Alabama’s top TV complaints of 2020 include presidential election, Super Bowl halftime show

Alabama News

A group of young British children watching television in October 1988. (Photo by Express/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It wasn’t the blood or guns on one particular episode of NBC’s “Chicago Med” that got a Demopolis viewer worked up enough to write to the Federal Communications Commission.

Instead, it was one phrase—”God damn it”—quickly uttered by one character.

“Character playing escaped inmate on Chicago Med used the Lords name in vain,” the unnamed viewer wrote on March 4, 2020. “Haven’t ever noticed this on Primetime network television before. Program would have been just as good without the language. Please find something less offensive. Thanks!”

The complaint was one of hundreds the FCC received from across Alabama throughout 2020, according to 355 pages of records provided to CBS 42 through a public information request. While some complaints dealt with cable provider issues, such as billing or service issues, many covered what viewers had seen on TV.

Television complaints filed with the agency ranged from news coverage of the 2020 presidential election, the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, the Netflix movie “Cuties,” profanity, gay culture, the Black Lives Matter movement, loud commercials and more.

Here are a few unedited complaints Alabamians had about what they watched on TV in 2020:


President Donald Trump (left) and President-elect Joe Biden (right). (Photos courtesy of Getty Image)
  • “It is against the law for tv networks to knowingly report false news. CNN, Fox, & others are reporting that Joe Biden is the, quote, “President Elect.” This is not true because a legal election winner has not been declared by official election authorities. Authorities have not made this announcement and states have not certified their votes. Please take action to prevent networks from spreading this dangerous false information, which does material harm and damage to the country. Thank you.” (Dec. 29, Scottsboro)
  • “America’s media continues to report false stories. And continues to not report news-worthy stories.   Former VP Joe Biden is just that. Former VP. He is not president elect. Reporting such gives a wrong narrative.  Also, there are election fraud cases going on throughout America that are not being covered.  Other stories not being covered in the Hunter’s laptop story. Joe biden trouble in Ukraine.   Stop being liberal and report all news. The vast majority of Americans are conservative.” (Dec. 1, Prattville)
  • “CNN, FOX News, and others are illegally calling Joe Biden the “President-Elect”, when, in fact, the electoral college has not yet met to determine the next President. Please take action to stop the spreading of this dangerously false reporting by networks that is causing material  harm and damage to the country.” (Nov. 23, Huntsville)
  • “Why are all of the news media allowed to continue to spout propaganda and bullshit to fit their narrative against President Trump. These goons don’t call the election. This has gone on since he was elected president. And this isn’t just fox news. That’s who I just happened to be watching. It’s ALL news stations except OAN and Newsmax.” (Nov. 17, Elberta)
  • “We have a right to know what is happening with the election fraud. Fox cnn npr and others are falsely reporting the outcome of the election.” (Nov. 10, Jasper)
  • “It is not the duty of the media to determine who the president elect is. Especially in an election that is so close in the results and we are seeing more reports of system “glitches”. Any news media declaring a victor in this election has committed egregious fraud against the American people.” (Nov. 10, Fairhope)
  • “I’m appalled that so many networks have been calling Biden present elect when so many states haven’t certified and when so many legal battles are pending. With already so much censorship from the news and social media…it seems obvious to there is a big agenda. I’d like to formally complain against the major news networks like Foxnews, CNN etc” (Nov. 10, Madison)
  • “I want to file a claim against every news outlet that falsely claimed Joe Biden is the President Elect. News outlets can’t make that call! They do not hold the legal authority.  –Label advocacy and commentary.  –Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments. They commit these atrocities and so much more!” (Nov. 9, Birmingham)
  • “By making very early calls on the election the media, Fox news, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, et. al. have caused incredible harm to the confidence of our electoral process.  Claims that a candidate won a state on the east coast, while people were still in line in other time zones may have caused people to give up on their vote. Worse yet, these media networks made declarations that Joe Biden had won before votes had even been counted. Even going so far as to express frustration that the people didn’t simply accept their declaration that they had overthrown the legal process. This has caused great harm to those of us who faced ridicule for waiting to hear the official results from the electors. Please investigate these networks and ensure that the people never have to face this kind of electoral interference again. Thank you.” (Nov. 9, Birmingham)


