ABC has been ordered to cough up $395,000 for using a simulated emergency alert tone in an October Jimmy Kimmel Live! skit making fun of last fall's test of the emergency presidential alert system. The sketch, a fake trailer for a movie called The Textening, used the tone as it depicted horrified citizens receiving nonstop "WITCH HUNT" and "FAKE NEWS" texts from President Trump. The network agreed to pay a fine to the Federal Communications Commission. "ABC takes regulatory compliance seriously and we are pleased to have resolved this issue," a network rep tells the Hollywood Reporter .
ABC told the agency that there had been a "misunderstanding that the use of the tone was permissible." The FCC also fined AMC $104,000 over the use of a tone in an episode of The Walking Dead earlier this year, and Discovery has to pay $68,000 over the broadcasting of a wireless emergency alert tone picked up during the filming of Lone Star Law, reports Reuters. The FCC says unauthorized broadcasting of the tones is banned "to avoid confusion when the tones are used, alert fatigue among listeners, and false activation of the system by the operative data elements contained in the alert tones." (Before the October test, officials stressed that there would not be a situation "where any sitting president would wake up one morning and attempt to send a particular message.")