A 2018 “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” sketch mocking a test for Donald Trump’s presidential emergency text alerts just became significantly more expensive after the show was hit by a six-figure fine by the Federal Communications Commission.
As The Hollywood Reporter reports, the sketch — which aired in October 2018 — has resulted in $395,000 FCC fine for the ABC television network as the government agency cracks down on entertainment industry use of the tone.
According to the FCC filing, ABC says it was a “misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible” when it was used in the show’s faux movie trailer titled “The Textening”, mocking the shock Americans felt when the government sent a simultaneous text message to every American cellphone user in order to test the system.
A network spokesperson told THR that “ABC takes regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue.”
Kimmel’s show wasn’t the only one to be smacked down with a fine. AMC was likewise fined $104,000 due to a tone used in a February 2019 episode of “The Walking Dead”, while Discovery will pay $68,000 due to an episode of Animal Planet reality show “Lone Star Law” that happened to capture an actual emergency alert during filming.
In addition to paying the fines, each company has also agreed to implement a compliance plan in order to avoid misuse of the tone in the future.
According to FCC rules, EAS tones can only be used for actual emergencies and legitimate tests of the system, with a Thursday announcement by the agency declaring that “these rules aim to protect the integrity of the alert system by helping to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the EAS by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones.”