Jennifer Lopez and Shakira perform during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs’, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • “The 2020 halftime show was despicable and disgusting. In an era of women claiming they shouldn’t be sexualized, they put on a halftime show that was more suitable to a strip club performance and in no way was appropriate for kids who just wanted to watch their favorite football player.” (Feb. 3, Trinity)
  • “I was disturbed by the strip tease during the 2020 Super Bowl halftime performance. Our family had gathered to watch the game together when my daughters in law had to rush the children out of the room after one of the children asked why the performers were dancing in a suggestive manner. Then, the adults were scandalized when Ms. Lawrence costume made her appear to be naked. The final straw was the striptease.  Please fine the NFL and the television stations the maximum allowed amount so that they decide to adhere to rules of decency.” (Feb. 3, Centreville)
  • “It is sad that this is where we are in entertainment.  The entire group I was with was floored by the Satan Worship performance.  May God Bless our lands and may the people in control of the content our family watched programming use more sense.  People can go to strip clubs all over the world, where children are not allowed in.  So why where children allowed to go to the superbowl, and the tv should have warned parents of the X rated half time show.  I no longer respect J.Lo.” (Feb. 3, Madison)
  • “Straight up pornographic. Not acceptable viewing for young children.  Will not be watching again.” (Feb. 3, Montevallo)
  • “The halftime show was incredibly distasteful!! In a #metoo culture why would you allow women to be objectified?? Clothing and vulgar dancing at the Super Bowl was disgusting!!” (Feb. 4, Decatur)
  • “I was outraged at the blatant sale of sex during the Super Bowl halftime show.  It was indecent and shameful.  Do your job and get this pornography off of television.” (Feb. 4, Spanish Fort)
  • “The halftime show during Super Bowl should have come with parental discretion. This was not appropriate for all viewers.  Obviously the FCC is believes that it is appropriate.  Please explain to me how .. so I can understand.  Disgusting. Filthy.  Poor taste. And as a mother of a 19 year old young woman .. this is not female empowerment. Stripper pole and  orgy type dancing.  Shameful.” (Feb. 7, “Castleberry”)
  • “They showed Pornography. This needs to be stopped.  Sick sick people.” (Feb. 8, Enterprise)
  • “J-lo and Shakira so trashy. The focus on x rated with 100 back up dancers. They should only behave this way on their own shows. Choose those that show true talent.” (Feb. 26, Pelham)
  • “The show was extremely disturbing and totally inappropriate for all viewers especially my children! I am outraged and will not support this in any way as a woman I am offended! I have pulled the plug on tv direct tv and will never buy a Pepsi product EVER again!” (Feb. 27, Mobile)


This image released by Netflix shows the cast of the coming-of-age film “Cuties,” streaming Wednesday, Sept. 9. (Netflix via AP)
  • “There’s a new show coming in Netflix about 11years old girls dancing and twerking half dressed. They are really sexualized and it is so wrong for child to be watching this and think it is ok to do so. When reaching Netflix’s customer service they say they can’t do anything about it. I canceled my account but shows like that needs to be taking down, there’s probably other we don’t know about.” (Aug. 20, “Calgary”)
  • “The Netflix show Cuties is child pornography. It should be removed immediately from their site. I have contacted them to request it be removed. They deny it’s indecency.” (Sept. 10, Madison)
  • “NETFlick has a disgusting show that needs to be BANNED……CUTIES… a disgusting child pornography based program…..these SICK people need to be ARRESTED for Child ABUSE, Child Pornography……This show must NOT be ALLOWEDV to Air.” (Sept. 12, Daphne)
  • “How can Netflix get away with exploiting underage girls. Is this the correct place to lodge a complaint against Netflix?” (Sept. 12, Hayden)


