NBC affiliate WRAL-TV, serving the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill market, bleeped Chappelle repeatedly in nine different parts of Saturday night’s post-election broadcast, citing language used by the comedian. The censorship raised concerns on social media over whether broadcasters could become skeptical about edgy content under an administration led by President-elect Donald Trump, Variety notes.
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“WRAL-TV has a station obscenity, decency and profanity policy that outlines 10 specific words that will not be broadcast on our air. This policy is based on our own standards in combination with FCC guidelines. Our broadcast operators have a 10-second delay button they can choose to use. During Saturday Night Live on NBC, guest host Dave Chappelle used 2 of those words on 9 different occasions and they were silenced,” Steven D. Hammel, vice president & general manager at WRAL, said in a statement. “Obviously, SNL is a live show so we had no prior indication about what would be said during the broadcast. We understand this caused disruption during the program. We wanted our audience to know this was a station decision, not the network’s, and why we made that choice.”
Viewers in other markets – from Philadelphia, Dallas, New York and Greenville, N.C. – reported on Twitter that their broadcasts were not interrupted.
The station tried to cut the audio for part of Chappelle’s monologue, during which he explained how Trump has now made it okay for him to grab women by the pu—y.
SNL opened with cast member Kate McKinnon playing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, singing musician Leonard Cohen’s elegiac “Hallelujah.” “I’m not giving up, and neither should you,” the character told viewers.
Later Sunday, Hammel elaborated on the station’s decision to censor portions of the show and promised to review the policy:
“We apologize for impeding the full flow and message of Dave Chappelle’s monologue. It was not our intention to censor his message. We followed policies and procedures that have been in place for many years for programming of any kind.This is an opportunity for us to review those policies and procedures. We will, and will consider viewer input as we do that.”
In case you missed it, check out the uncensored SNL clips below.