Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

Okay, who hasn’t heard of Bono? U2’s frontman, a world-class activist, and an all-around over-the-top Irishman. However, his vulgar language almost got him in trouble with the Federal Communications Commission at one point. Yes, you read that correctly. The year was 2003, the setting was the Golden Globe Awards, and the word was – well, you can imagine. On this particular occasion, Bono and his U2 bandmates were overjoyed. They had just won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for their song ‘The Hands That Built America,’ from the film ‘Gangs of New York.’ Naturally, Bono was overjoyed – so much so that he chose to pepper his acceptance speech with some words that drew the attention of the censors.

Bono, being the passionate individual that he is, isn’t afraid to use strong language to highlight his arguments. But doing so during prime time? Even he realized that was a bit of a stretch. But here’s the kicker: the FCC issued him a pass. On live television, Bono got away with using the f-bomb. Bono narrowly evaded the FCC for using the term ‘f*cking’ at the Golden Globes, as they denied that the singer’s use of the word was indecent and was only meant to underline his argument. However, the Parents Television Council filed several complaints, concluding that Bono’s use of the phrase, ‘This is really f*cking brilliant,’ violated the commission’s speech regulations. Fortunately, the bureau was on Bono’s side, stating that while the word ‘f*cking’ may be distasteful and offensive, it was not used in the context of sexual or excretory organs or any activities relating to them.

Surprisingly, this was not Bono’s first brush with controversy over his colorful language. A similar scenario played out in a BBC interview in 1999. During a phone interview with the British broadcaster, Bono used the same profanity, eliciting a response from a single audience member. Nonetheless, the Broadcasting Standards Commission dismissed the complaint. Finally, Bono got away with it! It appears that Bono’s linguistic liberation was more than just a rock star being a rock star; it was a man stating his truth, as raw and true as it gets. So, while some may see it as a scandal or a gaffe, others see it as a snapshot of authenticity. Bono’s choice of words may have enraged the censors, but it also reflected a guy thrilled with his band’s success.

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