Election 2008: An Online Adult Industry Perspective
"Today's proof that anything is possible in America," said XBIZ President Alec Helmy, as he summed up much of the industry perspective on the day after the most significant election in recent American history.
"For adult, an Obama presidency is likely to be a very good thing," offered Stewart Tongue of WebmasterScore.com. "Not because Obama favors Internet porn, but because his eye is on much more important aspects of U.S. policy and as a result the adult industry is likely to be left alone for the next four years."
"Obama's victory was history in the making, and will do wonders to help restore the image the rest of the world has of America, the land where anything is possible — as Obama's own story so aptly demonstrates," said Password-By-Phone's Marc Jarrett, as he offered an international perspective on the election.
"ASACP is very excited about President-elect Barack Obama," ASACP's CEO Joan Irvine said.
And it is this sort of optimism that is driving adult operators at all levels and in all market segments to look forward to a more co-operative era, or at least a less-hostile one, between the industry and federal lawmakers.
"ASACP's advocacy group, The Raben Group, is positioned to be very well connected with the new administration and I am looking forward to visiting Washington on a regular basis in 2009 in order to let them know what the adult industry is doing to protect children online," Irvine said. "In addition we are expecting there to be a committee on online child protection and we are working towards being a part of that committee."
Of course, much industry concern centers around child protection and the steps that we take, such as support of ASACP and adoption of the Restricted to Adults website label, as well as the steps that the government takes, such as 2257 record-keeping inspections.
"The Justice Department does get its orders from the President, so pushing to enforce 2257 when there has been basically no real proof of children being used in adult entertainment, should put the focus on protecting children from predators," said Brandon Shalton, an industry long-timer and founder of T3Report.com.
"Many FBI agents have been pulled off of fighting against CP and onto Homeland Security matters: 2257 doesn't protect children. The dedicated work of FBI agents assigned to CP issues is what shuts down the pedophiles and websites that distribute the vile content," Shalton said. "Efforts such as ASACP on behalf of the adult industry should demonstrate to the President that the adult industry is against CP and is doing what it can to assist law enforcement with catching the bad guys."
2257 isn't the only problematic compliance issue facing the adult industry that a new administration might impact, however.
"Obscenity will still be a troubling issue for anyone in the food chain of adult content, and I don't see a democratic president as one that will stop or deter the enforcement of those obscenity issues," Shalton concluded.
But even some who may not have supported the candidate realize that it is time for the country, and the industry, to come together in support of the new president — and that political and economic realities might prevent a continued onslaught of our interests.
"With everything that is wrong with the country right now, I don't believe the presidency will have time to make any big changes in the way we do day-to-day business," Brett Gilliat of Playboy said. "Regardless of how it affects our business in the future, Obama is our new president, so I support him and hope he keeps his promises."
For others, practical issues set the stage for how they view the shifting balance of power.
"Barack Obama's position on Net neutrality and his voting record indicate that he will most likely be supportive on the issues that are important to us here in the adult industry," Vegas Ken of TheBestPorn said. "I am optimistic and look forward to seeing how the future progresses and changes under the new administration."
"It means I did not have to think about going into work today [and fear a government raid]," Stephen Bugbee of Matrix Content said. "I can just keep working on all the other things in adult, like tubes, cross-sales, business models, etc. and I do not have to worry as much about the presidency as I could have."
"With change comes opportunity," observed Jason Tucker of Falcon Foto. "The eight year devil wore a RED dress and his fire and fury will be extinguished with soothing BLUE waters."
"The President Elect understands the power of the Internet. Throughout the campaign he provided real time information and access to his thoughts and plans. This was the same vehicle that allowed him to collect a considerable amount of donations. Obama has already sent out a note that this direct contact will continue throughout his Presidency," Tucker told XBIZ. "I believe that this fresh approach to governing combined with the unraveling of the horrid decisions and executive orders of the past eight years will allow us to get back on track. It is my hope that once righted and since Hollywood was paramount to his success, Obama will tackle key issues that affect the entertainment business such as the poorly defined Digital Millennium Copyright Act and through the appointment of new Federal Judges."
"These efforts will enable our industry to remain free to conduct its business under the First Amendment that was written on the paper that seems to have been forgotten under the Bush Administration," Tucker added.
And for others still, a more pragmatic, wait-and-see attitude to what will really happen in an Obama administration is called for.
"I think the jury will be out on the question of how Obama's election will affect our industry until well after he has taken his oath of office," opined TopBucks' Q. Boyer.
"Will we see less emphasis on obscenity prosecution from the U.S. DOJ?" Boyer asked. "More than likely, we will, in part because money is thin, and the DOJ will need to focus its efforts and resources on higher priority areas,"
"Will Congress cease its attempts to pass legislation regulating the adult industry, including bills that could substantially constrain our ability to operate?" Boyer continued. "I sincerely doubt it. The adult industry remains a convenient punching bag for politicians, and if there's one thing congressmen love, it is the opportunity to exploit people's love for their children by passing legislation with names like 'The Child Online Protection Act' — regardless of whether that legislation offers any prospect for protecting children in any way."
Regardless of any personal political feelings that industry operators may have had before the election, or today, what is clear is that a new and vastly different American president has been elected; and with him, a democratic congressional majority that will steer the nation into unknown waters over the next four years.
The best we can hope for is to all work together to support our livelihoods and our country and to enjoy a more profitable and less legally challenging future.
For many in adult, an Obama presidency is a step in the right direction.