FC: PBS will air special "American Porn" show on Feb. 7

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 00:36:07 PST

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    [Press release follows. --Declan]
    PBS Airdate: Thursday, February 7, 9 P.M., 60 minutes
    It's one of the hottest industries in America.
    Easier to order at home than a pizza, bigger than rock music, it's
    the most profitable enterprise in cyberspace.  AT&T is in the
    Yahoo! has profited from it.  Westin and Marriott make more money
    selling it
    than they do snacks and drinks in their mini-bars.  And with estimates
    high as $10 billion a year, it boasts the kind of earnings every
    business envies.
    	It's pornography-and with adult movies, magazines, retail stores, and
    growth of the Internet-business is booming.  But the leaders of the
    industry are worried.  They see the election of George W. Bush and his
    appointment of John Ashscroft as a signal that there may be renewed
    in mounting obscenity prosecutions.
    On Thursday, February 7, at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings),
    reports on the forces behind the recent explosion of sexually explicit
    material available in American society and investigates the pending
    political battle that may soon engulf the multibillion dollar
    industry.  The report contains explicit images and explicit sexual
    PBS will air strong viewer advisories throughout the broadcast.
    	"Once the rules were clear: if pornography offended the community
    of decency, it was obscene.  But the digital age and a political
    changed all that," says FRONTLINE producer/director Michael Kirk.  "In
    wired world who can say what offends a community?  That's the question
    to be asked of juries all over the country.  On their answer rides
    of dollars and the fate of American porn."
    In "American Porn," FRONTLINE goes inside some of the most successful
    pornography businesses-Larry Flynt's Hustler organization and popular
    Internet site Danni's Hard Drive-to see how their profits have
    exploded in
    the past few years.  According to Flynt, Hustler's enterprise-a
    of movies, strip clubs, sex shops, and the Internet-is worth $400
    Danni Ashe, a former exotic dancer turned dot-com millionaire and CEO,
    FRONTLINE she earned $8 million last year alone.
    While most Americans decry the avalanche of sexually explicit
    material, the
    profits speak for themselves.  Large numbers of Americans are finding
    something they like in the adult entertainment arena.  Both Flynt and
    credit the 1990s explosion of adult material to the ease of viewing
    ordering from the Internet.  Equally important, they say, was the
    administration's laid-back attitude toward pornography.
    "I think the adult entertainment business has experienced a lot of
    in the last eight years," Ashe says.
    Pornography producer Mark Cromer agrees.  "When Clinton came in," he
    "it was definitely blue skies and green lights."
    	So much so, some former Justice Department officials say, that
    America felt it was safe to enter the profitable porn market.
    	"Companies like AT&T bought up a cable company, signed contracts with
    Hot Network, which is a hard-core pornographic site," Patrick Trueman
    FRONTLINE.  The former head of the Justice Department's obscenity
    section in
    the Reagan and Bush administrations, Trueman now represents the
    Family Association, a non-profit organization promoting traditional
    "Other mainstream companies thought that 'We can do this, too,'" he
    "And why not?  There's a big market and no penalty."
    	Former Justice Department attorney Bruce Taylor concurs.  "If there
    been continued federal prosecutions [for obscenity], you wouldn't see
    Internet presence of the porn syndicate as big as it is today," says
    who maintains he has prosecuted more obscenity cases than anyone in
    history.  "The combination of the industry's willingness to go on the
    Web in
    a big way and the prosecutors not indicting them for it allowed it to
    explode beyond anybody's imagination."
    Former Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno tells FRONTLINE that
    prosecutions simply weren't high on her priority list.  "I suppose
    could decide to use all their resources for obscenity prosecutions,"
    Reno.  "It seems to me clearly that national security and human life
    free of
    violence are two very important priorities."
    But times are changing.  Clinton is out, Bush is in, and porn moguls
    nervous.  What's more, these former Justice Department prosecutors are
    encouraging the Bush administration to launch a new attack on the porn
    industry-including its silent, white-collar corporate distributors.
    In an
    attempt to head off an anti-porn government crackdown, the top adult
    entertainment executives have created a list of twenty-one pornography
    no-no's.  Dubbed the "Cambria List" after its drafter, First Amendment
    attorney and legendary pornographer defense counsel Paul Cambria, the
    warns porn producers against showing such acts as bestiality,
    urination, and
    facial ejaculation.
    Some in the industry, like producer Rob Black of Extreme Associates,
    they will continue to test the limits, despite the Cambria List.
    known for all the taboo stuff that everyone said you can't do, and we
    it," Black says.  Other pornography producers are concerned that the
    pioneers of the business are selling out in order to appear
    "It's a bunch of rich guys running scared," producer Mark Cromer tells
    FRONTLINE.  "It's a bunch of guys who were, maybe, rebels in the 1970s
    1980s and don't want to fight anymore.  They want to take their chips
    out of
    the bank and cash them in and go home and play golf."
    But big pornographers aren't the only ones concerned.  Some mainstream
    companies have become wary as well.  Yahoo!, for example, withdrew its
    to open a virtual sex shop following an anti-porn campaign waged by
    American Family Association.
    Whether the big distributors of pornography will also be affected is
    unknown.  Until now, companies like AT&T have argued they are like the
    office-delivering material people have ordered.  They claim they are
    a popular demand and see nothing illegal or wrong in what they are
    But the U.S. Supreme Court may soon arrive at new standards for
    that could challenge these assumptions.
    And in Los Angeles, city attorneys are about to bring the first
    case since 1993 before a jury.  "Somebody has to stand up for the
    I have to at least allow them to see this is what's going on," says
    LA city attorney Deborah Sanchez.  "Do you think that this is
    acceptable to
    your community?  And if a jury tells me 'yes,' then so be it.  If they
    me 'no,' then let's see where that really goes."
    Following the broadcast, access the "American Porn" Web site at
    www.pbs.org/frontline for more on this report, including:
    * A quiz highlighting the various standards of what is pornographic as
    defined by the porn industry, U.S. Supreme Court rulings, federal
    laws, and Hollywood;
    * A collection of the best writings, essays, and legal arguments for
    against pornography;
    * Articles on the economics of the adult entertainment business,
    technology's impact, and a look at the workers in the sex industry;
    * FRONTLINE's extended interviews, statistics, facts, and more.
    	"American Porn" is a FRONTLINE co-production with the Kirk
    Group.  The producer and director is Michael Kirk. The co-producer is
    Gilmore.  The correspondent is Peter J. Boyer.  The writers are
    Michael Kirk
    and Peter J. Boyer.
    	FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on
    	Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers.
    National sponsorship is provided by EarthLink(r) and NPR (r).
    	FRONTLINE is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
    	The executive producer for FRONTLINE is David Fanning.
    Press contacts:
    Erin Martin Kane [erin_martin_kaneat_private]		(617) 300-3500
    Chris Kelly [chris_kellyat_private]
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