Porn Industry Fears Mitt Romney's Desire to Suppress It (and Suppress Americans' Choices)

Susannah Breslin at Forbes talks to some people in the porn industry about what a Mitt Romney presidency might mean, including John Stagliano (who supports the Reason Foundation, which owns Reason magazine):

“They want to put me in jail, basically.”

That’s how porn director John Stagliano responds when I ask him what he thinks of the 2012 GOP platform, in particular one newly added sentence:

“Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”

Two years ago, Stagliano was sitting in a Washington, D.C., courtroom, charged with seven counts of distributing obscenity.

Today, he’s a free man, after federal court judge Richard J. Leon “dismissed with prejudice” several of the counts and for the remaining counts “granted the defendants’ motion for judgment of acquittal under Rule 29.”

But an anti-porn crusader says Mitt Romney has vowed if he’s elected president, he’ll ramp up obscenity prosecutions....

According to Patrick Trueman, who ran the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the Department of Justice under President Reagan and President George H. W. Bush and who now runs Morality in Media, an anti-porn organization, Romney intends to launch a war on porn.

In a meeting with Alex Wong, Romney’s foreign and legal policy director, Trueman says Wong told him, “Romney is sincere about this. He’s convinced this has now had a terrible effect on society, and he will enforce the law.”....

In 2007, Romney swore that if he were elected president, he would put a porn filter on every computer.....

This is the "small government" of Romney and too much of the modern Republican Party: a government big enough to violate the First Amendment blatantly and waste taxpayer money and lives trying to stop people from making and consuming products they enjoy. 

A Reason.tv interview from July 2010 with Stagliano about the Feds failed attempt to prosecute  convict him:

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  • sarcasmic||

    “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”

    Paging Mr Freud. Mr Freud to the Republican Party platform please.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You're reading too much into it. All Romney's saying is that current obscenity enforcements are far too loose. America needs a Justice Department that's not afraid to probe the porn industry no matter what hole they hide in. That has the rigidity and the stamina to endure lengthy investigations. That has the enforcement to ensure that investigations don't explode in their faces.

    All Mitt Romney wants is a DOJ that has the know-how to satisfy his (and America's) burning, pent up desire for justice.

  • sarcasmic||

    +42

  • $park¥||

    Well, Romney is going to have to do his best to stand up to his stiff competition. Who knows, he might even pull it off.

  • SugarFree||

    Do Mormons take off their magic underwear when they jerk off? or do they work it in somehow?

  • sarcasmic||

    yes

  • SugarFree||

    So it's a counter rotational torsion technique?

  • sarcasmic||

    Ummmmmm, sure.

  • Restoras||

    The porn industry is no match for the internet and enterprising amateurs, as well as unrepentent exhibitionists. Looks to me like its just looking for a bailout.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Possibly the greatest area of entrepreneurship in this country.

  • Brett L||

    Its just basic supply and demand. There are more girls willing to fuck on camera than there are dudes who want to film it. Thousands of girls go unrecorded simply because their boyfriend never asks. In this age of ubiquitous and cheap cameras, I say to you that America can not afford this loss! No. If the porn industry must die so that every girl who wants to show her skills on the internet gets to, Then so be it.

    [marches off humming Star Spangled Banner]

  • ||

    Somebody doesn't surf self-shooter themed tumblrs, I see. Idiot.

  • Brett L||

    Welp, I'm done with work for today.

  • R C Dean||

    “They want to put me in jail, basically.”

    I'm not sure what to make of this, coming from a guy who was actually prosecuted by the Obama DOJ.

  • SugarFree||

    Trepidation over a Romney presidency is not automatically an endorsement of Obama.

  • sarcasmic||

    Gary who?

  • R C Dean||

    I know, Suge. Its just odd, to my ear, for a guy who came within a whisker of being jailed by Obama to complain about Romney wanting to put him in jail.

  • ||

    Yeah. Ten bucks says he's an Obama voter.

  • ||

    John Stagliano (who supports the Reason Foundation, which owns Reason magazine)

    I'll take that bet.

  • R C Dean||

    Seeing as this is Reason, what odds are you giving?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Then he's an anarchist, because there's LITERALLY no other choice.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I bet he lives in New York, so FUCK HIM ALONG WITH THE OTHER NEW YORKERS, THAT COLLECTIVIST FUCK!

    /other thread rest

  • ||

    That's the joke.

  • SugarFree||

    That's the joke.

    Typical glib response.

  • ||

    Isn't being a member of the Legion of Glib a capital crime? Do I get a last meal?

  • SugarFree||

    Yes. All the deep dish pizza you can eat. As long as it isn't from a food truck.

  • ||

    A joke? No...ProL is the joke.

    As for odds:

    "The Vegas odds tonight stand at an unprecedented 1000 to 0. A bet of zero dollars on Bender pays 1000 dollars if he wins. Still, very few takers."

