World Sex Sells News

 2005: Jan-March



29th March

    Fucked without Proof

From Fiji Times

Police have little power to arrest those engaging in a new sex trade trend in the country. Assistant Police Commissioner Operations Jahir Khan said since some prostitutes now operated from rented suburban homes, it was hard for them to do anything unless they had enough evidence. This is the oldest profession but those in Fiji have found a new style to avoid getting caught.

Khan said: We always monitor all those suspected to be indulging in it. But we can't do anything until we can prove they are engaging in prostitution. If we can prove there was an exchange of money for sex behind those doors, we can start charging people.

He said most of the customers were Asian fishermen who were approached at the wharf and taken to a house. ACP Khan said since they operated on private property, police would have to work extra hard to catch them.

ACP Khan said those caught on the streets were normally charged with loitering for illegal purposes.

Police spokeswoman acting Assistant Superintendent Unaisi Vuniwaqa said the information was received from communities on the alleged activities of their neighbours. Vuniwaqa said from figures she received, Fijians dominated people loitering on the streets.

However, she said police were aware of the involvement of other races including Asians in the trade but did not have any concrete evidence to do anything about it.

 

28th March

    Lights Out in South Korea

From Stars and Stripes

Now in its sixth month, the countrywide action against prostitution and human trafficking appears to be having an effect, according to South Korean police statistics.

Police and civic groups say the problem is far from under control but the numbers are down. Since the action went into effect in September, more than 580 people, accused of being pimps and sex industry buyers, have been arrested, Korean National Police officials said. More than 600 brothels have been shut down in the same time period.

And between arresting sex workers and encouraging them to leave the sex industry, police said, the numbers of such workers have been halved.

Technically, prostitution is illegal in South Korea although the practice has flourished openly. Red-light districts operated with impunity for decades.

Last year, South Korean officials announced an aggressive plan meant to close all of the estimated 70 red-light districts in the country by 2007. A few weeks later, the government adopted tougher laws meant to allow for more arrests and prosecution in sex-trade related cases.

 

26th March

    Sex Sells But Not in Indian Cinema

From The New York Press

After finally managing to bring sex out of the closet, Bollywood's dalliance with steamy cinema looks destined to be short-lived. The Hindi movie industry's recent rash of so-called "skin flicks" have bombed at the box office. The reason, say critics, is that filmgoers want more than flashes of flesh. They want good storylines as well.

What started as a daring new trend in 2004 was seen this year as a formula for making a quick buck. However, despite the on-screen passion and increasing nudity the films aren't putting bums on seats.

Trade figures show that films like Rog , Chahat Ek Nasha , Chehra , Sheesha and Fun , which were all made for around Rs 40 million rupees, about half the average cost of a star-studded Bollywood film, have managed to earn only about Rs 10 million.

The films produced so far this year in the sex genre or the so called 'unwritten bold' category have no story or shock value to bring the audience to the theatres, said film critic Komal Nahata. People have kept away from cinema halls where these films have been screened. They have not even managed good openings, forget about recovering their costs.

The latest offering, Sins -- which revolves around a torrid love affair between a Catholic priest and a girl -- virtually vanished from screens within a week of its release.

 

25th March

    Sex Sells Enough to Pay Sky High Rents

From The New York Press

Ten years ago, the first volley was fired in the struggle to transform New York into a sterile, bland, family-friendly amusement park.. Smoking was banned, sex shops were shuttered, harmless vices of all kinds were denied New Yorkers. Easily recognized generic chain stores and restaurants overtook streets once lined with unique independent shops with hearts and souls. Even the accent started to vanish. It's a sad story we're all familiar with.

But quietly the porn shops have been edging their way back toward their true home. After fleeing Times Square in the 90s for Jersey and far-flung sections of Brooklyn and Queens, sex shops are reappearing in greater and greater numbers in Manhattan. They first began popping up in the West Village about two years ago. Then they inched their way into Chelsea. More recently, almost 20 new sex shops have opened their doors in the blocks surrounding the Port Authority, within smelling distance of the Deuce. It won't be long, given the inevitable swing of history, before Peepland reclaims its hallowed spot on 42nd St.

Why the renaissance? We can think of a hundred reasons. But the most likely explanation is also the most fundamental: greed.

If you take a walk around Manhattan these days, you're sure to notice the number of stores that have shut down over the past few years, and stayed that way. Walk up Broadway from Houston and try to count the number of closed gates. More often than not, it wasn't because business was bad, but because the rents had climbed out of reach.

Real estate developers are finding they have two options when it comes to renting out a commercial space at the ridiculous prices they're demanding: national chain stores or porn shops.

Time was, of course, that leasing to a porn shop was out of the question. Even if they fit the city's stringent zoning laws, it was accepted that they simply weren't welcome in Manhattan. But as commercial rents in Manhattan continue heavenward, developers who couldn't find any other takers finally remembered that porn is always huge business, and porn shops always pay their rent, no matter how ridiculous.

 

21st March

    Driven from the Street Corner into the Hands of the Pimps

From The Independent

Police have arrested 72 pimps in raids in half a dozen cities in the past few days in the largest operation of its kind in France. The operation is a response to complaints by prostitutes' support groups that pimps have been left relatively unscathed by a new law against street soliciting passed two years ago.

The raids in Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyons, Nantes and Orleans, were said by police to have dismantled two large Eastern European prostitution operations. But police said the operation was aimed at the "pimp on the corner" - the men who directly control and often abuse the women on the street - rather than the organisers of the trade in human flesh.

The raids were said to have been planned since February, but they were timed to coincide with a deputation of prostitutes' leaders and aid groups to the National Assembly last Tuesday. The prostitutes called for the repeal, or softening, of a law against "passive soliciting" passed two years ago as part of a package of law-and-order measures devised by the then interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Prostitution remains legal in France. Pimping and active soliciting have been illegal since the late 1940s. Under the new law, "passive soliciting" - standing on the street hoping to attract clients - is now also illegal.

Prostitutes complain that this law - applied unevenly by the police - has disrupted the work of "traditional" and independent prostitutes. The women, and transvestite men, have largely been driven from their usual haunts in the Rue Saint Denis in central Paris the Avenue Foche, the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes.

