They Hated Her…They Really Hated Her! Sally Field Censored On Emmys

flyingnun.jpg

In 1985 actress Sally Field won an Oscar and bubbled to millions of TV viewers and the Academy: “You like me, you really like me!”

She wasn’t as well liked last night — when she was censored at the Emmys which cut off part of her anti-war comments.

Who’s to blame?

Some news reports specify it is Fox, Rupert Murdoch’s company which includes Fox News, the administration and General David Petraeus’ favorite news network for exclusive interviews conducted by noddingly sympathetic journalists and personalities such as Sean Hannity who ask all the “right” questions and leave out many of the “wrong” ones. But other reports indicate it was “the producers” of the program, which would not necessarily be the network. OR it could in reality have been a combination of both…

No matter. The bottom line is that someone with an itchy finger decided Fields words apparently would be dangerous to the ears of viewers so they censored her.

Think Progress:

At tonight’s Emmy Awards show, the audience cheered Sally Field’s acceptance speech, which recognized the mothers of U.S. troops. “Surely this [award] belongs to all the mothers of the world,” she stated. “May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised. Especially to the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait. Wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm’s way, and from war. I am proud to be one of those women.”

Field then continued, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no –” But the Fox Emmycast cut off her sound and pointed the camera away from the stage, silencing the rest of her sentence: “god-damned wars in the first place.”

Click HERE and see the video.

The L.A. Times:

Producers of Sunday’s Emmy telecast bleeped best drama actress winner Sally Field in the midst of a controversial acceptance speech attacking U.S. involvement in Iraq.

“If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn’t be any god -” she said when the sound went dead and the camera suddenly turned away from the stage so viewers would be distracted. Chopped off were the words “god-damned wars in the first place.” (The phrase was not censored in the Canadian telecast.)

…Backstage, in the press room later, Field told reporters, “I would have liked to have said more four-letter words up there!

“Oh, well. I’ve been there before!” Field added when asked what she thought of the gagging. “Good. I don’t care. I have no comment other than, ‘Oh, well.’ I said what I wanted to say. I wanted to pay homage to the mothers of the world. And I very, very seriously think that if mothers ruled the world we wouldn’t be sending our children off to be slaughtered.”

When she was pressed for further comment, she added, “Too bad. That’s a shame. And I think I probably shouldn’t have said the ‘god’ in front of the ‘damn.’…If they bleep it, oh, well. I’ll just say it somewhere else.”

Were the words profane? No, the Times says:

Technically, Field’s censored words are not profane. A 2004 FCC ruling specifically stated no objection to the use of “god damn” on TV when making a judgment on the uproar over Bono swearing at the Golden Globes in 2003 where he used more colorful language.

Popular Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales points out that last night’s telecaste featured several censorship moments — but the others were for language and Sheild’s appeared to be political.

Which would be a milestone:

The third instance of censorship may have been political. Sally Field, making one of her long and rambling acceptance speeches (winning for best actress in a drama on “Brothers & Sisters”), was interrupted by silence when she used a God-related swear word in voicing antiwar sentiments. According to the Associated Press, she said, “If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no [expletive] wars in the first place.”

If Fox censored Field for political reason, it would be an ugly first in the history of the Emmys.

What remains puzzling is why a political statement so mild in this era of screehing talk radio and equally screeching weblogs is censored at all.

If the idea is to prevent it from going out on the airwaves, the next day the incident will be all over the news, in newspapers and flash across the increasingly influential and demographically youthful Internet like a lightning bolt.

If she had been allowed to finish her comment, it would have merely been quoted and perhaps inspired some blog posts from conservative bloggers who had some extra time on their hands and had already done their other more important posts.

But by censoring her, her full statement will now get a LOT more publicity, the clip will be played and whoever censored her (Fox or some producer who apparently feared The Weekly Standard would not watch futurre telecasts) will come out of it looking silly, politically dumb and in the end ineffectual.

And Field? She’ll get to do some talk shows.

But, Sally, beware of that invitation from Bill O’Reilly…

14 Comments

  1. The censorship is strange.
    I remember Marlon Brando making a controversial awards speech on behalf of protesting Native Americans,which drew a lot fire, but there was no cenesorship.

    I’m not sure that an awards ceremony for an entertainment indurstry is an appropriate venue for political statements, but people like Sally Field take the responsibility for the reaction.
    If politics is forbidden, then that should be make clear in a policy statement before the ceremony. Censoring after the fact just draws attention of the problems with censorhsip per se. That’s something that should be discussed in its own right.

    If she had said ‘No surrender”, would that have been okay?

  2. If she had said ‘No surrender”, would that have been okay?

    A more apropos question might be “If she had said ‘No surrender’, and that was censored, would it be OK?