  • “I find ads depicting gay couples in romantic situations offensive to the American family. It is unnatural and should not be shown as if it isn’t.” (Feb. 13, Columbiana)
  • “Every day I see more and more sick, evil tv commercials promoting homosexuality.  Our innocent children and grandchildren are seeing these evil commercials and are being made to think homosexuality is ok and it is NOT NOR EVER WILL BE OK.  This is an a abomination before God and whoever is allowing these commercials to be aired will one day be held accountable in the sight of God.  These commercials need to STOP NOW!!” (Feb. 13, Columbiana)
  • “Is there anything FCC can legally do to end the homosexual, drag queen, filth shows?” (April 27, Madison)
  • “Nickelodeon is airing Pride Month commercials. Although I have no problem with this, my children shouldn’t be asking me what pride month is about because of irresponsible judgement from Nickelodeon programming.” (June 15, Hueytown)
  • “On wheel of fortune, episode airing on 9/9/2020, two men kissed on tv during prime time. This is unacceptable as it is too hard to explain to small Children and against the prime time regulations. Please ensure this does not happen again. I would request a follow up to ensure this does not happen again.” (Sept. 10, Bay Minette)


FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2014 file photo, security guards walk past the entrance to CNN headquarters in Atlanta. The international news channel on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 announced it will halt broadcasting in Russia due to recent changes in media legislation. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
  • “I am tired of watching people LIKE CNBC acting as CHINESE PROPAGANDISTS reporting the “news” to Americans. It’s treasonous to program our nation with lies! How can they be licensed by our government?” (May 7, “1”)
  • “Dear FCC, I do understand our amendments and the right to “Free Speech”. However, especially during these most turbulent times in our country, I do not understand how Networks such as CNN and/or MSNBC can repeatedly tell lies with no consequences. When I say “Lie” I mean things that can’t be attributed to difference of opinion, which I understand is free speech. Today I heard CNN repeatedly broadcast that a man was murdered because he was sleepy, when in fact, he was shot as he attacked police and fired a taser towards them, which has nothing to do with being sleepy. I then witness people exclaiming CNN said, he was shot because he was sleepy. This is just one example that I believe is responsible for the direct harm to U.S. citizens. Why is this dishonest harmful behavior never corrected ? I am keeping an open mind, because I understand there are things perhaps I don’t understand. Kindest Regards.” (June 15, Birmingham)
  • “CNN and now MSNBC are reporting inaccurate and blatantly false stories to the American people while operating under an FCC license to that certainly should require that responsibility to be met.  This is absolutely a very dangerous and almost criminal action that will result in further harm to America.  These media outlets are not operated by individuals with integrity but a more sinister faction that wishes to destroy and change and free society.  The FCC is responsible for  this and if you are not taking action to remove those licenses then you are not solving a serious and credible threat to this country.  Do your job job please.” (Aug. 19, Andalusia)
  • “News stations should be held more accountable for knowingly misleading viewers and reporting false information. Pretty much every news station does this now and it’s becoming more obvious as fact checkers are proving them wrong. All “news” stations are doing this now. CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, etc.” (Oct. 7, Cullman)
  • “The news media is willfully telling untruths about the President. They also tell only one side of a story!” (Nov. 10, Decatur)
  • “I am trying to find out why the news outlets are not required to provide the actual news. When the President of the United States speaks to our nation (not  rally’s) it is NEWS. Yet cnn,msnbc, cbs,nbc, abc, and fix fail to report it in full. They need to be required to report the news rather then their opinion. Specifically the networks which use the airwaves owned by We The People need to be required to report the news. Why are they not required to do this? When will you force them to do so or pull their license and use if our airwaves?” (Dec. 2, “Refused”)
  • “The mainstream media is no longer unbiased or reliable. They have blatantly attacked, misrepresented and maligned the US President and those who support him. Important stories that clash with the radical left wing agenda of the filthy rich media moguls in control are not being investigated, and if reported at all, underreported.  I’m furious that “our” public airways are being used to manipulate trusting Americans.  Is there no accountability?” (Dec. 3, Dadeville)