As a result, the prostitutes leaders' say, the trade has been delivered more than ever into the hands of pimps and organised gangs. Forced to operate in industrial estates, forests and small towns, the women say that they are now at the mercy of pimps, clients and a minority of corrupt police officers.

They also complain that the police use the new law to harrass the prostitutes themselves but spend relatively little time catching pimps.

There were 7,500 arrests of prostitutes in November last year alone but only 300 convictions. Far from repressing prostitution, the critics say, the new law has merely driven the trade underground and, in particular, out of city centres and bourgeois districts and suburbs.

Stung by these criticisms, Dominique de Villepin, who replaced M. Sarkozy as interior minister in June, ordered an anti-pimp drive by the police anti-prostitution agency, the OCRTEH, the Central Office Against the Trade in Human Beings. In the past five days, as many pimps have been arrested as in the previous two months. Five have been tried and imprisoned, 23 others have been formally accused and 44 await a decision by the public prosecutor.

 

15th March

    Japanese Entertainment

I wonder if Japan has considered the effect on the already sky high prices one has to pay for an evening's entertainment. Beware your Sony Walkman's may have to go up in price.

There seems to be a general press approach to somehow assume that all sex workers are coerced. I am sure that the vast majority work outside of the realms of confiscated passports and beatings etc. But of course the criminalisation of prostitution hardly allows for non-exploitative working conditions.

Based on an article from The Guardian

The neon sign outside describes the club as a "show venue", but the only people taking to the karaoke stage are crooning customers and their scantily-clad escorts. The entertainment that attracts office workers, elderly businessmen and middle-ranking gangsters to Shinjuku's red-light district in Tokyo is to be found at dozens of low tables, where women fend off wandering hands.

They are among the 80,000 Filipinas who entered Japan last year on six-month entertainment visas, ostensibly to work as singers and dancers. The reality is rather different: up to 90% work as bar hostesses, masseuses or prostitutes in Japan's sex industry.

Japan is about to tackle its appalling record on human trafficking with the introduction of tough visa regulations. Next week, foreign women will have to prove they have worked as entertainers overseas for at least two years or trained at a school for a similar period. The widely abused entertainer's licence currently used by Filipinas will no longer be acceptable.

A report last year by the US state department placed Japan on a par with Mexico and Laos for its failure to stem the trade in sex workers. According to the state department's latest report, published this week, up to 200,000 women are smuggled in annually to work in Japan's sex trade.

Tokyo hopes to ease international pressure with the introduction of a law later this year criminalising human trafficking. The current law protects only Japanese women from being trafficked overseas - a practice unheard of these days.

Hidenori Sakanaka, head of Tokyo's regional immigration bureau, has accused "weak-kneed" immigration officials of buckling under pressure from politicians with links to the sex industry. The problem is that there are businesses that make profits by exploiting women, and they are connected to law makers, he told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. He said entertainment visas had been used to make women work in inferior conditions and even as prostitutes. The government has for many years neglected this.

However, the new visa regulations have provoked anger in the Philippines, where tens of thousands of families stand to lose a vital source of income. Last year, Filipinas in Japan sent home $258m (134m). A total of $8.5bn in annual remittances from all Filipinos working abroad comprises 10% of the country's income.

While the number of reported cases of trafficking in Japan is small - police say there were 46 in the first nine months of last year - campaigners say it represents a fraction of the real figure.

Tokyo has turned down calls by Manila to phase in the regulations over several years, in the hope that Japan will be removed from the list of countries on the trafficking list when the next US report is released in the spring. Of course the [state department] trafficking report had an impact, said Shoichiro Okabe, a spokesman for the immigration bureau. We are determined to take steps to improve the situation.

Although officials in Tokyo say they will not impose a quota on the number of entertainer visas, as many as 70,000 Filipinas may be refused re-entry into Japan. The regulations may have a negative impact on women coming here legitimately, but in terms of tackling human trafficking, they're a step in the right direction, said Hiromasa Nakai of Unicef.

The debate has drawn attention to the plight of foreign women working in Japan's sex industry. Thais and Filipinas are being joined by Russians, Chinese, east Europeans and South Americans.

A few of the girls get trapped by pimps. Their passports are confiscated on arrival and they are forced to work - under the threat of violence - as prostitutes to pay back sums of up to 6m yen (30,000) to brokers and pimps. Women lured by promises of 200,000 yen a month as cabaret artists find themselves earning a fraction of that as bar hostesses who are also expected to have sex with customers.

Most of the women at the club in Shinjuku admitted having no dancing or singing qualifications and doubted they would be able to return when their visas expired. None would admit to sleeping with customers, although several said that meeting again after hours was possible.

"Mami", 20, said she had wanted to experience working in Japan. She shares a room with seven other women and works from early evening until 3am, seven days a week. We get two days off a month, but I have never been outside Tokyo, I just stay indoors all day watching videos. I don't know if I'd want to come back even if I could.

 

14th March

    Welcoming Myanmar to the Blame Society

From The Times of India

The Myanmar police have launched their first national crackdown on the sale of illegal foreign movies, mainly pornographic films which they say contribute to a rise in sex crimes, the Myanmar Times reported.

The campaign has already resulted in the seizure of thousands of videos and VCDs since mid-February, police told the semi-official weekly.

We are responsible to protect women so we set up the campaign because we believe it will greatly help to reduce the number of rape cases, Col Win Khaung, director of the police's planning and training department, said.

 

8th March

    Communicating about Prostitution

From The Globe & Mail

A motion to decriminalize prostitution is likely to be one of the more hotly debated items on the agenda for this weekend's Canadian Liberal policy convention. The resolution has been put forward by the Young Liberals of Canada, who say they want to improve the safety of sex workers.

Prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but several Criminal Code prohibitions restrict the way business is conducted. For example, it's illegal to operate a so-called bawdy house, or to communicate for the purposes of prostitution. It is also forbidden to procure customers for a prostitute.

We believe that what this does is it forces sex trade workers into a position where they have to hide themselves and try to avoid the public eye and put them in dangerous situations, Jason Cherniak, a Young Liberal National executive member, told globeandmail.com. What we're proposing is get rid of what's in the Criminal Code now because it isn't working and come up with something else."

