During the 2018 VMAs, several artists were allowed to use curse words like “sh*t” during their acceptance speech. This may have confused some viewers, especially when Madonna was bleeped out for saying the word “motherf**ker” during her presentation.
So are people allowed to curse on MTV?
When it comes to words like “sh*t,” the answer is yes. According to Venture Beat, a Supreme Court decision involving the Federal Communications Commission was altered in 2012 to allow for more freedom on network television. The high court ruled that the FCC is prohibited from imposing fines of any sort for verbal obscenities and indecency on television. This means that stations were allowed to engage in more lewd conduct, both in terms of content and in terms of language.
Then there is the matter of television ratings, which allow for more freedom in these particular areas as well. MTV is notable for allowing, which was most evident during the 25th Annual MTV Movie Awards in 2016. The event, hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart, dropped no less than 18 curse words in the opening ten minutes of the show. In total, the show went on to amass 84 inappropriate words including 32 F-bombs. All but one of these curse words were caught by the censors.
MTV representatives told News Busters that the only words they felt were in need of bleeping, however, were A*s (17), B*tch (12), D*ck (6).
The word “Sh*t” in particular has become a common one on network television. Popular networks like FX, AMC, and Comedy Central have allowed the use of the word to become commonplace over the last few years, and latter was even the first to bring uncensored usage of “f*ck” to basic cable. Comedy Central also airs uncensored versions of movies and stand-up specials past a certain time.
According to Slash Film, SyFy and USA, which are both networks owned by NBCUniversal, are allowing f-bombs to be dropped on the air without censoring. Buzzfeed adds that SyFy and USA have worked out deals to allow swearing “when language — ‘f*ck’ specifically — is deemed important to the style or plot of a show, Syfy and USA now allow it.” That means the episode will get slapped with a TV-MA rating so audiences know that its intended for mature audiences only.