We call on the amorphous Content Ratings Review Board to immediately investigate this incident and hold Fox accountable for violating the spirit and the letter of the content ratings system, which can only be described at this point as rigged and blatantly inaccurate." ("DL" means the show has suggestive dialogue and language.)

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