FILE – This combination of photo shows, from left, Tucker Carlson, host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Laura Ingraham, host of “The Ingraham Angle,” and Sean Hannity, host of “Hannity” on Fox News. Brian Stelter, who wrote “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” says several people at Fox privately expressed worry to him about the growing power of prime-time opinion hosts Carlson, Hannity and Ingraham at the expense of Fox’s news operation. (AP Photo)
  • “About 50% of what they report are lies.” (Jan. 17, Leighton)
  • “I believe Fox News has done irrevocable harm to the American people by disguising their Republican propaganda platform as a fair and impartial news network.   Their “reporting” of the current health crisis will kill many citizens needlessly.  They need to either be pulled from the airwaves, or not allowed to use the term “news network” because it is misleading to the people.” (March 31, Helena)
  • “Fox News ran a segment with an inforgraphic showing how the stock market rises with every unjust death of a black person. This is racist and dehumanizing.” (June 8, “MobiKe”)
  • “I am writing to complain about the broadcast by Tucker Carlson on 6/8/2020 at 7:45pm. This broadcast comment incites violence and is not accurate news. I am also asking why Fox News is allowed to be labeled a news entity in the US, when it is labeled as entertainment in all other broadcast spheres. I receive Fox news on channel 39 on Spectrum. Carlson said ” this may be a lot of things, this moment we are living through, but it is definitely not about black lives and remember THAT WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU, AND AT THIS RATE, THEY WILL” This was obviously to incite violence against US citizens.” (June 9, Pelham)
  • “Lou Dobbs is broadcasting suggestions to President Trumps supporters, asking them to ” surround Philadelphia and make their presence known”. This is NOT journalism, its election interference.  Lou is entitled to his opinions but inciting people to commit criminal activities is too much.  He is not entitled to incite anyone to do anything, he has all the power of Fox News, which legitimizes his words to less informed viewers.  Fine him or tank him off the air, its a shameful behavior that is not helping a supposed peaceful process.” (Nov. 6, Fayette)
  • “Neil Cavuto CUT AWAY from the Trump campaign press conference claiming that the network cannot continue to air her “false claims” in “good conscience.” HE is the moral authority! We need the information!” (Nov. 9, Birmingham)
  • “Fox news is willingly disseminating false news that Joe Biden is president-elect.  The media has no authority to make such a claim.  This determination is made by the states.  This is leading to panic and is meant to silence free speech and influence political officials and voters.” (Nov. 10, Headland)


  • “The news media has and is causing major panic over the corona virus. They have blown it all out of proportion and causing major panic. People are going crazy and buying out all the toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies. This is ridiculous. They need to stop.” (March 13, Mobile)
  • “FOX News has deliberately lied to the public over the airwaves to mislead the public during a most serious pandemic.  Their license should be canceled.  If you don’t cancel their license we the public will have no option but to believe that you are in Cahoots with FOX and are traitors to America and its constitution.” (March 22, Demopolis)
  • “Fox News is now costing the lives of Americans with misinformation regarding the global outbreak of Covid-19. This is NOT freedom of speech. This is dangerous to American’s lives.” (March 29, Russellville)
  • “Fox News willfully misled me into believing that COVID-19 was not a threat. Almost an endless stream of downplaying, minimizing, even denying COVID-19.” (April 13, Hoover)
  • “A piece aired on Fox News  by Dan Fitzpatrick- Report attached. This report was a smear and lies to the public about dr. Fauci and the COVID-19.” (July 1, “Charlotte”)
  • “Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned local television stations across the country are set to run a discredited conspiracy theory over the weekend that Dr. Anthony Fauci was responsible for creating the coronavirus, according to a Media Matters report. This must be stopped!” (July 25, Birmingham)
  • “Sinclair Broadcast Group is scheduled to air the discredited and extremely dangerous Plandemic “documentary” to a multitude of local broadcast stations. I am an ICU RN, this kind of disinformation is extremely dangerous and I am appalled that a broadcast group would air this to the public during a pandemic.” (July 25, Daphne)


