Recently, there’s been a very major obscenity case in the U. S. courts. I’m not sure how many people know about it, other than those of us who work in the adult media world. Lots of the public isn’t even aware that there are laws that hinder us in so many ways as artists. It’s one of the many reasons I moved to Mexico.
John Stagliano and his company, Evil Angel Productions, were recently taken to court on seven different obscenity charges. The counts against him included “crimes” like sending DVDs over state lines, and having porn that is downloadable to your computer. If convicted, he could have been sentenced to 32 years in prison and have to pay $7 million dollars in fines! Fortunately, the case was dismissed earlier this month, thanks to a woefully inadequate case by the prosecution.
The FBI ran a sting operation to get this guy. They pulled agents off terrorism task forces and devoted something like five years to making this porn case. They ordered a DVD and had it sent to one of their offices. They also downloaded the porn to their computers. Yes folks, this is your U.S. tax dollars at work for you, keeping you safe from pornographers! Not chasing the fucking bankers who basically put the U.S. into a depression and stole all of our money. They’re not looking for the thieves who steal our hard work by ripping it off and putting it on the Internet so you can download it for free. NO. They are making sure that they can make cases against people like John and me, so that they can wipe out the adult industry. They are determined to ruin us.
Three of the laws that Stagliano was charged with violating are from Title 18, and include sections 1465, 1462, and 1466, that state the “sale or distribution of any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, film, paper, letter, writing, print, silhouette, drawing, figure, image, cast photography, recording, electrical transcription or other article capable of producing sound or any other matter of indecent or immoral character” is illegal.
Basically, the law states that if your peers find anything that you produce to be “obscene,” then they can arrest you and take you to jail on obscenity charges. It’s that simple. But what the fuck does that mean? Who decides what’s “obscene?” By some people’s definition, I could be considered totally obscene just for being who and what I am.
This is why everyone in the adult industry is so scared to produce anything out of the “norm.” I don’t put fisting, pissing, or gagging in any of my films because my last distribution company would not sell them with that content. Wait, what about freedom of expression? What about “artistic merit?” I have a vision for my movie, but I can’t do it because I could be arrested—because the government of the U.S.A. says I am “obscene.”
Let me also tell you about Max Hardcore. He makes some really intense films, but the action is between consenting adults and the movies are made for adults, so what’s the big deal? Well the U.S. Government didn’t like the movies he made, so they arrested him. In 2008, he was found guilty in a Florida court on 10 counts of shipping obscene material through the U.S. Postal Service, and 10 counts of selling obscene material over the Internet, and now he’s in jail! He was sentenced to almost four years.
These aren’t isolated cases. A Colorado porn producer was convicted of federal obscenity charges and sentenced in 2006 to 13 months in prison and ordered to close his adult stores in Texas. A federal judge in 2005 sentenced a Florida man to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute obscene videotapes. In 2006, two men were sentenced in federal court in Dallas to 34 and 30 months in prison after having been found guilty of having mailed obscene material. The video depicted nipple piercing, but not explicit sex!
If the mainstream media knows about this, they do not cover it, which I think is a shame. If CNN or some other major news station were to talk about this law a bit more and get people to see what is going on, I think the government would have to back down.