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've I'm a joke, you're a pun.

  • Pro Libertate||

    FUCK. IF!

  • SugarFree||

    It's a bit odd too, but so many people are willing take your statement in the Manichean sense it's getting a little tiring.

    Fuck Romney and Fuck Obama.

  • R C Dean||

    Yes, a vote for TEAM BE RULED is . . . a vote for TEAM BE RULED.

  • ||

    TEAM BEND OVER AND TAKE IT?

  • Pro Libertate||

    BE RULED is an anagram of RED and BLUE. BEND OVER AND TAKE IT is an anagram of A BANKNOTE DIVERTED. Not sure I get that one. ABATE INVENTED DORK is better, but not much more meaningful.

    But there's INTEND BAD TAKEOVER, which is right on point.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Insidious, those Republicans, huh? Running everything while out of power.

  • ||

    Romney's in the same basic class as Obama -- political gamers. If there's enough support for it, he'll fuck the porn executive just as long and just as hard as Barack I.

  • Paul.||

    Two years ago, Stagliano was sitting in a Washington, D.C., courtroom, charged with seven counts of distributing obscenity.

    ...he said without any sense of Irony.

    So, I take it that the point of this post is that Romney will be even worse than Obama on porn prosecutions?

    I guess I can buy that.

    I guess Stagliano believes that he won't be sitting in a court room two years from now...under a 2nd Obama term?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Hopefully not, if the prohibition on double jeopardy still applies.

  • Paul.||

    If he's still in the industry, producing new stuff, he can receive new charges.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Hopefully - but, yeah, new charges maybe.

    THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET THE LIBERTARIANS LOOSE - PORNS AND TEH GAIZ MARRYING@!@@@

  • Pena||

    Perros y gatos viviendo juntos!

  • SugarFree||

    He probably has dozens of other movies to prosecute him over. Given the vague "community standard" definition of obscenity, they could also venue shop more effectively as well.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Given that Romney's platform specifically states Romney's DOJ would go after the guy's business, I can't blame him for being a bit worried about repeating his courtroom experience.

  • SugarFree||

    Once the condom laws spread, the point will be moot. We are going to outsource the entire industry to Eastern Europe and Asia. most of it's there already.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Me ruv you rong time.

  • Moogle||

    Eeeew... Scooby Doo porn. :-(

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    ruh roh

  • Moogle||

    Throw Velma in the mix and you know where Scrappy Do came from.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Jinkys!

  • R C Dean||

    I refuse to Google "Scooby Doo porn".

    At work, anyway.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Zoinks! Like, let's scram, Scoob!

  • SugarFree||

    You guys realize that Fred's neckerchief and Daphne's scarf were coded shout-outs to the autoerotic asphyxiation underground, right? They were gaspers. And the dog watched.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, you'd be right,. Mostly safe for work. Mostly.

  • ||

    Condoms suck. Fuck them.

  • SugarFree||

    I see what you did there.

  • Moogle||

    Eastern Europe produces some of the best hardcore bondage porn on the planet.

  • R C Dean||

    That sort of statement traditionally comes with a link to a scuzzy, virus-laden website, Moogle.

    And an LOL!

  • ||

    Russian and Polish stuff in that category's often pretty great.

  • ||

    aka "documentaries"

  • R C Dean||

    And when an apparatchik activist like the head of Morality in Media says a candidate will do X, that's more in the nature of trying to advance his/her/its agenda than a reliable guide of anything.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm perfectly willing to believe Romney is just terrible on this issue. But as between Romney and Obama, this is down in the decimal dust.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Where's my "Immoral Minority" buttong from college....

  • SugarFree||

    Warty lost his buttongs and has been looking for a new pair. He found some knitted ones on Esty, but who wants knitted buttongs? Yuck.

  • ||

    There's just no substitute for fresh, all-natural lamb buttongs, dude.

  • ||

    Buttongs are useful for getting at those hard to reach hemorrhoids.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Episiarch has stumbled upon the real use for the Buttongs.

    I'm off to typing class, boys! See ya!

  • SugarFree||

    It does raise the question... are the tongs for your butt, or tongs made out of butts? Of course, they can be both...

  • ||

    Denny: That’s a nice suit. Is that suit made outta human butts?
    Dan Halen: Of course it is. Are we done here?

  • Pena||

    If you ask me, this guy wants a knitted buttong:

    http://www.boredpandashop.com/.....rd-hat.jpg

  • Translucent Chum||

    So dumb. I know they throw this out as red meat for the socons, but couldn't he say, "I find porn in all form reprehensible, but it's not the government's business whats' on your computer. We will vigorously enforce the prohibition against kiddie porn, rape, and Warty (but I repeat myself)."