  • “Applebee’s has an excessively loud commercial on tv. They should be made to lower the volume as compared to the show. The particular example is Friday Feb.7, 2020 on Live PD, on A & E channel at approximately 11:00 p.m.” (Feb. 8, Dothan)
  • “I am watching Jack Reacher on TNT on 3/31/2020 at 3:34 PM CST and all the commercials are loud.  I just watched a loud Dove commerical,  Tractor Supply, Crunch bar, Capri Sun, Mt. DEW, University of Phoenix,  Petsmart, etc.” (March 31, Wilsonville)
  • “HULU commercials are substantially louder than the programming. I jump out of my skin every time a commercial comes on and have to quickly search for the remote before my eardrums burst. Even my dogs are surprised by the loud noise and stop to see what is happening.” (June 15, Auburn)
  • “As of the last couple weeks, the commercial Volume on Hulu for all commercials is significantly louder than the shows.  The show we have been watching recently is How I Met Your Mother.  We have to scramble for the remote to prevent waking our children and hurting our ears every time an ad comes on only to have to turn it way up to hear the show again.” (Aug. 7, Wetumpka)
  • “We are having trouble with a commercial’s volume in the Huntsville, Al area broadcast by MeTV. All that we would like is the volume be reduced. While watching shows at a normal volume this commercial comes on and instantly has everyone scrambling for the remote.” (Nov. 12, Brownsboro)
  • “The Volume changes significantly on IFC during commercials.  It always happens.  I normally wouldn’t care but at night when a commercial comes on it nearly wakes the neighbors it’s so high.  Please Help!” (Dec. 6, Northridge)


  • “I get sick to my stomach every time I see their (Folger’s) sick commercial about thinking your going to surprise you boyfriend and your looking like your going to disrobe to find your father in law starting at her body with him standing in the shower naked.  Children shouldn’t be seeing commercials or adults either for that matter.  It’s just plain sick. Please remove it for go.” (March 26, “Delta”)
  • “I had better not receive any further TV ads for your “” site. I expect — and trust — you to get that part.  Don’t bother responding; just give these folks their free speech rights elsewhere.  Didja get THAT part?!” (June 29, “Trumpetsville”)
  • “I have contacted both the business owner and the local TV station. There are now at least two now different commercials for Total Comfort airing with a man answering the door in his underwear. Instead of showing the service that Total Comfort can provide, the owner  has chosen to show a lack of decorum with a man in his underwear supposedly because his house is too hot. If the owner believes that the Total Comfort commercials are appropriate, I can only imagine the type employees he hires that would have to go inside customers’ homes.” (Sept. 9, Birmingham)
  • “Watching “What On Earth” S1E1 with our grandson when two phone sex commercials came on.” (Oct. 24, Huntsville)


  • “There was a commercial advertising a show on another channel in which a black women used the f word at least twice.It was most repulsive to me and I surely would not want a child or any one in my home to hear it.” (Jan. 21, Muscle Shoals)
  • “The commercial for the SEC tournament that aired today (Sat Mar 7) during the Auburn Tennessee game, contained the word d*mn twice. It was unnecessary and not fitting for the game watched by my entire family.” (March 7, Springville)
  • “My family was watching Law & Order: SUV on NBC last night when God’s name was used with a curse word.  I’m highly offended since it’s Prime Time, network & family TV.  Also, it’s an FCC violation.  Please address with them.  Thanks.” (April 10, Holly Pond)
  • “At 8:20 a.m., Sunday morning, 7 June 2020, I was watching the interview with Ted Koppel with foreign commentators on their view of the United States.  The Russian commentator used on this Sunday morning, the Lord’s Day, the words “God Damn”.  This is inappropriate.  The interview was pre-recorded and there was plenty of time to ‘beep’ out this offensive taking God’s name in vain.  This is in violation of FCC rules, as I understand it.  This is the second time I have sent a very similar message to CBS Sunday Morning for their offensive blasphemous speech, where the exact same language was used.  Please remember that this is Sunday Morning!  Not some pay to hear pod-cast by low brow philistines.  Show respect on, of all days, Sunday, to your audience.” (June 7, Elmore)
  • “Why aren’t there something to be done about Steve Harvey on FAMILY FEUD speaking so many slang words like, HELL, DAMM etc. These are not good for children to have to hear, this is programed on THE GAME CHANNEL, ABC,& NBC, on most stations, please have the Networks to remove this kind of remarks on this game show…” (July 6, Enterprise)
  • “US Senate candidate Doug Jones has two campaign ads which contain foul language that air more than 20 times every day on local, Alabama TV stations. I was informed by one of my local NBC station managers (Jama Killingsworth, WAFF) that nothing could be done to censor political ads. It seems to me that the offensive language could, at a minimum, be “bleeped” out. I have attached my correspondence with Ms. Killingsworth.” (Oct. 2, Somerville)
  • “Host Cedric the entertainer video show on CBS uses too many curse words.” (Oct. 12, Kimberly)
  • “NBC needs to be fined for being irresponsible. I urge the FCC to hold NBC network accountable. An FCC indecency fine is in order for NBC not safe-guarding viewers. On Sunday, November 1, 2020, NASCAR driver Chase Elliott won the Xfinity 500 Martinsville 2020 Playoff Cut Race and afterwards celebrated with his race team. At approximately 4:58 p.m. CT, one team member yelled “H-ll Yeah!” and shortly thereafter, another team member clearly yelled “F – k Yeah!” NBC purposely allowed the broadcast of indecent language on network television. NBC needs to be more responsible and should always have a five-second delay on all live coverage to protect families. Since NBC was careless and irresponsible by airing the f-word, the FCC should issue the network an indecency fine immediately. A video copy of this broadcast can be provided to you by” (Dec. 1, Albertville)


