An anti-profanity crusader on Tuesday asked ABC to pull this week's "Modern Family" episode in which a toddler appears to use a bleeped curse word.
"Our main goal is to stop this from happening," said McKay Hatch, an 18-year-old college student who founded the No Cussing Club in 2007. "If we don't, at least ABC knows that people all over the world don't want to have a 2-year-old saying the 'F-bomb' on TV."
"We hope they know better," said Hatch. He's asking his club's members, whom he said number 35,000 in the United States and about three-dozen other countries, to complain to ABC.
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ABC has yet to respond, he said Tuesday. The network had no comment, a spokeswoman said.
In the episode titled "Little Bo Bleep" airing 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, 2-year-old Lily shocks parents Mitchell and Cameron (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet) with her first expletive.
The dads, who are preparing Lily to serve as flower girl in a wedding, now have an added parenting challenge.
The tot is played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who says the word "fudge" during taping. It will be bleeped on the air and her mouth will be obscured by pixilation, and viewers will get the impression that her character used the actual F-word.
Steven Levitan, creator and executive producer of the sitcom with Christopher Lloyd, told the Television Critics Association last week that he's "proud and excited" about the F-word plotline that ABC was persuaded to allow.
"We thought it was a very natural story since, as parents, we've all been through this," Levitan said to EW.com. "We are not a sexually charged show. It has a very warm tone so people accept it more. I'm sure we'll have some detractors."
The program, which won the Emmy Award for best comedy last fall, was named best musical or comedy series at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony.
Hatch, who is from South Pasadena and attends Brigham Young University in Rexburg, Idaho, said he began his anti-profanity club in 2007 when he noticed how rampant cursing was at his school and how it was linked to bullying.
"If kids are accountable for their choices, then adults should be as well," and that includes media, he said.
TV profanity was an issue before the Supreme Court last week, which heard arguments about whether regulating curse words and nudity on broadcast stations is sensible when cable and satellite services offer channels with few restrictions. A decision is expected by late June.