  • SugarFree||

    The anti-porn types aren't libertarians. They want government action on the matter. If he said something like they, all they'd hear is "I love porn and I want it shown to toddlers on PBS."

  • Translucent Chum||

    It blows. The only time I feel sorry for a politician is that they are never able to hold a personal belief that someone will insist they will enforce as policy.

  • sarcasmic||

    What's the point in having personal beliefs if you can't punish people for not sharing them?

  • John||

    Yup. Anyone who is dumb enough to think the government is going to keep their kids from seeing porn, is not someone you can reason with.

  • ||

    Dean's point stands, whatever Romney wants to do -- that the porn industry should be fearing both candidates.

  • Moogle||

    They think they can stop Rule 34 On The Internet?

    You might as well try and stop the tide.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    The tide goes in, the tide goes out - never a miscommunication. You can't explain that.

    /O'dumbaas

  • $park¥||

    Shouldn't you still be in typing class?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    clerly

  • ||

    Well, he didn't mistype anything, so...maybe? Typing class has internet, right?

  • John||

    Full on stupid. Do these people not understand that the internet is often referred to as something called the WORLD WIDE WEB? At most they will just move everything off shore. But they will get to ruin a few people's lives. So there is that.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    They managed to stop on line poker (I still don't understand how they did this)

  • John||

    They managed to because there were only a comparatively few websites that did it. There are millions of porn sites. And of course people make their own porn and put it up on the web. There is no way to stop that.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    And of course people make their own porn and put it up on the web. There is no way to stop that.

    Yes, there is. The laws are on the books to destroy people's lives over this exact activity. You are naive. The web is not nearly as WIDE as you make it out to be.

  • John||

    Sure the laws are there. But they are impossible to enforce.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Look at pot. It's everywhere. It is ubiquitous at this point. It is practically impossible to enforce pot laws in such a fashion that this bureaucratic activity changes the social outcome of pot use. However, thousands of people are also getting their lives fucked up over minor pot-related offenses every day.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    They managed to stop on line poker (I still don't understand how they did this)

    IIRC, they went after the banks that moved the money.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    EY TUK RRRR JERRRBS!!

  • Homple||

    When the economy is in the tank, government financial catastrophe looms, and the Middle East is in another ugly phase, we're supposed to worry about theoretical curbs on pornography?

    Do you really expect a shortage of wank fodder?

  • $park¥||

    Don't you idiots at reason understand that it's alright to stomp all over the lesser rights when there are more important things going on?

  • ||

    You know given that the economy is the most important thing, you should really vote for Romney.

  • Homple||

    Do you really think that porn is being suppressed now, or will be after the election - irrespective of who is elected?

    Seriously.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    We should occupy Sandra Fluke's vagina in protest.

    OSFV!

    Hmm, if only there was a 3rd party Leave Me The Fuck Alone Party I could vote for....

  • KDN||

    We should occupy Sandra Fluke's vagina

    You first. I swear, I'm right behind you on that one.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Obama is blatantly hostile to capitalism. He nationalized two-thirds of the American auto industry. He nationalized AIG. Obama proudly denigrated entrepreneurs, saying we didn't build our own businesses. Obama is openly disdainful of everything I've worked for my whole life.

    I keep trying to care about other issues.

    If Romney somehow wins, I'll jump on his case for being an anti-pornography crusader the first day he takes office--promise!

    But until then? Obama has made this election about how evil Romney is for having been a capitalist. Is there a better way to rebuke Obama for being so hostile to capitalism--better than voting for Romney?

    Aren't pornographers entrepreneurs too?

  • John||

    And old school feminists hate pornography just as much as the SOCONS.

  • GILMORE||

    Aren't pornographers entrepreneurs too?

    More than that, they are Great Americans and deserve to be celebrated for the benefits they provide society.

    Because no one ever busted a nut to Lars Von Trier.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just speaking speculatively, not from experience, I suspect more than a few people have...um...to Dogville. Actually, when I saw it in the theater, half the people got up and walked out. Parts get so tedious, and Kidman being chained up like that, I bet it kinda scratches that same bondage itch for a lotta people like Christina Ricci did in Black Snake Moan?

    Oh, and Von Trier's next film is titled The Nymphomaniac. It's described as a "pornographic drama". Although knowing Lars Von Trier, he'll make the sex as unappealing as possible. Still, there's gotta be something in there somewhere that'll float somebody's boat.

  • GILMORE||

    Aw...fuck

    I only ever saw his depressing movies.

    (that I suspect is a joke on the order of "I loved that black actor in Menace2Society")

    I thought christina ricci was really hot.... in Mermaids...

    (that is a joke on the order of 'no, its really not funny, you are a sick person')

    Maybe I should have said Tarkovsky. I can say with confidence no one has ever busted a nut to anything he did, or if they did, they are a sick and twisted and awful person and need help.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Won't Romney's policies merely improve the profitability of porn?

