Fortnite extends the definition of profanity to new heights on the in-game radio.
The in-game Icon radio has been playing Eminem’s tracks for a week. This collaboration spawned speculations about another joint enterprise to come and also surprised some players with an even more vigorous attempt at censorship that Eminem fans are accustomed to.
Skylar Grey noticed that Beyonce’s line from the “Walk on Water” had been changed. From “I walk on water / But I ain’t no Jesus” , the word Jesus was muted. Skylar co-wrote and co-produced the song, so she knows it by heart and not for the second she thought it was offensive.
She shared her shock and the video in her Instagram stories, asking:
Why did they mute Jesus? Is that a bad word now too?
In fact, US broadcasters have been at it for decades. In 1934, the Federal Communications Act declared that the broadcast airwaves are a limited resource and that licenses to use them were to be granted based on the public’s “interest, convenience and necessity”. And the government agency that regulates those airwaves, the Federal Communications Commission, has determined that obscene speech falls into none of those categories. Moreover, the broadcasters who exercise their right to obscene speech might be fined or even lose their licence. The definition of what constitutes a violation of the FCC regulations is vague and very much depends on how puritanical the society is at any given moment. One of the American content distribution services offers this guidance on recognising questionable content for producers submitting their shows: “Generally, any derogatory term for genitalia, any hateful words, or anything you would hesitate to say in front of your mother or prudish Uncle”.
So from time to time, producers decide not only to bleep or mute four-letter words and their derivatives but also “goddamnit” and sometimes “God”. The latter, though, is rooted not that much in considering the word offensive in itself but happens more due to fear of using god’s name in vain. There were such cases as bleeping the word Jesus on the ABC daytime show “The View” or removing all references to god from the Oscar-nominated movie “The Queen”, leaving characters to say “(Bleep) bless you, ma’am ”. And sometimes, producers just get overzealous, silencing words that just sound similar to profanity, as it happened to actress Frances McDormand who goy censored at the 2018 Golden Globes for saying “tectonic shift”. The list goes on.
Fortnite cleaning from Eminem songs everything that can be deemed even slightly risky is a clear example of a valiant effort to not offend anyone and keep their hands clean. As a result, we have “Jesus” muted on “Walk on Water” and “devil” muted on “Venom” on the Fortnite Icon Radio.
You can listen to the original songs on “Curtain Call 2” below: