WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — A lively XBIZ 2017 panel comprising several adult entertainment execs, a payment processing exec, an industry attorney and a film critic discussed the market and regulatory consequences of producing and distributing porn.
“Taboo by Context: Mainstream Sex and Violence, Adult Entertainment and the Social Consequences of Selective Production Standards” was presented Wednesday by Sssh.com for its Mindbrowse series. The symposium at the Andaz hotel in West Hollywood was broadcast on Periscope and is available here.
Moderated by sociologist and author Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, panelists for “Taboo by Context” included Penthouse’s Kelly Holland, Severe Sex Films’ Dee Severe, Mobius Payments’ Mia Zhu, industry attorney Karen Tynan and Crave Magazine film critic William Bibbiani.
The entire adult entertainment production chain — from distribution to payment processing to traffic — is affected on a selective basis by private and public regulation, as well as the viewing public.
“At the end of the day, nothing is black and white. Everything is within context,” Holland said. “If [the scene] has a strong storyline, you can get away with a lot more than if it was a gonzo scene.”
Control of adult productions is often “hidden” or “not scene,” Tibbals noted. Oftentimes payment processors get heat from Visa and Mastercard and put the brakes on certain types of sexually depictions, she said.
Zhu said: “The card associations have actual published rules. When it comes to the sexual activity, they limit 'offensive sexual activity' — self-mutilation, blood ... anything that leaves marks. There are things that just don’t fly.”
The repercussions for site including prohibited material can include fines in the thousands of dollars from the credit card associations, she said.
“Visa and Mastercard take referrals from government agencies, competitors and, believe it or not, just people from all over the world” to eliminate "offensive" material.
Could the incoming Trump administration put the brakes on porn, completely? Holland said “yes.”
“Do you know how simple it would be for [Trump attorney general pick] Jeff Sessions and company to go to Visa and Mastercard and ask them to move the line from here to here. And every [adult] internet company could go out of business.
“It’s not going to be the First Amendment, it’s not going to be lawsuits,” Holland said. “It is not going to be any of that. It will be about the bureaucratizing of adult. There is a cause for alarm, and I think that’s how they’ll go after us.”
Tynan agreed. “I think that view is correct from a legal perspective,” she said. “We saw it with Cal/OSHA. They didn’t try to shut down pornographers based on obscenity. It was, ‘where’s your fire extinguisher, where’s your gloves.’ It is very technical.”
The adult industry oftentimes gets demonized and shamed, Severe said. “You should look at the comments section in the LA Weekly or the Los Angeles Times when there is any story about porn. The comments are horrifying,” she said.
“It is the shame of pleasure," Holland remarked.
Tibbles, in closing, said: “It is greatly tragic and greatly ironic to think about the thing that is so ultimate and so awesome — sexual pleasure — that we are so ashamed of and torn over.”
XBIZ 2017, sponsored by Camgasm, includes numerous events as well as seminars, which are sponsored by NETbilling.