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NCSF Media Activity Report – 2008

The NCSF Media Outreach Project interfaces with the media and educates community members on how to deal with media inquiries. The Media Committee reviews, edits, and refines the documents that NCSF distributes. The media committee is chaired by Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF, and consists of Levi Halberstadt, Keith Richie, Lisa Vandever, Lolita Wolf, and Howie Z.

In total, Susan received 100 requests via email and phone calls. These numbers are up from the last annual report (85):

  • 45 Interviews
  • 31 Incident Response requests
  • 24 Inquiries

45 Interviews

The number of interviews has increased significantly since the last annual report (33). Among others, Susan gave interviews to reporters with the following publications:

  • Arianna Green with the NY Times about sex educators who are forced to be closeted because of discrimination.
  • Mark Mikin with Esquire about men who like to watch their wives/girlfriends have sex with other men.
  • Rex Huppte with the Chicago Tribune about the popularity of watersports.
  • Sumanthi Reddy with Newsday about Mistress Jade and her boyfriend who was killed by her stalker.
  • Brian Alexander with MSNBCabout professional dominatrices for his Sexploitation column.
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel with the Huffington Post about NCSF’s DSM Revision Project.
  • Jeff Bercovici with Portfolio Magazine regarding the NY Post’s sensationalized coverage of the Canadian man who went into a coma at the Nutcracker in New York.
  • Carly Weeks with the Globe & Mail regarding the incident itself.
  • David Shoetz of ABC News about Hunt Club of Brevard swingers, and an accidental bondage death case.
  • Lisa Rose of the Star Ledger regarding Floating World’s “Torture and Interrogation” workshop featuring techniques used at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
  • Curtis Sliwa on WABC Radio and Frank Morana on WTKK about the Star Ledger article.
  • X-Biz reporters continue to contact NCSF about a variety of issues (including the Sex Positive Journalism awards) helping to feature BDSM and swing issues in adult entertainment coverage.
  • Several interviews were also given to Judy Dutton who is writing a book for Random House.

31 Incident Response requests

The incident in New York City involving the prostitution busts of professional Dominatrices and the resultant sensationalized media coverage resulted in 12 different community members, professional Dominatrices and business owners contacting NCSF in 2008. Six houses of domination have been raided: Ball & Chains, Sensual Punishment, Hidden Chamber, L’Oeil Cache, Nutcracker and Rapture. Susan Wright met with NY County Assistant District Attorney Leroy Frazer and Lisa Friell, the Head of the Sex Crimes unit, on December 4,2008, to bring community concerns to their attention. Susan has attended meetings with Dominatrices in NYC, and continues to network with BDSM community members, educational BDSM groups, the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, Sex Workers Outreach Project NYC and Sex Workers Action New York.

Folsom Street Fair was once again attacked by religious political extremist groups (particularly Americans for Truth About Homosexuality) however this time the coverage was much more muted. Susan was asked to be the media spokesperson onsite at the Fair, and gave several interviews including one to Peter LaBarbara with AFTAH.

On a more local level, the BerkMontNews ran an article in July, 2008, quoting the borough president who outed and denounced the private Kissabal parties for swingers at the American House Hotel (these parties don’t include any sexual activities). Susan was quoted in the BerkMontNews follow-up article questioning the validity of an elected official trying to stop adults from meeting together at a bar. The mayor stated that the town needed to attract business, not run it off. The borough president resigned the next week amid the controversy.

A few other examples:

  • Community Boardmember Goldman attacked the NY Leather Weekend, claiming the NY Leather Weekend street fair doesn’t belong in the West Village.
  • A man lost his church music job because he was photographed with a man on a leash at the Gay Pride Parade.
  • A hotel tried to break a contract with a fetish conference. With NCSF’s help, the event went off as planned.

24 Additional Inquiries

Reuters Insight Community Experts contacted Susan to join as a sexuality expert, and after submitting her credentials and application, Reuters has posted Susan on their website as an expert available for speaking to the media. Other inquiries requested workshops and attendance at events; assistance with dissertations, college papers and peer-reviewed articles; questions about Swingtown and other media representations of alternative sex.

Susan acted as media spokesperson for 6 different events: Folsom Street Fair (San Francisco), TES Fest (Piscataway, NJ), SinSations in Leather and Kinky Kollege (Chicago), Northwest Leather Contest (San Jose), and Spanksgiving (St. Louis).

NCSF Actions

Five Press Releases were broadcast:

  • PR announcing the DSM Revision Project,
  • PR on Sweden’s removal of sadomasochism, fetishism and cross-dressing from their disease registry,
  • PR on the Sex Positive Journalism Awards ceremony,
  • PR on NCSF’s participation in nationwide protests against the passage of Proposition 8 in California banning gay marriage,
  • PR on NCSF’s projects and programs.

NCSF is here to help you — the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with the media because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our website on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our media hotline at 917-848-6544.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference. Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

Report by Susan Wright