Republicans are back in power (well, partly) and so of course it's time for all the conservative religious and religious conservative groups to begin beating the drum for more obscenity prosecutions—never mind that the government's last attempt to do so met with less-than-sterling results.
Even as rumors have been flying around First Amendment legal circles for weeks that Attorney General Eric Holder has abolished the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force—it was one of four main topics discussed at the recent legal seminar at the XbizLA conference—and even as the two Task Force attorneys assigned to prosecute John Stagliano—Pamela Stever Satterfield and Bonnie Hannum—appear to have left the unit, former DOJ prosecutor Patrick Trueman, recently tapped to become CEO of Morality In Media, orchestrated letters to be sent to both Holder and several well-known anti-porn senators calling for stepped-up scrutiny of sexual commerce.
The "bipartisan" letters, one from Reps. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), a well-known anti-porn activist, and "Blue Dog" Mike McIntyre (D-NC)—he voted against TARP, healthcare reform; was the only Democrat to vote against repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell"; and is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act—and the other from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who unfailingly questions and browbeats judicial nominees regarding their views on porn, push the lie that "research continues to show that hardcore adult pornography is increasingly harmful, addictive ... and linked to other crimes such as domestic violence and sex trafficking."
Hatch's letter urges his fellow senators (and possibly House members as well) to sign onto a letter, likely written by Trueman, urging the Justice Department to "vigorously... enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography," reminding Holder that in 1998, as Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno, he authored a memo to all of the U.S. attorneys around the country urging them to give prosecutorial priority to "large-scale [adult video] distributors who realize substantial income from multistate operations and cases in which there is evidence of organized crime involvement."
The controversial sex film festival, Pornotopia, is being forced to censor its act after the city of Albuquerque said that type of adult entertainment is not allowed in the section of town where it booked a theater. Full story and video...
"Zoning Issue Nixes Nudity, Pornotopia" KOAT - Albuquerque
The provocative film festival “Pornotopia” has been postponed because the city doesn’t allow adult entertainment at the festival’s proposed site near downtown Albuquerque.
With months of planning, researching and now no place to go, Co-Director of Pornotopia Molly Adler said the film festival’s status is unclear. Full story and video...
A federal judge has refused to strike down recent amendments to the federal Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act that require photographers and filmmakers -- both professional and amateur -- to maintain records that verify the age and identity of anyone depicted in a sexually explicit film or photograph....In doing so, Baylson rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the record-keeping requirements are overbroad because they apply to "all expression containing sexual imagery -- no matter how fleeting, no matter how artistic or valuable as political commentary or journalistic documentary, no matter how clear it is that the persons depicted are middle-aged adults."
But after the trial, jurors were more concerned with what wasn’t in Milk Nymphos: Violence. Rape. Bestiality. Kids. “These people were adults and they were willing. No one put a gun to their head,” Crawford said. “Had they brought a child out in pampers, then we would have been like, hell no,” Mordecai added. In opening arguments, the defense emphasized that the only entity forcing anyone to watch porn is the government. “The movies are not—and are not meant to be—distributed to these 14 strangers sitting in a federal courthouse,” defense attorney Paul Cambria said. The films feature “adults putting on a performance…for another adult, who would make that choice [to watch it] if that were his or her cup of tea.”
But none of this history explains the prosecution of John Stagliano in 2010 for making movies with consenting adults and selling them to other consenting adults. When did his business suddenly become criminal? Why has the power and majesty of the United States government, the financial and personnel resources of the FBI, all joined forces now to try and send Stagliano to prison?
(Video) Penley specializes in film history and theory, feminist theory, and cultural studies. She is especially well-known on campus for her controversial classes on pornography, where she analyzes the ways in which blue movies play with moral and social taboos.
On Tuesday, a group of anti-porn activists and scholars arrived on Capitol Hill to brief members of Congress and their staffs and to call for beefed-up federal enforcement of obscenity laws. They weren't there to fret about the pornographers of old: the loveable chauvinist Hugh Hefner and his scantily clad bunnies, or even the not-so-loveable-but-occasionally-principled First Amendment crusader, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. No, they had come to alert Congress to websites like GagFactor.com, whose teasers alone are way more graphic than anything Hefner ever published, and whose content doesn't portend a spirited First Amendment defense.