It's a business that has become quietly entrenched in America's
corporate culture: pay-per-view pornography in hotel rooms. Most
large chains provide the service, along with standard-issue films.
The pay-per-view service has brought hotels millions of dollars a
year. But these days, the US hotel business is also attracting moral
outrage and vitriol - on a scale that pornography insiders say
amounts to one of the largest organized assaults on the skin
business in recent memory.
A consortium of 13 conservative groups has created
CleanHotels.com, a website that provides listings and reservation
services for US hotels where travelers can rest safe from taint or
temptation. The conservative groups have also run a series of full-
page ads in USA Today, urging authorities to prosecute hoteliers
under federal and local obscenity statutes.
Currently, the listings on CleanHotels.com number between 13,000
and 15,000 - mostly including small chains, with a notable one being
Omni Hotels. Many in the pornography industry contend the effort
won't have much effect on their business, but those on the other
side are equally adamant they can make a difference.
"We wanted to provide an alternative," says Phil Burress,
president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio-based "pro-
family" organization that is part of the consortium. "Not only were
we disgusted with the fact that major hotels that present themselves
as being family-friendly were offering hard-core pornography ... we
wanted to point out the fact that there are thousands and thousands
of hotels that do not offer in-room pornography."
The strategy, Mr. Burress says, is to expose hotels that offer
pay-per-view porn and let the market take care of the rest.
But such an approach might not be effective, says Paul Cambria,
general counsel for the Adult Freedom Foundation in Los Angeles.
"The hotels understand that that's just part of the package that
they offer their guests.... I don't think they will be intimidated."
He adds, "Most responsible prosecutors are realizing that this is a
waste of time and money to prosecute this."
While the financial extent of hotel porn is hard to estimate -
hotels keep statistics to themselves or don't keep them at all - the
adult pay-per-view and video-on-demand businesses, both in hotels
and private residences, will bring in an estimated $1.6 billion in
2006. In 1996, that number was $593 million, according to California-
based Kagan Research.
When it comes to accessing adult pay-per-view in hotel rooms, the
system has safety checks. Parents can block viewing by either
clicking a remote-control code or calling the front desk. …