Magazine article Reason

Obscenely Prosecuted

Magazine article Reason

Obscenely Prosecuted

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

John Stagliano has been in the pornography business for more than 20 years. His long career includes a starring role in the first Chippendales troupe, various parts in porn films, and eventually success as a producer and distributor of adult movies, including the popular Buttman series. Now the federal government is prosecuting him for obscenity based on two pictures, Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice, and a trailer on his website, evilangel.com.

Stagliano is not just a hard-core pornographer but a hard-core libertarian (and a donor to the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this magazine). Nick Gillespie, editor of reason online and reason.tv, spoke with Stagliano in April about his career and his upcoming trial. A longer version of the interview can be seen at reason.tv.

Q: Today you were arraigned by the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on charges of obscenity. What was your plea?

A: Not guilty.

Q: Obscenity isn't protected under the First Amendment. The relevant Supreme Court case is Miller v. California, which says the definition of obscenity depends on "community standards." Part of your defense will be to question the definition of obscenity established in that case.

A: Films like these are in the marketplace and have been for years. They're already in the community. But it's also true that DVD sales are going down rather rapidly right now, and people are consuming their pornography on the Internet. And the community standard of the Internet is very different.

When this Miller case came down in 1973, pornography, if it was going to be shown anywhere, was going to be shown in a theater. The theater was going to be in a public street where everybody could drive by the marquee and see that it's there, and their children could see that it's there. …

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