Nina Hartley Profiled in Capitol Weekly

Tom Hymes
SACRAMENTO — Monday, during a hectic day of lobbying state legislators and their staffs as part of the Free Speech Coalition's annual Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days event, the legendary performer and social activist Nina Hartley made time to sit down with Malcolm Maclachlan of the Capitol Weekly for a personal profile of the star.

The interview, which was posted to the newspaper's website yesterday, covers Hartley's interest in social activism, including some rare insights into her father, who, before being blacklisted in the 1950's, ran a popular radio show called 'This is San Francisco,' and also addresses the current role of women in the industry as well as the mainstreaming of adult content.

Hartley's father's stage name was Jim Grady, and according to the performer, at one point "he went to a [communist] meeting, not undercover but quietly, and it turned out it had been infiltrated. Someone called him out by name, and that’s all they needed."

Shortly thereafter, he was served at the radio station during work, and as a result lost his job.

"In the end," she said, "he was vindicated, but... he was never fully employed after that. He’d get a job, and then in a couple of weeks a couple guys with suits would come by and tell him to come see the boss and my father would be unemployed again. That obviously did have an effect on the family."

It also had an effect on Hartley herself, who went on to become far more than just one of the most popular adult entertainers of all time. She has, in fact, established herself as an effective and singular spokesperson for an empowering feminist ideology that fully embraces a woman's right to choose her own path in life, even if it leads to adult entertainment.

"If a woman at 18 is able to vote, become married, become a mother, to have an abortion," she told Maclachlan, "then she is legally able to consent to make adult entertainment. Some people argue that women don’t have true consent because our system is so oppressive, etc. I don’t care to be infantilized in that way."

Regarding her own political aspirations, Hartley was less than enthusiastic. "People have often said, 'Nina, you should run for office.' I don’t have that level of pluck in me. But it’s very important to be involved in this civic lobbying."