Gareth May | Contributing Writer | Friday, 30 September 2016

Which US President Candidate Will Be The Best For The Porn Industry?

Which US President Candidate Will Be The Best For The Porn Industry?

The Debrief: No, they won't actually be *in* a porno.

When America goes to the polls on November 8 it’s on like Donkey Kong (I’ll leave you to decide who’s playing the knuckle dragging ape). Trump vs. Clinton. Who’d have thunk it? 

As the average voter chalks down their X, it’s fair to say though that unless they’re gearing up for a post-ballot bunk up, sex probably isn’t at the forefront of their the mind. That is, at least, for most Americans. For those that make a living from a spot of how’s your father the US Election could herald an age of great change. 

You only have to look at the strain put on the UK porn industry since the Conservatives took power to see how profound the impact can be when a new government – with new ideas – takes office.  

Could the same happen Stateside?

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, sociologist and author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment published an academic paper on the role US politics has played in shaping the US adult industry back in 2013 (you can read the paper, When Law Moves Quicker Than Culture: Key Jurisprudential Regulations Shaping the US Adult Content Production Industry here).

Dr Tibbals says Republican President Ronald Reagan was 'undoubtedly the worst President for porn that the US has seen.' 

Reagan held office from 1981-1989 and in 1984 he announced his intention to study the effects of pornography on society. Dr Tibbals says there’s speculation however that Reagan’s true intent was to overturn the findings of the 1970’s Presidential Commission on Pornography, which found 'no link between sexually explicit material and criminal or violent behaviour.' 

An eleven-member pornography information task force was set up in 1985. It was known as The Meese Commission and, Dr Tibbals says, it relied heavily on personal accounts and experiences (including second-hand accounts of Traci Lords scandal and testimony from Linda Lovelace) that 'while undoubtedly sad and unfortunate, had more to do with interpersonal relationships than with adult entertainment as a nefarious, corrupting entity.'

'In the end,' she explains. 'The entire fiasco resulted in no concrete findings, just a lot of noise, attention, and money/time spent.'

On the other side of the naughty coin, Angie Rowntree, founder of one of the first ever porn sites for women Sssh.com, says that Democratic President Bill Clinton was the most positive president for the adult industry. Even if his impact was in no way because he 'supported' porn.

'The main thing Clinton did to benefit the industry was more a question of inaction; he didn’t initiate any new obscenity prosecutions against producers of adult content, which gave entrepreneurs coming into the internet sector of the adult industry some confidence they weren’t investing in something which was just going to get them in hot water with the federal government,' she explains.

It’s a similar story with President Obama. Adult performer Tasha Reign says that although he hasn’t passed any policies or done any work that specifically correlates with the adult industry his liberal outlook has helped the industry by default. 'He is very pro women and although he hasn't passed any policies, I believe if you are pro women then you in a way involved positively with me,' she says.

So what about the candidates of 2016. What could each candidate’s presidency mean for the biz?

Dr Tibbals says that today the biggest threat for porn from a federal level in the US – as it is here in the UK – is what she calls 'ideas about obscenity.' However, in today’s interconnected, Internet-based world, she argues, due to the parameters of the Miller Test (the test conducted by the United States Supreme Court for determining whether speech or expression can be labeled obscene that’s stood since the 1970s) it’s pretty much impossible Stateside to label anything produced by the adult industry as ‘obscene’.

Even so, Donald Trump has signed an anti-porn pledge by the group Enough is Enough

Rowntree, however, is sceptical. 'George W. Bush made similar assurances to the Christian Right before he took office, and there really wasn’t much follow through on his promise,' she says. 

Hillary Clinton didn’t sign the pledge. She did however send Enough is Enough a letter saying they have her commitment to protect young people from the 'threat of pornography.'

Regardless, Reign – who famously posed with Bill Clinton back in 2012 – will be voting for Clinton. 'Donald Trump has openly stated he would like to ban pornography, as in make it illegal, so any person running against him that does not have that same opinion is clearly a better choice. I don't want to become a full-blown criminal in the US, you know? Hillary on the other hand is a woman, she will automatically benefit feminism, and basically in turn porn indirectly. I voted for her in the primaries.'

On a presidential level then both Trump and Clinton aren’t too fussed about pornography beyond the usual political jockeying to get into the White House. 

In fact, most of the recent US policies that have directly affected the adult industry have come at state level, not from a federal program or Presidential policy. The latest of these is Prop 60, the on-going effort to strengthen and enforce the laws mandating condom use in porn. Something, Rowntree points is, that’s being driven by lobbying and legislation in California alone.

As well as going to the polls to decide on Trump vs. Clinton, Californians will have to decide on Prop 60 in a statewide ballot and Dr Tibbals says this is 'far more pressing than the US Presidential election' as it’s a law that 'will have an extremely deleterious impact on every aspect of porn in the US' and globally. 

'Prop 60 violates performers’ rights in multiple ways, including allowing access to performers’ personal information via consumer-driven lawsuits,' she says. 'I strongly advise California residents to take a serious look at this law, read up on information coming directly from performer activism, and vote No on Prop 60 in November.'

John Stagliano, owner and founder of Evil Angel Productions, also agrees that Prop 60 is the real threat facing the US adult industry telling me that were it successful it would 'effectively kill the porn biz in California.' 

As for the election, come November, Stagliano will be voting for the Libertarian Party, 'the only political party that supports in principle our first amendment right to express ourselves pornographically' – and one which he’s supported since 1972 when he invited John Hospers, the first Libertarian Party candidate for president, to the UCLA campus whilst he was a student there.

'A vote for Gary Johnson [the party’s 2016 presidential candidate] is a vote for freedom,' he says. 'A vote for either Trump or Clinton is a vote for the past, and a miserable present. The Libertarian party is the future in the US.'

Liked this? Then you might also be interested in:

Can Porn Ever Be Ethical? 

5 Things That Will Happen In Porn In 2016 

Meet The Women Who Watch Hardcore Porn

Follow Gareth on Twitter @garethmay

 

Tags: Politics, Porn