Adult Industry Again Shut Out of Congressional Hearings

Adult Industry Again Shut Out of Congressional Hearings
Matt O'Conner
WASHINGTON — For the third time this year, federal legislators held a hearing on the adult entertainment industry without inviting or allowing a single representative from the industry.

“This is the third time we’ve been frozen out,” Adult Freedom Foundation spokesperson John Pauly told XBiz of the Nov. 10 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.

“We’ve sent letters, made phone calls, followed up with emails,” Pauly said. “The first time we were frozen out, they said it was too late because they had already posted the witness list. Then, at one point, Congress postponed the hearing, and we wrote another note saying what a golden opportunity it would be to let us have our say. But they came up with another excuse.”

All three hearings have been chaired by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a vocal critic of the adult industry.

Free Speech Coalition Communications Director Tom Hymes said the FSC has been similarly not been allowed to provide an expert witness at previous hearings. The FSC has, however, submitted written testimony countering claims by anti-adult witnesses invited to speak at the hearings.

Witnesses at the Nov. 10 hearing, titled “Why the Government Should Care About Pornography: The State Interest in Protecting Children and Families,” include:

  • Jill Manning, a Utah-based marriage and family therapist and doctoral student at Mormon-operated Brigham Young University;
  • Pamela Paul, author of “Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families”;
  • Richard R. Whidden Jr., executive director and senior counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families in Fairfax, Va.
  • Pauly pointed out that every witness on that list is hostile to the adult industry and that their testimony, like the testimony at the two previous hearings, presents a biased and one-sided view of the issues being discussed.

    For example, Manning has called for government regulation of adult websites.

    “Research [has shown] that sexually explicit material on the Internet is very intrusive,” she said. “So even the families that are diligent about protecting themselves need some help. This cannot be done just by individuals choosing not to be exposed. It's too intrusive.”

    Other witnesses at past hearings have presented questionable data trying to link pornography with sex crimes and pedophilia and have claimed that adult entertainment destroys families and is as addictive as heroine and crack cocaine.

    However, Pauly added that there is a ray of hope on the horizon. He said the AFF has been in communication with committee co-chair Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., and he is confident that Feingold will seriously consider including a representative from the AFF as a witness at future hearings.

    Prepared testimony from witnesses at the Nov. 10 hearing is available at Judiciary.Senate.gov.