July 5, 2001

Playboy can’t resist the temptation to peddle hardcore adult pornography

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (5 July 2001) — According to a New York Post news report (3 July 2001), Playboy is purchasing three “hard-core TV networks to boost profits.” Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following comments:

“Playboy has for the most part stayed away from hardcore pornography — perhaps to avoid prosecution under obscenity laws. In a 1973 case, Miller v. California, the Supreme Court set forth a three-part obscenity test to ‘isolate “hard core” pornography from expression protected by the First Amendment.'”During the 1980s, local cable operators were indicted under state obscenity laws for programming provided by Playboy. After leaving Playboy, Paul Klein (founder of the Playboy Channel in 1982) became a principal in a satellite TV company (HD0) which pled guilty to obscenity charges in 1990. In a case involving pay-per-view porn channels (U.S. v. Playboy), Supreme Court Justice Thomas indicated that some pay-per-view porn programming may be obscene.

“After eight years of Bill Clinton and almost no enforcement of federal obscenity laws, however, Playboy apparently now believes that with so much hardcore porn available, it must be accepted by the American people; and since obscenity laws require application of community standards, these laws are no longer enforceable.

“Widespread availability of hardcore pornography, however, is not the same thing as community approval or acceptance of it. Nor is failure to enforce obscenity laws. During the first five years of the Clinton presidency, federal obscenity prosecutions dropped 86%. But according to a national poll conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, 80% of adult Americans supported ‘vigorous enforcement’ of federal obscenity laws.

“Undoubtedly, there is a market for hardcore pornography. That should come as no surprise since pornography is addictive. It is also no secret that the sex drive is easily exploited. Just ask the advertising, TV, and Hollywood film industries.

“But there are also harms associated with the production and consumption of hardcore pornography. They include the spread of STDs (including AIDS), the breakup of marriages, the corruption of youth, sexual abuse of children, rape, and moral decline.

“In 1994, the Wall Street Journal (11 July 1994) reported on the growth of publicly held South Pointe, an ‘X-rated’ company headed by Ken Guarino, a reputed organized crime associate. The article noted that Spice and Playboy Cable were doing business with South Pointe.

“In January 1997, Ken Guarino and Salvatore Richichi entered guilty pleas to conspiring to defraud the United States. Had the case proceeded to trial, the government said in the Memorandum of Plea Agreement that it would have presented evidence, inter alia, that Richichi is a ‘capo in the Gambino crime family of the Costra Nostra’ and that Guarino made ‘tribute payments’ to Richichi for protection of his multi-million dollar pornography empire against extortion attempts by other factions of the LCN.

“According to documents filed with the SEC (Form 10-KSB/A for fiscal year ended 27 May 2000) by Metro Global Media (South Pointe was renamed Metro Global Media in 1996), Playboy (which now owns Spice) is still a customer. Those documents also show that the two largest holders of Metro’s common stock beneficially owned are Ken Guarino and a trust established for the benefit his family.”

 

MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national interfaith organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media.

Author: MIM   07/05/2001

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