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First Amendment Protects Cinema's Right to Show Unicorn Masturbation Scene While Serving Alcohol, Says Judge

A Deadpool screening yields an undercover op from Utah's Bureau of Investigation—and a smackdown in federal court for policing speech.

MARVEL ENTERPRISES / Album/NewscomMARVEL ENTERPRISES / Album/NewscomA Utah movie theater that dared to serve alcohol during a sexually explicit movie has won its legal battle against the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC).

"The State has violated the First Amendment by bringing an administrative enforcement action against a mainstream motion picture theater showing an R-rated movie," U.S. District Judge David Nuffer wrote for the court Thursday.

The case stems from a 10-day suspension of an alcoholic beverage license and/or a fine of $1,000 to $25,000 issued to a Salt Lake City cinema called Brewvies for screening the superhero movie Deadpool.

In April 2016, the DABC sent a letter to Brewvies informing the owners they had broken a Utah law against DABC-licensed venues "showing a depiction of an act or simulated act of sodomy, bestiality, or oral copulation and (2) a scene wherein a person displayed his or her genitals."

Any place or event regulated by alcoholic-beverage authorities in Utah is prohibited from allowing conduct "considered contrary to the public health, peace, safety, welfare, and morals," including "showing a film, still picture, electronic reproduction, or other visual reproduction" that depicts sex or simulated sex acts, a person displaying their genitals or butt, or "a person being touched, caressed, or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus, or genitals."

After receiving the letter about the R-rated Deadpool, Brewvies owners filed a lawsuit against Utah's alcohol-control agency and its leadership. "The film Deadpool is not obscene, and Defendants and the DABC have not claimed the film is obscene, under applicable constitutional standards," noted Brewvies in the complaint. Thus Brewvies's showing of the film Deadpool and the other "mainstream" movies are constitutionally protected speech, it argued.

Nuffer agreed. And since Deadpool is constitutionally protected speech, the state can only regulate it if it does so using minimally restrictive means in the service of a compelling government interest. In this case, Utah's DABC failed.

The law "is overinclusive because it captures mainstream content," writes Nuffer. And because it "is not the least restrictive means for effectuating the State's interest, it fails strict scrutiny. Brewvies is entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief."

To crack this important case, two Utah Bureau of Investigation agents had gone undercover at Brewvies, where they ordered Bud Lights and watched Deadpool. In a crime report, Officer Sean Cannon noted numerous violations of the public-morals clause, pointing out, "the main character in the film is shown on his back under bed sheets briefly engaged In masturbation or simulated masturbation using a stuffed unicorn toy."

Cannon included in his report:

In the final credits, a drawing of the main character (male) is shown "as he rides on the back of a unicorn, he rubs its horn briefly until the horn shoots outs rainbows (simulating orgasm)." The tail of the unicorn raises slowly as he rubs the horn simulating arousal until the horn shoots out the rainbows.

Cannon's review (the random capitalization and quotations suggests he might have been flustered) continued:

The main character (male) In the film is shown numerous times engaging in acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse with the female counterpart during a holiday themed sex-montage. They "are shown having sex while nude (we see the woman sitting on the man's groin In bed, rocking on his lap as he fondles her bare breasts and she gasps). He is then shown behind her while she's on her hands and knees" engaged in sexual intercourse or simulated sexual intercourse.

[...] During the holiday themed sex montage, it shows the main character (male) nude "on his hands and knees on a bed while a woman wearing a leather bikini (with an strap-on penis that isn't shown) has her groin area pressed against the man's posterior; the camera then cuts to his face, he Is sweating and grimacing as she says to relax before the scene ends. She bends down to him and says "Happy Women's Rights Day" during the sodomy or simulated sodomy scene.

This isn't the first time the department has targeted Brewvies. In 2011, the cinema was investigated for showing The Hangover Part II. At the time, Brewvies parent company, CinemaPub, agreed to pay a $1,500 fine pus $127 in administrative fees. In 2015, DABC said the cinema could not show the films Magic Mike and Ted 2.

Photo Credit: MARVEL ENTERPRISES / Album/Newscom

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  • chemjeff||

    Now I'm going to have to watch Deadpool.

  • paranoid android||

    Man, SLC cops are on a hot streak this week. So much for stereotypes about Mormon politeness.