The resolution asks that the section of the Code, which forbids communicating for the purposes of sex related acts, be removed. The resolution will be debated at a workshop on Saturday at the Liberal Biennial Convention. It says, in part, that criminalizing acts related to the sex trade perpetuates a negative social stigma for these workers and calls on the government to recognize that prostitution is a profession central to the subsistence of many Canadian citizens who deserve the same workplace safety and social respect as any other member of our society.

The resolution will be debated on Saturday at the Ottawa convention as one of five issues on justice. If it is chosen out of the five as the priority resolution, it will proceed to be voted on at the policy plenary. Resolutions adopted at that plenary become official party policy. Cherniak says the sex trade resolution may get more attention because the issue has been in the media lately.

Just this week, a subcommittee of the House of Commons justice committee announced they will travel to red light  areas in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg this month in the first public review of Canada's prostitution laws in 20 years. It's part of a wide-ranging study on the adequacy of current Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution.

And late last year, a Victoria Liberal MLA proposed a red-light district in the city, which was shot down by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and its mayor, Alan Lowe. Sheila Orr suggested that the prostitutes be given a designated street or streets in a more industrial part of the city with no residential homes. The proposal has not gathered much steam since last fall because Lowe does not want to have a debate on the matter, Orr told globeandmail.com Tuesday.

Orr also said Tuesday she supports the Liberal resolution but won't be attending the convention because the B.C. legislature is in session. She said it's becoming increasingly obvious that the issue needs to be debated and addressed in Canada and that the Criminal Code must be revisited. As well, she said the sex trade in Canada isn't going away and the time has come for those workers to be given the rights of other workers in Canada.

Cherniak said he didn't know what the chances were that the resolution on sex worker rights would move ahead for a vote on the convention floor on Sunday, as it is against several other strong justice issues including decriminalizing marijuana and increasing penalties for grow operations. However, he said it's important to bring ideas such as this to the Liberal biennial convention. I don't think it's radical. I think it's something that people have been talking about. At this particular convention I think it's the most unexpected.

 

1st March

    A Vivid insight into the American adult industry

From Forbes.com

Steven Hirsch, the head of the adult film studio Vivid Entertainment speaks passionately about his closely held company, its growth prospects and the potential for an initial public offering in the coming months. With all of the new technologies and the excitement surrounding them, this is the right time for us.

As one of adult entertainment's largest film studios, Vivid already generates an estimated $100 million a year in revenue, cranking out 60 films per year and selling them in video stores, hotel rooms, on cable systems and on the Internet. The company sells Vivid-branded merchandise, such as condoms, snowboards, apparel and sexually explicit comic books.

Vivid is already a sex industry power. All of the more than 1,500 films in Vivid's library can be accessed on the Internet, at a cost of $25 per month. About 30% of the titles found in the adult video section of stores in the U.S. are Vivid productions. And Hirsch's stable of so-called "Vivid Girls," with names like Sunrise Adams and Tawny Roberts, work under exclusive long-term deals, much like those used decades ago by the Hollywood studios to keep stars securely in-house and off-limits to competitors. Vivid also has an exclusive distribution deal with one of the biggest stars in the business, Jenna Jameson, who co-produces some of her own films in conjunction with the company.

There are plenty of successful people in adult video business, says Paul Fishbein, president of Adult Video News. But in terms of the video market and the mainstreaming of the industry, Vivid is the top. They have really led the industry into the mainstream.

Now Hirsch is poised to reign over the adult entertainment business. When the young Hirsch and a partner, David James, launched their own studio in 1984, they redefined the business by introducing the contract sex performers (they've had only a few men under contract over the years) and designing glossy, tasteful video packaging that was tame enough to get big retailers like Virgin and Tower to stock the tapes on their shelves.

Hirsch already pocketed $30 million in 2001 when he sold his (semi) hardcore cable channels The Hot Network, Vivid TV and The Hot Zone to Playboy Enterprises for about $90 million. Vivid had purchased The Hot Network just two years earlier for $10 million, turned it into the three channels and built distribution by convincing mainstream carriers such as News Corporation's Direct TV and the former AT&T Broadband, to begin carrying movies depicting explicit sex. Before then, hotels and cable and satellite distributors showed only nudity and simulated sex in their video offerings. Hirsch, who controls 33% of Vivid's equity, split the proceeds of the sale with two partners.

Vivid films cost between $40,000 and $200,000 each and take anywhere from three days to two weeks to shoot. Most of them are done at the company's headquarters and studio, located in the so-called capital of porn, the San Fernando Valley. Vivid employs about 100 people, and on-screen talent is by far the biggest cost. Each film uses one of the 10 Vivid Girls currently under contract. They each earn between $80,000 and $750,000 annually. Additionally four or five non-contract actors and actresses are also needed for each film.

Hirsh projects that the growth of video on demand, high definition and wireless devices will be a boon to his business. Currently, about $25 million comes from online sales annually, but Hirsch says that number will more than triple over the next several years. The company is already providing erotic games and video clips to wireless phone users, but so far that business provides just $10 million in annual revenue. However, once age and access issues are worked out in the U.S. and other countries, Hirsch predicts that wireless "will be a big business.''

This all has Hirsch considering taking Vivid public, joining other adult entertainment companies such as Playboy Enterprises and New Frontier, which have already enticed public investors into the erotica industry. Vivid considered an IPO in 2001 but backed out after the market stalled. Although Hirsch now says "the time may be right," he has yet to retain a banker and officially begin the process.

Vivid's two largest U.S. competitors are Wicked Pictures and Digital Playground, but Private Media Group, a worldwide distributor of films based in Spain, is the only adult video company traded publicly. Since its Nasdaq debut in December 1997, shares in the company have soared a split-adjusted 268%.

Fishbein, of Adult Video News, notes that other competitors have attempted to go public but failed. But, he says, If anybody can do it, Vivid can do it. They are the one company that has branded itself to the consumer world. People who have not even seen an adult video have heard of Vivid and Jenna Jameson.

