How Can FX Air The N-Word On 'American Crime Story'? The FCC's Rules Don't Apply

If you've been watching American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, then you likely have a lot of questions. Most of those questions are question that I can't answer for you, since I don't have a time machine or any truth serum to get to the bottom of what really went down back then. But one thing I can help you out with is one of my biggest questions about the series — how can FX air the n-word and other curses on American Crime Story ? I was just going about my business, watching Episode 5, when all of a sudden I was jolted out of my reverie by Johnnie Cochran's use of the slur, which, although used for a reason on the show, is always jarring in any context. I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't realize such a thing was even allowed.

It turns out that the rules for the n-word are much like any other swear word; the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, prohibits their use on network television, but has no say as to what airs on cable. That's why you can see full-frontal nudity on channels like HBO and Showtime, while The Bachelor on ABC still shies away from even acknowledging what goes down in the Fantasy Suites. So, since FX is a cable show — albeit basic cable — it falls outside the realm of the FCC's regulations, and can technically throw as much profanity at you as it wants.

It would be an easy system to abuse, but here's hoping that they limit the use of curse words to moments when they're truly necessary to get something specific across to the audience, as was the case in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. No pun intended.

Images: FX; Giphy