    Personally, if any movie or TV star gets up at an awards show and wants to toss in an anti- or pro-war statement, that’s fine by me. I may not agree with the celebrity, but I’ll never support the idea that they should be censored for a political statement. Political censorship scares me more than the opinion of a celebrity.

  3. Come on Joe.

    You don’t think Bill O’ would be mean to the flying nun do you!

    How would William Donohue deal with the cognitive dissonence?

  4. I’m waiting for the sequel to “The Flying Nun”: The Swimming Rabbi.

  5. If the idea is to prevent it from going out on the airwaves, the next day the incident will be all over the news, in newspapers and flash across the increasingly influential and demographically youthful Internet like a lightning bolt.

    Well, what would be a fair test of this assertion?

    Should we consider appearances in ThinkProgress, HuffPo, Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars (in additon to those above) as validating?

    How about we look at the home page of CNN? Actually, how about we look at the “entertainment” page of CNN? ……..what??? not there????? How can this be?????????

  6. I’ve heard my mom and other moms say countless times:

    You boys just have to fight about everything!

    Of course a mother wouldn’t want their child to be killed in a war nor killed at all. Sally Field was speaking to the mother “choir”. This censorship is just plain silly stupid.

  7. It’s strange to think of the words god-damn, or a
    mother’s plaint being thought ‘censorable,’ or obscene.
    and not also include that old cartoon of the General
    surveying all the rows of basinettes of newborn
    infants, saying “Ah, our future soldiers.”

    I think most know what Miss Fields meant. We dont carry and bring
    children into this world and dedicate all the years of raising them, protecting, educating, teaching, loving them into fullest being,including getting sideways with them once in a
    while, in order to give our young to deadend wars run by old
    men….

    And, just some levity; If mother’s ruled the world,
    some of our mothers would have to be taken out of
    the equation because they were, are and would be on the
    rampage alllllll the time.
    dr.e

  8. Wow, so many assumptions here. Let’s go through them, shall we:

    For the accusation of Fox political censorship to stand the following assumptions must be true.

    1. Fox would have cut her off even if she has said this (1 word removed): ” If mothers ruled the world, there would be no wars in the first place.”

    2. That goddamned couldn’t have been the reason because the FCC hasn’t specifically banned it. I might remind people that networks, particularly the big three, are a bit sensitive since ever since a booby popped out in another live show.

    Sally did not say anything about the Iraq war. She was talking about wars in general. Such comments are fairly common in these kinds of shows. The broadcast was time-lagged and was cut of right at god-damned – that should tell you something.

    Now, let’s look at it from the network’s perspective, where the director only has about 5 seconds to make a decision to cut it off or not. Now, one might reasonably assume that in the current environment, and given recent history of live broadcasts, that god-damned might only be the beginning of more and so rather than risk it, they cut it off. One might reasonably argue that if Fox intended to censor political speach that they’d hit the cut button at “wars” instead. But such reasonable assumptions are dismissed along with people’s critical thinking skills in a mad dash to make this a political “issue.”

  9. If mothers ruled the world, wars would last just 3-4 days every month.

  10. Or if the UN forgets to call on Independence Day. Because all we did was fund it and take care of it and make sure it got everything it needed to grow up and be a successful international body where the world could talk out its differences and work together maybe. A few calls the rest of the year wouldn’t hurt either.

  11. Entropy provides a down-to-earth background to this incident.
    However, that just brings us back to the whole question of censorship and how impossible it seems to be to make rules that make sense.

    My first reaction was to say that if cersorship was abolished altogether, no director would need to make split second decisions about when to cut someone off.

    At the same time, I admit that I wouldn’t be comfortable with a speech that was just a string of obsenities Nor would I like to hear a campaign speech at an entertainment awards cerremony. So, I’m kind of torn between a deep dislike for censorship and an appreciation for what is proper.
    The trouble is, of course, that what is proper means something different to different people

    I’m not offended by the occasional curse, or the sight of a woman’s breast. Even a reasonably brief political statement is okay by me. But- and there’s the ‘but’- there are limits.
    There are limits even at TMV, as we see by the very sensible comment code, which has proved to be necessary in order to prevent an exchange of insults replacing discussions.

    I guess we’ll just keep on arguing about censorship and speech codes, because no rules can be found that suit everyone.

  12. I am not running for office, but I approve of Domajot’s message.

  13. Here’s the bottom line. Any privately owned magazine, newspaper, newsprogram, etc, has the right to censor anyone, anytime they please. Fox has the right to edit/censor the Emmys at their pleasure. After watching the video and reading the transcript and considering the target audience, the “bleeping” made perfect sense. IMO, Ms. Field was very disrespectful of the network and the audience by saying what she said and how she said it.

Submit a Comment