 

1st March

    Supreme Alabama Dildos

From AVN

Despite the fact that there are no recorded deaths due to excessive vibrator use in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court nonetheless refused, without comment, to accept a petition filed on behalf of Alabama retailer Sherri Williams and several others, appealing a decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which remanded Williams' suit to the federal district court for reconsideration. Williams is being prosecuted for the sale of sex toys from her shop in Alabama.

It was the second time the Eleventh Circuit had remanded the case – and the trial judge, Lynwood Smith Jr., isn't getting any younger. Judging by history, it'll be six to eight months by the time our case gets on the docket to hear the oral arguments, calculated Williams.

The cert petition was filed on Dec. 23, 2004, following the Eleventh Circuit's fiercely divided decision six months earlier to remand the case, and its later refusal of a rehearing en banc. This case is not, as the majority's demeaning and dismissive analysis suggests, about sex or about sexual devices, wrote dissenting Judge Rosemary Barkett, who won kudos from attorney Luke Lirot for her excellent research and analysis in the Peek-A-Boo Lounge case in 2003. It is about the tradition of American citizens from the inception of our democracy to value the constitutionally protected right to be left alone in the privacy of their bedrooms and personal relationships."

A lot of people still believe that this case is only about overturning the sex-toy law in Alabama, but it's not, Williams told AVN.com. What it is really all about is, we have been fighting to prove that the Constitution provides a right to sexual privacy. We've been suing for a fundamental right to sexual privacy. All of the litigation and all of the briefs and everything we've filed, even though sex toys was the reason we're in court, the basis which we are using to overturn this law is 100 percent based on the right to sexual privacy. The district court understood that, but the appeals court [majority] refuses to acknowledge that there's an association between the sale of sex toys and Americans' privacy rights.

 

12th February

    Double Deep Throat

From The Guardian

It was the film that stirred America like no other, arousing passions in everyone from teenage boys to evangelical Christians. And now the infamous porn film Deep Throat - featuring Linda Lovelace, famous for her ability to perform certain acrobatic feats in relation to oral sex - is to be re-released in the US, and, according to industry insiders, is likely to reach UK screens.

The company that owns the rights to the film, Las Vegas-based Arrow Productions, is now striking prints of the movie, according to the journal Variety. Raymond Pistol, who runs Arrow, told the Guardian that he was making 15 prints. But, he added, the response had been overwhelming and he was expecting to be asked for more. No approach had yet come from a British distributor, but he would be interested were one to appear.

He is striking one version with some of the explicit material cut out in order to try to obtain an R certificate, which children under 17 could see if accompanied by an adult. He said it required "surprisingly little" to be edited.

Another version, as he put it, will be "au naturelle". He plans to submit this uncut version for reclassification. It currently holds an XXX certificate. Standards today are very different from standards in the 1970s, he said.

The move comes as a documentary about the 1972 movie, called Inside Deep Throat, is released in the US. Some cinemas plan to show the two in a double bill.

Momentum Productions yesterday told the Guardian that they were planning to release the documentary - highly praised at the Sundance film festival - in the UK in June. It is likely that, as in the US, this will be accompanied by some sort of release for the original film. According to a spokesperson for the BBFC, Deep Throat in uncut form would most likely be given an R18 certificate, meaning it could be shown only in licensed sex cinemas.

 

7th February

    Inside Deep Throat

From AVN

Inside Deep Throat DVDFor a film that even director Gerard Damiano admit was "not a good movie," the estimated $600 million worldwide gross says less about Deep Throat than it does about the very beginning of America's fascination with public cinematic sex.

Certainly the packed house at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood last night was a testament to the evolution of that notion, and to a large extent, that's what Inside Deep Throat is all about: Not so much the movie itself, but the phenomenon that both the movie's very existence and the attempts by law enforcement to suppress it have created – and the effects that making Deep Throat had on all the major players involved in its creation, most notably stars Linda "Lovelace" Boreman and Harry Reems, and Damiano himself.

Damiano was the surprise guest at last night's premiere both in the interviews that appear throughout Inside Deep Throat, and in the brief glimpse shown of his character from the end of The Devil in Miss Jones. During the Q&A session after the film concluded, Damiano laid a couple of rumors to rest: First, that he was made rich by the film's success – he didn't receive a dime over his director's salary – and second, that Linda Lovelace was forced, as she later famously testified before the Meese Commission and elsewhere, to perform the sex acts in the movie at the commands of her then-husband Chuck Traynor.

Chuck was a very jealous guy, and Linda had fallen in love with Harry, Damiano recalled, so when it came time to do her big scene, I could see she was nervous about it, so we sent Chuck down to Miami to buy some more film stock, and once he was gone, Linda gave us a great scene. Linda just needed to be told what to do, When Chuck told her to act in this movie, she did it, and she enjoyed doing it – no question in my mind. And later, when people told her to talk about how horrible it must have been for her to be forced to perform in the movie, she did that too.

But if Inside Deep Throat had only concentrated on the adult industry participants in the making and marketing of the original film, it likely would not have been nearly as interesting, nor received the acclaim it will undoubtedly garner in reviews leading up to the film's official opening on Feb. 11. Instead, Bailey and Barbato searched out some of the more famous mainstream folks, now all senior citizens, who'd been touched by Deep Throat since its 1972 theatrical debut. These included directors John Waters, Francis Ford Coppola and Wes Craven; sexologist Dr. Ruth Westheimer; novelists Erica Jong, Camile Paglia, Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown (who waxes eloquently about the skin care benefits of a cum facial); talk show host Dick Cavett (who claimed he'd never seen the movie); Citizens for Decent Literature founder (and convicted swindler) Charles Keating; and prosecutor Larry Parrish and several other law enforcement officials.

Also interviewed are several theater owners who showed Deep Throat on the big screen in the '70s – and who here recount how the mob's share of the box-office receipts was collected, sometimes on a daily basis, by representatives of the film's owners who had previously forced their other partner, Damiano, to sign over his ownership interest.

Fenton and Barbato did manage to get an interview from Harry Reems, who hasn't talked publicly about the film in more than a decade. Reems talked about having been arrested for appearing in the film, and his trial in Tennessee which resulted in a conviction for obscenity that was later overturned. He also talked about his XXX career, which ended in a fog of booze and drugs, to the point where he recalled that in his last feature, he was so out of it that he had to be carried on and off the set, and was unable to perform sex.

One particularly interesting piece of archival footage shows a younger Reems going head to head in defense of porn on a TV news program opposite the former chief counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Roy Cohn, a gay-bashing anti-porn zealot who was later revealed to have been secretly homosexual, and who died of AIDS.

The documentary also presents footage from Linda Lovelace's last interview, with journalist Legs McNeil, where she recounts her journey from being the world's best-known porn star, through her role as a spokesperson for anti-porn feminists – another segment shows her being interviewed in 2002 saying that Deep Throat was essentially a "life lesson" for her and that she bore no ill will toward anyone involved in the production.

The above is, believe it or not, only a small sampling of the wealth of information and amusement to be found in this excellent documentary, which should be required viewing for all involved in the adult industry. It runs a very fast 92 minutes, is rated NC-17 – hey, they had to show Linda actually deep-throating Harry for about 30 seconds -- and will open on Feb. 11 2005

 

6th February

    Reality TV is Hardcore

From the LA Times

Porn is suddenly sexy to a cable TV company once considered the industry prude. Adelphia Communications Corp. has quietly become the nation's only leading cable operator to offer the most explicit category of hard-core porn. Come Friday, triple-X-rated programming will be available on cable for the first time in a major media market: Southern California.

People want it, so we are trying to provide it, Adelphia spokeswoman Erica Stull said. T he more X's, the more popular. Stull stressed that the programming, supplied by Playboy would not be advertised and could be blocked to prevent children from watching. It will be delivered through video-on-demand technology, available now to about two-thirds of Adelphia's 1.2 million Southern California subscribers.

The move is a radical departure for Adelphia, the largest cable provider in Southern California and the nation's fifth biggest. Five years ago, Adelphia stirred a local controversy by dropping Spice — a popular soft-porn channel — from newly acquired cable systems here because Adelphia founder John Rigas considered X-rated programming immoral. Today, the 80-year-old Rigas and one of his sons are facing prison terms after being convicted last summer for looting the company and engaging in fraudulent accounting.

Adelphia, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002, currently is on the block. During the last year, in an effort to bolster Adelphia's bottom line, the company's new management has begun offering softer porn in various areas of the country and, in recent months, has introduced the hardest-core programming in a few markets.

The ratings system was developed informally by the adult entertainment industry and has become an integral part of how pornographic movies are edited for specific audiences. Single-X-rated movies feature nudity, long-range or panoramic and medium-range camera shots, simulated sex and sex between women. Double-X-rated movies show intercourse, oral sex and close-up shots. Triple-X-rated movies feature anal sex and visible ejaculation.

Cable executives said Adelphia's decision to air hard-core porn was unlikely to scare bidders in the current auction. Some predicted that if Adelphia subscribers flock to the new triple-X programs, other cable operators could follow.

Some industry experts say explicit programming has been a key reason satellite providers have carved out a 20% share of the pay TV market. It's scary how much money is made on porn , said Tim Connelly, editor and publisher of Adult Video News, an industry trade magazine that estimates that when you include strip clubs, magazines, the Internet, TV, DVDs and hotels, porn is a $10-billion industry. That's more than Hollywood makes at the box office. And it just grows and grows and grows. It's mainstream now.

Despite an outcry among some religious organizations, parent groups and political figures over the coarsening content coming into homes, the "indecency" backlash could lead to even more graphic content on subscription services. The conservative groups that want to clean up the airwaves have forced people looking for racier stuff to pay for it, said Bill Asher, co-chairman of Van Nuys-based Vivid Entertainment Group, the world's largest producer of adult programming. It's given pay TV more authority to go further than before.

Insiders and analysts estimate that consumers spend more than $1 billion a year buying sexually graphic movies and other explicit fare on TV through pay-per-view and video-on-demand services. (That's not counting orders from hotel rooms, where 50% of all movies purchased are from the adult category.) The revenues have quadrupled since the late 1990s, when cable operators first began moving beyond "soft" porn to embrace double-X fare.

Although the prospect of more money is enticing, most cable TV providers have been loath to move beyond double X-rated movies for fear of inciting the anger of investors, subscribers and local politicians who regulate them. But Adelphia executives say that new digital technology, which allows programs to be blocked, has given them more comfort and cover in offering hard-core fare to subscribers.

Adelphia's new strategy also has opened new opportunities for Playboy, which is providing triple-X programming to television for the first time. Playboy's top entertainment executive James Griffiths. said Playboy needs to supply whatever programming our distributors need to be successful. What do customers want? All you have to do is look at what's available on the Internet.

Industry sources said Larry Flynt also is attempting to become a force in the triple-X world of television, offering distributors attractive terms to carry his new HustlerTV. One adult industry veteran, however, said Flynt has received a lukewarm reception in the cable industry because of his notoriety for pushing the envelope.

In the bigger scheme, the partnership between Playboy and Adelphia in Southern California is a small step in a more ambitious plan to lure viewers away from the Internet and make television their primary destination for porn. Playboy already is gearing up to supply a variety of programs that will be available on demand and keep subscribers running up the bill.

 

6th February

    Reality TV is Hardcore

From the LA Times

Porn is suddenly sexy to a cable TV company once considered the industry prude. Adelphia Communications Corp. has quietly become the nation's only leading cable operator to offer the most explicit category of hard-core porn. Come Friday, triple-X-rated programming will be available on cable for the first time in a major media market: Southern California.

People want it, so we are trying to provide it, Adelphia spokeswoman Erica Stull said. T he more X's, the more popular. Stull stressed that the programming, supplied by Playboy would not be advertised and could be blocked to prevent children from watching. It will be delivered through video-on-demand technology, available now to about two-thirds of Adelphia's 1.2 million Southern California subscribers.

The move is a radical departure for Adelphia, the largest cable provider in Southern California and the nation's fifth biggest. Five years ago, Adelphia stirred a local controversy by dropping Spice — a popular soft-porn channel — from newly acquired cable systems here because Adelphia founder John Rigas considered X-rated programming immoral. Today, the 80-year-old Rigas and one of his sons are facing prison terms after being convicted last summer for looting the company and engaging in fraudulent accounting.

Adelphia, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002, currently is on the block. During the last year, in an effort to bolster Adelphia's bottom line, the company's new management has begun offering softer porn in various areas of the country and, in recent months, has introduced the hardest-core programming in a few markets.

The ratings system was developed informally by the adult entertainment industry and has become an integral part of how pornographic movies are edited for specific audiences. Single-X-rated movies feature nudity, long-range or panoramic and medium-range camera shots, simulated sex and sex between women. Double-X-rated movies show intercourse, oral sex and close-up shots. Triple-X-rated movies feature anal sex and visible ejaculation.

Cable executives said Adelphia's decision to air hard-core porn was unlikely to scare bidders in the current auction. Some predicted that if Adelphia subscribers flock to the new triple-X programs, other cable operators could follow.

Some industry experts say explicit programming has been a key reason satellite providers have carved out a 20% share of the pay TV market. It's scary how much money is made on porn , said Tim Connelly, editor and publisher of Adult Video News, an industry trade magazine that estimates that when you include strip clubs, magazines, the Internet, TV, DVDs and hotels, porn is a $10-billion industry. That's more than Hollywood makes at the box office. And it just grows and grows and grows. It's mainstream now.

Despite an outcry among some religious organizations, parent groups and political figures over the coarsening content coming into homes, the "indecency" backlash could lead to even more graphic content on subscription services. The conservative groups that want to clean up the airwaves have forced people looking for racier stuff to pay for it, said Bill Asher, co-chairman of Van Nuys-based Vivid Entertainment Group, the world's largest producer of adult programming. It's given pay TV more authority to go further than before.

Insiders and analysts estimate that consumers spend more than $1 billion a year buying sexually graphic movies and other explicit fare on TV through pay-per-view and video-on-demand services. (That's not counting orders from hotel rooms, where 50% of all movies purchased are from the adult category.) The revenues have quadrupled since the late 1990s, when cable operators first began moving beyond "soft" porn to embrace double-X fare.

Although the prospect of more money is enticing, most cable TV providers have been loath to move beyond double X-rated movies for fear of inciting the anger of investors, subscribers and local politicians who regulate them. But Adelphia executives say that new digital technology, which allows programs to be blocked, has given them more comfort and cover in offering hard-core fare to subscribers.

Adelphia's new strategy also has opened new opportunities for Playboy, which is providing triple-X programming to television for the first time. Playboy's top entertainment executive James Griffiths. said Playboy needs to supply whatever programming our distributors need to be successful. What do customers want? All you have to do is look at what's available on the Internet.

Industry sources said Larry Flynt also is attempting to become a force in the triple-X world of television, offering distributors attractive terms to carry his new HustlerTV. One adult industry veteran, however, said Flynt has received a lukewarm reception in the cable industry because of his notoriety for pushing the envelope.

In the bigger scheme, the partnership between Playboy and Adelphia in Southern California is a small step in a more ambitious plan to lure viewers away from the Internet and make television their primary destination for porn. Playboy already is gearing up to supply a variety of programs that will be available on demand and keep subscribers running up the bill.

 

5th February

    Vindictive Adult Tax

From the Kansas City Channel

Pornography is one step closer to being hit with a steep tax in Missouri. Senate Bill No. 32 would impose a 20 percent tax on revenues of all "sexually oriented businesses," charge a $5 fee for each person entering their doors and prohibit them from staying open late at night.

It would have the effect of almost putting most people out of business, said Joe Spinello, who runs the Shady Lady, an adult dance club. It's a huge, unfair tax increase.

Republican Senator, Matt Bartle, hopes to have his bill made into law. I think we've got a good chance of passing the bill, Bartle told KMBC's Martin Augustine. The bill is out of committee. The full Senate will debate it in a few weeks. Bartle believes most Missourians want the bill to pass. We need to do whatever we can, within the limits of the Constitution, to regulate, wisely, the porn industry, Bartle said.

The law would apply to video stores with adult film sections, even if 90 percent of the store's business is mainstream. It sends a horrible message to business owners about what nutters might do to eliminate your industry, Spinello said.

Kansas City's division of regulated industries, which has local oversight over adult entertainment, sent a letter to Bartle saying the bill, as written, will result in the closing of businesses and will drastically reduce revenues derived through taxes.

 

26th  January

    Fondling the Law

From the KVCB

A judge in Las Vegas has ruled a city law defining what strippers can and can't do during lap dances is unconstitutional. District Court Judge Sally Loehrer has affirmed a lower court ruling that as many as five misdemeanor criminal cases filed against Las Vegas strippers should be dismissed because city code is too vague and unenforceable.

The ruling only affects dancers within city limits. The Clark County Commission in 2002 limited touching between strippers and patrons during private lap dances, specifically defining prohibited contact and lewd activity.

But the municipal code used to regulate lap dancing in Las Vegas was not as specific. The law only mentions caressing and fondling as being prohibited. Under Loehrer's ruling, no dancer in the city can be arrested for violating the municipal code. The city is considering an appeal.

 

22nd January

A Black Eye for Bush


From AVN

In a decision that is bound to have enormous impact on the Adult entertainment industry, obscenity charges against producer Rob Black and his wife Lizzy Borden of Extreme Associates were thrown out of court today by a federal judge in Pittsburgh.

I'm still speechless, Black told AVN.com. All ten counts against us were dismissed . He said that U.S. District Court Judge Gary Lancaster made the dismissal on the grounds that obscenity laws are unconstitutional. We find that the federal obscenity statutes place a burden on the exercise of the fundamental rights of liberty, privacy and speech , wrote Judge Lancaster in his opinion.

I now have made fucking history , said the jubilant Black.

The Extreme Associates case was the first federal obscenity prosecution against a video manufacturer in over a decade.

Black's laywer, H. Louis Sirkin, told AVN.com, It's very gratifying to have been a part of what I think is a historic landmark decision. Even though it's on the first level, hopefully this will have a catalyst effect across the country on any federal obscenity cases that are currently pending.