Back the Blue police supporters, left, stand next to Black Lives Matter protesters calling for defunding the police, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
  • “Consumer is concerned about an add on ABC and it was inappropriate or illegal Consumer said it was about them standing behind the black people  Consumer said she is not racist  Consumer said they need to worry about just blacks, but everyone  Consumer wants this investigated.” (June 3, Cullman)
  • “Yesterday cable company WoW of Huntsville Alabama transmitted an advertisement via cable TV at approximately 8PM CT on channel IFC,  from terrorist organization Black Lives Matter with message “No lives matter until black lives matter” I consider it inappropriate for cable television, and FCC violation for any terrorist organization to advertise via cable and transmit threatening, racist messages being paid with my cable payment. Also, aware the WoW has also transmitted similar ads on ESPN network channels.” (Aug. 6, Madison)
  • “I am offened by this commercial that is played because all lives matter. It isn’t just black lives matter it’s all lives matter!” (Aug. 8, “West Memphis”)


Jimmy Kimmel
FILE – This May 14, 2019 file photo shows Jimmy Kimmel at the Walt Disney Television 2019 upfront in New York. Kimmel will host a prime-time edition of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with stars as the contestants and winnings earmarked for their causes of choice. It will debut this spring on ABC. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
  • “Socialist George Soros has turned the Jimmy Kimmel show into a President Trump bash fest. Every day 99% of his entire monologue is nothing but how bad President Trump. It’s a political propaganda show instead of a comedy show. I request that the show be identified a political propaganda or removed.” (June 2, Hanceville)
  • “Vulgar language on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel shown is rude, offensive, and totally needless.  He should be fined and be required to publicly apologize.” (Dec. 1, Brierfield)


  • “I am writing to complain about the premise of the show Chrissy’s Court on Quibi. Although the star is clearly not a legal professional, she is using the robe, gavel and other aspects of a courtroom. This is obviously a perversion that only serves to ridicule the legal institution. This show is a contemptuous attack on the judiciary at a time when America is managing a deadly contagious virus.” (March 26, Mobile)


  • “Consumer  saw  a  All State  Commercial on TV last night and a few days last week. A man in the passenger seat in the front  of the car is licking a woman’s face while she is driving. The man pretending to be a dog, trying to cause the woman to have a car accident while she drive. The woman told the  man he ate dog pooh of her face. Consumer state this commercial  need to be  remove  from TV, because young kids can see it and try to act the parts they see on TV.” (Feb. 24, Scottsboro)


  • “Watching South Park cartoon an episode with Brittany Spears urinating on a lady big and a reporter got a picture of it and got paid $100,000.00. Then one of the cartoons said 100,000.00 that’s enough to buy slaves!!! This needs to be canceled!!!!” (July 13, Demopolis)



Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories