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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 08:37 GMT
Oscar head angry at TV show delay
Frank Pierson
Frank Pierson is president of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences
Oscar president Frank Pierson has attacked a planned five-second delay on the TV broadcast of the awards ceremony as "a form of censorship".

US television network ABC will impose the delay following criticism of Janet Jackson's live Super Bowl appearance.

Oscar TV show producer Joe Roth said the delay would omit "profanity" but not political statements at the event.

But Mr Pierson told the Hollywood Reporter if the show "comes with a bleep, we are all losers".

Mr Roth said he had spoken to many of the Oscar nominees at a luncheon on Monday, warning them their actions would be under scrutiny following Jackson's recent performance, which saw her breast exposed in front of millions of viewers.

The furore over the Super Bowl show, which sparked a record 200,000 viewer complaints, has left many broadcasters nervous about live events.

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Janet Jackson's performance continues to resonate through the US
The Grammys on Sunday were subject to a five-minute time delay to ensure there were no gratuitous stunts.

"At the nominees luncheon yesterday, I spoke with the nominees and just said that, when they come up, they're all under this microscope, unfortunately, because of these events a couple weeks ago," he said.

He insisted it would not be used to censor political statements such as the speech given last year by winner Michael Moore on the war in Iraq.

But Academy president Mr Pierson told the Hollywood Reporter the time delay was a step towards introducing "a form of censorship".

Mr Pierson wrote to Academy members saying "even a very brief tape delay introduces a form of censorship into a broadcast - not direct governmental control, but it means that a network representative is in effect guessing at what a government might tolerate, which can be even worse".

He warned that "once the principle of a delay has been accepted, though, how much broader a scope might be sought in subsequent years, and how long before not only words but ideas become subject to deletion?"

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