Sirkin said it shows the importance of the Bill of Rights, not just the right to free speech but the right to substantive due process. We have a liberty interest to find sexual entertainment and to find media material that might be stimulating, and we have a right to view that, for whatever purposes we want to use it for.

Noting that the judge based his decision on the Supreme Court's Lawrence vs. Texas ruling last year, which struck down a Texas sodomy statute, Sirkin said, This court has adopted the language of what Justice Scalia had said in his dissenting opinion . Scalia wrote in part that the decision called into question laws against obscenity and various other offenses.

In a statement from the Justice Department, U. S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said, We are very disappointed by the court's decision to dismiss the indictment in U.S. v. Extreme Associates, et al. As we set forth in the pleadings we filed in the case, we continue to believe that the federal obscenity statutes are valid and constitutional, including as applied in this case. We are reviewing the ruling and examining our options, which could include an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit."

Internet attorney Lawrence G. Walters told AVN.com that before the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas ruling, the state had been able to show it had a "compelling interest" in restricting sexual activities. But Lawrence v. Texas said in effect that the government can no longer use "compelling interest" as a rationale for suppressing what adults many do in private.

The Black ruling extends this concept to Adult entertainment. In effect, Walters said, you should be able to see what you're able to do.

Quoting once again from Judge Lancaster's opinion: After Lawrence, the government can no longer rely on the advancement of a moral code, i.e., preventing consenting adults from entertaining lewd or lascivious thoughts, as a legitimate, let alone a compelling state interest.

Walters cautioned that since the case ended in a dismissal, not an acquittal, the government will likely appeal.

Greg Piccionelli, an Internet told AVN.com, This is a banner day for the First Amendment, and the equivalent of Pearl Harbor for the Religious Right. If the ruling is appealed and ultimately upheld – and I can say with absolute certitude that [this ruling] will be on the front burner for every conservative and religious right-winger in the country – it means that privacy law has evolved. It will alter what is permissible for the government to do, and it will obliterate the notion that community standards trump personal privacy.

 

12th January

Addicted to Repression


From AVN

Alberto M. Gonzales, President Bush's nominee to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States, committed to enforcing federal obscenity laws during his questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is the first public statement of his views on adult material that anyone has been able to uncover.

The topic first arose when Senator Mike DeWine asked the candidate what he'd like to be remembered for, four years from now? Gonzales replied, in part, I think obscenity is something else that very much concerns me. I've got two young sons, and it really bothers me about how easy it is to have access to pornography.

That statement led to a later exchange that was as revealing about the plans of committee member Senator Sam Brownback  as about Gonzales' views on sexually explicit material. Brownback urged Gonzales to investigate the hypothesis presented before his Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space that pornography was an addictive commodity, suggesting that perhaps the DOJ could prosecute porn on those grounds.

Brownback's request is repeated in full on the issue of obscenity laws and enforcement: I held a hearing last session of Congress on the issue of these -- not obscenity laws, but on addictions to pornography. And there was an amazing set of experts that came forward, talking about the addictiveness of pornography.

It's grown much more potent, much more addictive, much more pervasive, much more impactful. You cited teenage children you have and that I have, and in our private conversation. There's been criticism of the Department of Justice for not enforcing obscenity laws, work on these issues on community standards. I would hope that this would be something that you would take a look at, maybe make some personnel shifts within the Department of Justice, to address this from the law standards, on community standards, look at the addictiveness in the nature of it.

There are certain, obviously, guarantees of First Amendment rights, but there are also these laws that have been upheld by community standards, upheld by the Supreme Court, that can be, and I really think should be, enforced, given the nature of this very potent -- what one expert called it, delivery system, of -- in this country. And I hope you can look at that.


Gonzales replied, I will commit to that. I will look at that, Senator.

Beyond Gonzales' "commitment," Brownback's statement contains several troubling elements, not the least of which is his description of the witnesses who testified at the aforementioned panel on the addictive qualities of porn. As noted in the January AVN, this "amazing set of experts" were in fact not experts at all, according to most of the world's top sex researchers, but agenda-driven ideologues who hate sexually-expressive speech.

There is no scientifically credible evidence for her ideas, said Dr. Daniel Linz, co-author of The Question of Pornography, of the claims of witness Dr. Judith Reisman. In fact, the notions of 'sexual addition' generally, including 'pornography addiction' as well as the recent concern with 'on-line sex addiction' are highly questionable to most scientists.

But though Dr. Linz had submitted his opinions to Brownback's subcommittee, the senator obviously ignored Dr. Linz's testimony, and described adult material in drug terms, as having grown much more potent, much more addictive – as if the sexual speech were some new strain of marijuana or opium.

Brownback also spoke of maybe making some personnel shifts within the Department of Justice, which suggests that he has new duties in mind for former DOJ prosecutor/anti-porn crusader Bruce Taylor, whose job duties have been unclear since his rehiring early last year. Andrew Oosterbaan, the current head of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, has been the main target of the criticism of the Department of Justice for not enforcing obscenity laws

Further, Brownback's recommendation that Gonzales address this [obscenity laws] from the law standards, on community standards, look at the addictiveness in the nature of it, recalls Reisman's claim in her testimony that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting the First Amendment by overriding the cognitive speech process. This is true of so-called 'soft-core' and 'hard-core' pornography . This suggests that the government's new strategy will be to attempt to place all sexual speech outside the protection of the First Amendment by claiming that it creates effects over which the viewer will have no conscious, rational control.

At the judiciary committee hearing, Brownback mentioned that he hoped to "recruit" Gonzales' wife "on this topic" because she "had some interest in this." Could a patronage job for Mrs. Gonzales be in the offing – at substantial salary, no doubt – if the new attorney general agrees to target adult materials as Brownback thinks he should? Only time will tell.

 

11th January

    Passive Moralising

From The Telegraph

The ladies of the night whose antics make for one of Paris's more exotic sights are being driven off the streets by an outburst of moral zeal from the authorities.

First, the so-called Sarkozy Law, named after its sponsor, Nicolas Sarkozy, the ambitious rival to President Jacques Chirac, removed prostitutes from their beats on the capital's grand boulevards.

