Porn Industry Says GOP's Attack on XXX Video Is Un-American

Behind the scenes at a porn shoot
Behind the scenes at a porn shoot
Gustavo Turner/L.A. Weekly

There are a lot of pressing issues these days that could use the serious attention of our political leaders, from wealth inequality to college loans, the housing crisis to job opportunities. But it seems you'd have to go out of your way to make porn one of your top political priorities in 2016.

That's what the GOP did this week as Republican delegates amended the party's 2016 platform ahead of its convention in Cleveland, which starts Monday.

The amendment calls porn "a public health crisis." 

The adult video industry's L.A.-based trade group, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), today responded to the characterization by suggesting that being against sex on video is simply un-American.

"Using public health as a pretext for a censorship crackdown is not only anti-porn, it's anti-American," says Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the coalition. "Since 1973, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that sexual speech is fully protected by the First Amendment, and no platform will change that."

The always outspoken Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, piled on.

"The Republicans do this every four years to satisfy the most conservative members of their party," he says. "Maybe they should spend their time finding a candidate that's not a narcissistic xenophobe."

The FSC pointed out that GOP delegates had to perform some twisted rhetorical yoga in order to make the XXX industry appear to be a top enemy of American progress.

"Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions," the amendment states. "We encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children’s safety and well-being."

Mary Forrester, a delegate from North Carolina, told Yahoo News that she came up with the amendment after consulting with the conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America. She argued that children were becoming addicted to adult video.

At the same time, Republicans are standing by gun owners' rights, despite a string of recent health-halting attacks involving assault-type rifles. The anti-porn stance "would seem to run counter to the Republican Party's traditional embrace of personal freedom," Leue says.

He disputes the GOP's contention that the XXX industry has created a health crisis.

"No reputable, science-based public health organization has labeled pornography a threat to public health," he says. "Not the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics or any state health department."

Hardcore porn site Kink.com this week released a statement that it will give free access to GOP convention delegates until Election Day. The website hopes this will change their minds on the porn amendment.

Kink.com will require credentials but promises to keep the names of those who request access private.

"Porn isn’t harmful," Kink.com director Maitresse Madeline Marlowe wrote on the site, "but shame around sexuality is."


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