  • $park¥||

    You're crazy if you think prohibiting something would cause some kind of "black market" to spring up to provide it. Some kind of shady underworld where immoral people take part in something the government has expressly forbidden. If you think something like that would happen, you're clearly off your rocker.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Won't Romney's policies merely improve the profitability of porn?

    SUPLIE CERV!

    What's wrong with improving profits?

    Honestly, if Romney goes after pr0n, won't it be pretty useless? It's being hosted on servers all over the world. What's he gonna do?

    He might go after people making stuff that's outside of what's considered conventional pr0n these days, but I guess I don't see that as having much of an immediate impact on my life.

    Another four years of Obama's hostility to capitalism on the other hand? It may take us generations to recover from that. Obama is like FDR and the New Deal. Obama is like Johnson and his major initiatives--Medicaid and Social Security...

    We've had wars on pr0n before. What were the long term effects on society?

    Basically, zilch!

    What were the long term effects of Medicaid and Social Security?

    I don't know if we're ever gonna get rid of Medicaid and Social Security.

    If I have to choose between a Romney War on Pr0n or another four years of Obama's War on Capitalism? I'm votin' for the Mormon.

  • ||

    with Stagliano about the Feds failed attempt to prosecute him

    There was no failure to prosecute him-- they prosecuted the crap out of him. What they failed at was obtaining a conviction.

  • Walsh||

    Forget about it, prolefeed, it's Dohertytown.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    So Bain's offshoring teh pron to India and China.

    NICE WORK, ROMNIAC 2000!

  • John||

    If they can get a few Bollywood babes doing porn, that sounds like one hell of a reason to vote for Romney.

  • $park¥||

    I don't think there needs to be any more bush league women in porn.

  • John||

    Screw that. There is nothing wrong with bush league. To hell with the bald eagle.

  • ||

    I have noticed it's hard (haha) to find a goodly amount of decent Indian and Arabic porn*. And a lot of those chicks are stunning.

    *as compared to say, the Philippines, China, Vietnam, etc.

  • GILMORE||

    Gojira| 9.13.12 @ 4:10PM |#

    I have noticed it's hard... to find ...decent... Arabic porn*.

    In related news, why is it so hard to find a decent Steakhouse in India? And I spent a week looking for an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter in Moskow, but everyone just looked at me funny.

  • GILMORE||

    "You can have my porn when you pry it from my warm, sticky hands"
    - Pee Wee Herman

  • GILMORE||

    I am optimistic and assume that Teh Evil Pron is actually a Mitt Romney stalking-horse kind of thing to make himself seem more socialCon than he really is, and that, much like Obama and his passion for Closing Gitmo and ending Extrraordinary Rendition and unchecked executive authority.... as soon as he gets in office he'll conveniently drop the topic and pretend its 'not a priority'.

    If not, I propose nominating myself the presidential candidate for 2016 running on a platform of GUARANTEEING every American's natural right for Porn, Beer, Poker and Weed: the things without which life would be so goddawful boring we'd convert to Islam just for the *kicks*

  • Frank Turk||

    Well, there's a pretty significant difference between saying, "In 2007, Romney swore that if he were elected president, he would put a porn filter on every computer," and what Romney actually said in 2007: "I will work to make sure that every computer sold into the home has an easy to engage pornography filter so that every parent can protect their child from unwanted filth."

    Making sure there's filter software installed which can be "easily engaged" is not the same thing as banning porn or going on a jihad against pornographers. It's probably not a violation of the 1st amendment, either. Apple computers have had the ability to create strictly-blocked accounts limited to only approved sites for the users for more than a decade -- and somehow, free speech has survived.

    Romney's not a libertarian by any means -- he never will be. But for him to say he will enforce the laws already on the books is, frankly, a big step forward from the idiotic choices of enforcement of the current administration.

  • GILMORE||

    "As candidate for the Porn, Beer, Poker and Weed Party, I will work to make sure the Romney Porn Filter is not an 'on-off switch', but a "Level" Knob, with which one can dial your porn spectrum from "Reruns of The Waltons" to "2 Girls One Cup meet Gay Gangbang Dildo Dungeon". Choice is what makes America great. Thank you, lets all have a beer."

    actually, if there was a "no fatties" switch on my computer, that would be awesome.

  • Paul.||

    Making sure there's filter software installed which can be "easily engaged" is not the same thing as banning porn or going on a jihad against pornographers. It's probably not a violation of the 1st amendment, either.

    No, it is a violation of the enumerated powers detailed within the constitution.

  • ||

    back in the day, you would read a lot of comments about the BAN on fetal stem cell research, similarly. there was no ban, just a ban on federal funding of same

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