The FCC says it’s received over 6,000 complaints about Stephen Colbert’s crude oral sex joke about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Colbert made the joke, in which he used the term “c*ck holster,” on the May 1 episode of The Late Show. Backlash was immediate, with social media users across the political spectrum calling the late night host indecent and homophobic for insinuating that there was something shameful about being in a same-sex relationship.
A small sample of the thousands of complaints received by the FCC in the weeks since the incident echoes the thoughts expressed on Twitter and Facebook, according to a Freedom of Information Act request made by Politico.
While some conservative viewers argued that Colbert would never had made a similar joke about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, most of the complaints focused on the remark’s perceived homophobic tone.
“By using accusations of being gay as an insult, it implied that there is something wrong with being gay,” a viewer from Urbana, Illinois wrote.
“I really thought we left this kind of bigotry in the waste bin of history,” a New York City viewer commented. “Instead I have to endure it during dinner with me and my husband’s son.”
“There is nothing wrong with two men who love each other,” read a complaint from a transgender man who identifies as homosexual. “I don’t like Trump but I also don’t like anti-homosexual comments being aired for millions of people to see. I have to say, shame on you for allowing this.”
Colbert eventually addressed the controversy, saying that while he would tell the joke again, he “would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”
“I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero,” he concluded. “I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”