    Why do we even let Utah remain in the union when they'd deny a man his God-given freedom to drink beer and look at titties at the same time?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    They have a lot of land the Feds want to steal?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Hey, the Feds won that land from Mexico fair and square.

  • Rogers1234||

    You mean stole

  • grichens||

    That's what he said.

  • Billy Bones||

    +1 Frank Zappa "Titties and Beer"

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Mormon controlled Utah had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century regarding alcohol and they still have a bunch, of what we call in the South, "Blue Laws". These puritans just do not think other people should indulge in behavior that they don't approve of and certainly not on Sunday.

  • BYODB||

    This is what happens when an entire state gets taken over by a cult.

  • Zeb||

    That cult pretty much founded the state, didn't they?

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, basically, after being kicked the fuck out of Illinois. The entire state's population is still well over 50% LDS, but I get your point in that Utah as a State was more or less founded by them in the first place.

    It would have become a state either way eventually after being purchased, but apparently only Mormon's wanted to live there and only because no one else wanted them around. As far as I'm concerned they can keep it, it's not a great place to be in general.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It has some pretty ski country and excellent snow.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    So do the surrounding states of CO, WY, and ID

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The first time I saw Salt Lake City I felt it looked like Denver is supposed to look.

    If people don't know what I mean by that statement, Denver, the 'mile high city in the rockies' is flatter than Kansas and positively uninteresting as it sits on the Great Plains.

    Salt Lake city is actually nestled within snow capped Mountains.

  • Microaggressor||

    This isn't about California.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    To crack this important case, two Utah Bureau of Investigation agents had gone undercover at Brewvies, where they ordered Bud Lights and watched Deadpool. In a crime report, Officer Sean Cannon noted numerous violations of the public-morals clause, pointing out, "the main character in the film is shown on his back under bed sheets briefly engaged In masturbation or simulated masturbation using a stuffed unicorn toy."

    This is a good reminder when I think about moving to Utah because it's beautiful and inexpensive.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Beautiful.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Too many earthquakes.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    What're tornadoes? Chopped liver?

  • EscherEnigma||

    "What're tornadoes? "
    Planned for.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    What a stupid world we live in.

  • Jujucat||

    Yes ^

  • Don't look at me.||

    What assholes.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Also, kudos on the headline.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I have nothing to say, but I had to say something.

  • SIV||

    We have a pretty good idea of what happened between 2005 and 2015.

    *raises hand*

    The Republicans forced the Democrats to do it !

  • SIV||

    Wrong thread. No cosmotarian gold star for me.

  • BYODB||

    Pfft, that comment applies to every thread.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Chicken syphilis is a hell of an affliction.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Brewvies for screening the superhero movie Deadpool.

    Change that theater name to "Brovies" and I'm there.

  • ||

    Change that theater name to "Brovies" and I'm there.

    I assume all of Utah's gay porn/alcohol theaters are conveniently located in Nevada.

    Brewives... Breeviews (NSFW?)... they really did kinda miss out on some angles with 'Brewvies'.

  • Longtobefree||

    Have I got this right?
    It was the Unicorn all along?
    All that stuff in the film is free speech, but saying "oh, by the way, I voted for Trump." is hate speech worthy of lynching?

  • Zeb||

    What?

  • Jujucat||

    Huh?

  • Brandybuck||

    Deadpool voted for Hillary, Utah went for Trump. That's all you ever need to know about this story...

  • flatdarkmars||

    The agents ordered Bud Lights. I think you lose qualified immunity for that.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Actually, I'm amazed that they're allowed to serve alcohol in movie theatres in Utah.

  • JeremyR||

    This is pretty stupid.

    It also says a lot about Millennials that their generation's superhero takes it up the rear from his girlfriend.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    It says a lot about your generation that you don't recognize when you're being trolled with deliberately absurd sex scenes.

    Not to mention he executes a captive woman via a .50 AE to the head later in the movie...

  • mysmartstuffs||

    Deadpool voted for Hillary, Utah went for Trump. That's all you ever need to know about this story...

    My recent post: Authority Overlay Review
    My recent post: VSL Templates Pro Review

  • mysmartstuffs||

    I'm a simple man, I see deadpool I press like :v
    My recent post: Digital Paper Review

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