Now, the city's police are cracking down on the oldest profession at its other favoured haunts, the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes, on opposite sides of the city.

Roads have been closed at night in the Bois de Boulogne in an effort to curtail the activities of women and, just as often, men dressed as women.

The spectacle of women "flashing" motorists with the sight of their lingerie, or nothing at all, under their coats in the Bois de Boulogne by night was always one of the more arresting landmarks of Paris but the campaign to rid the roads of prostitutes' vans has virtually ended the nightly "dance of the headlamps", according to Le Parisien.

While pimping is illegal, prostitution is not. But in his determination to make his mark on law and order Mr Sarkozy, then the interior minister, included street-walkers in legislation to tackle crime two years ago, imposing penalties of up to six months' jail and 2,500 fines for "passive soliciting".

 

10th January

    Alcohol, Freedom, Stripping and America Just Doesn't Mix

From the Daily News

A strip joint owner in Connecticut was all smiles yesterday after a federal judge ruled that lap dancing is a form of "erotic expression" that government must allow. I'm not a choir boy, but I'm not a pimp either , Mario Pirozzoli, owner of Centerfolds in Berlin, Conn., told the Daily News after his strippers got the green light to, ahem, express themselves on the laps of his customers.

Federal Judge Warren Eginton ruled in a decision made public this week that lap dancing and simulated sex acts by strippers are protected by the First Amendment. A government cannot constitutionally regulate erotic expression with such stringent restriction that the expression no longer conveys eroticism, Eginton wrote.

The ruling came after the nightclub challenged the town's enforcement of a local law banning simulated sex in such establishments.

New York officials said they'd study Eginton's ruling before deciding whether it could apply here. The state Liquor Authority allows topless or bottomless dancing in licensed clubs only when the performer is at least 6 feet from the closest patron and is on a stage at least 18 inches high.

However, the agency does not regulate activities in so-called juice bars, because they're not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages.

 

9th January

    Dildos in Alabama

From the Alambama Times

Alabama could soon find itself at the forefront of yet another federal debate on the U.S. Constitution.

For six years, as legal challenges ricocheted through the courts, Alabama police have been prevented from enforcing a statewide ban on the sale of adult toys.

Last week, plaintiffs began their final challenge. Mike Fees, the attorney for store owner Sherri Williams, said he has filed a writ of certiorari to take his client's case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court receives thousands of requests each year and grants reviews of only a minute percentage.

Fees said he should know by the third week of February if the Supreme Court will accept his case. If not, after six years of legal wrangling, the ban would stand.

In Alabama, the legal contest began in 1998 when the Legislature passed a wide-ranging anti-obscenity law that prohibited some nude dancing, certain X-rated videos and the sale of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs."

Williams, who owns Pleasures stores in Decatur and Huntsville, and a woman who sold sexual aids at home parties soon filed suit. Four women who said they needed the products also joined the suit as plaintiffs, as did the American Civil Liberties Union.

Twice, the plaintiffs won their cases in trials. Both times, the office of the Alabama attorney general won on appeal.

The latest ruling came last summer when the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state law, ruling that the U.S. Constitution doesn't include a right to sexual privacy. Fees hopes to contend before a national audience that the Constitution grants all citizens "a right of privacy in their intimate relationships."

If the Supreme Court hears the case, Fees has said, a ruling would likely have implications for six other states where the sale of sex toys is illegal. They are Texas, Nebraska, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Virginia.

Suzanne Webb, spokeswoman for the Alabama attorney general's office, said the office had no comment on the case. She said the ban would not be enforced until the plaintiffs exhaust their appeals.

Under the state ban, possession or use would not be restricted. But the sale of certain adult toys could be met with a $10,000 fine and a year in jail.

 

2nd January

    Small Ads and Small Minds

Typical bollox justice in the States. They lock up the small ads compiler to deal with the non problem of prostitution.

From Daze Reader

Nashville police are cracking down on the thinly veiled prostitution advertisements in the back pages of the city's alt-weekly.

Nels Noseworthy was arrested by police after a six-count indictment was handed down by a grand jury. According to police, Noseworthy was an account executive for the Nashville Scene and was the point of contact for people wanting to place ads for the "Personal Adult Services" section of the paper.

Police say that the indictments and the arrest come after a year-long investigation prompted by complaints about ads for escort services inside the Scene . Detectives allegedly found through interviews with defendants in other prostitution cases and through phone conversations between Noseworthy and undercover officers that he solicited ads for illegal prostitution services with full knowledge of the services.

As part of the investigation, officers placed several ads for prostitution-related services with provocative language and prices for hourly rates. Investigators have also looked into over 30 other ads placed in the Scene that were found to be prostitution-related. 25 people now face prostitution charges in connection with the ads.

The Nashville Scene's own article on the investigation and arrest offers a mild defense. For better or for worse, the city's efforts to investigate a newspaper for the content of its adult ads seem to be unprecedented. (Anderson says that the police are continuing to monitor the adult advertisements in other publications, including the local Yellow Pages.) When contacted, officials at media think tanks, including the Poynter Institute and the First Amendment Center, could not recall any case like this. Alan Johnson, the well-respected attorney for The Tennessean, also wasn't able to cite any precedent for this sort of action.

Attorney John Herbison, who has successfully defended adult businesses against Metro for years, says the city's prosecution of Noseworthy is a case of "In terrorem." That's when the authorities pursue a case "not for the purpose of obtaining a conviction but for the chilling effect it has for people who might otherwise be tempted to participate in this or a similar activity." Herbison speculates that the city knows that it can't win a conviction against Noseworthy, in part because the statute that spells out what it means to promote prostitution can't possibly extend to placing adult ads in a newspaper.

The Scene's editorial vents more outrage at their employee's arrest. Nels Noseworthy is a musician. A father of four. A guy well liked by his co-workers. He orders our office supplies and sorts our mail. He works at the front desk, screening our calls and politely telling nut jobs who want to storm the editor's office that she's in a meeting. And when some seedy-looking character walks in the front door to advertise his or her escort business in our classified section, he patiently walks them through the process, takes their payment and pockets barely enough to buy lunch at Sonic down the street.