FCC Complaints Against Downton Abbey Include ‘Homosexual’ Storyline, Racist Simpsons Spoof

Not everyone loves PBS's darling.


Photo via PBS

Period-piece aficionados around the world were rocked this year when they learned that the upcoming sixth season of Downton Abbey would mark the show’s end—but not everyone will be sad to see the show go.

Earlier this year, Boston submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get all complaints against Downton Abbey that have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Surely, you say, PBS’s darling Downton Abbey isn’t capable of offending people to the point of filing a formal complaint. Wrong.

The FCC turned over five complaints that have been filed over the show’s history.

The first notable complaint comes from a viewer in Bargersville, Indiana:

The program developed a plot or story line about a homosexual man who became interested in another man and began inappropriate and unwanted touching of the other man. The “gay” character ultimately worked up his sexual urges such that he went, uninvited, to the other man’s room at night and, while the man was sleeping advanced upon him and kissed the sleeping man. This is indecent, obscene material that should not be displayed in prime time where my family is subjected to such blatant immoral acts that are completely against our moral standards and that of our community. It would be bad enough if this were cable, but the Public Broadcasting Service, which receives public funding, should be held to the highest standard.

A viewer in Wayne, Maine, had a similar, slightly more specific complaint:

On January 9th at 9:00 pm, a miniseries broadcast on PBS Masterpiece Theatre, “Downton Abby”, featured two homosexuals kissing. PBS Channel 10.1 WCBB out of Lewiston, Maine.

Then there was a complaint actually lodged against The Simpsons that implicated Downton Abbey:

there was a commedy bit about downtown abbey where the servants were all black cats and the mice were killing the servents THey then called in the other black servents to clean up the bodies of the dead cats…cut to Lisa laughing on the couch

Here’s the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon in question:

And here are the full complaints for those interested: