Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake: Donald Miralle/Getty Images/NewsCom
Brian Hiatt
July 19, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

CBS chairman Les Moonves said Sunday that he’ll fight any fines assessed against his network for Janet Jackson’s bared breast — fines that a source told the AP may well amount to $550,000. ”We deeply regret what happened, [but] we think the idea of a fine for that is patently ridiculous, and we’re not going to stand for it,” Moonves told reporters at an annual gathering of television critics. ”We’re going to take that to the courts if that happens.”

A staff recommendation circulating at the FCC suggests fining 20 CBS-owned stations the maximum penalty allowed for indecency: $27,500 each, which adds up to $550,000, a source told AP. The FCC will decide in the coming weeks whether to accept that suggestion. When contacted by AP, a spokesperson for the FCC declined to comment.

Moonves also blasted the FCC’s post-Janet crackdown on indecency — which has included a record-setting $1.75 million fine against stations that aired a Howard Stern routine ? as ”coming dangerously close to infringing” on free speech. In any case, CBS has started using a five-second delay on many of its live broadcasts.

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