Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, the South Carolina Senator who served six terms and had several high-profile battles over restricting television, film and music content, has died. He was 97 and passed today, according to family spokesman Andy Brack.
A former presidential candidate, the Democrat Senator had a long history with Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general, most of them boiling down to calls for restrictions on First Amendment issues.
Hollings co-sponsored the Children’s Protection from Violent Programming Act of 1993, which would have banned the broadcast or cable transmission of violent programming during hours when children make up a substantial share of the audience.
He also supported a bill that would force makers of computing and communications equipment to install copy-protection technology that would have made it impossible for devices to record, play or transmit copyrighted material, backing a studio-driven initiative.
Most notably, Hollings was at the forefront of Senate hearings on the Parents Music Resource Center’s call for warning labels on record albums. He called on Congress to protect the “tender young ears of this nation from this rock porn.”
He retired from the Senate in 2005 as one of the last of the old-time Southern Democrats after serving just over 38 years, making him the eighth-longest-serving US Senator. He chaired the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and held seats on the Appropriations and Budget committees.
Beyond his efforts to restrict content, Hollings was known for his work on hunger and was a leader in desegregation efforts in his native state.
No details have been announced on a memorial service.
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