Speculation Grows for Adult Industry Bailout Request

LOS ANGELES — After Larry Flynt and Joe Francis issued a press release stating their intention to appeal to Congress for an adult industry financial bailout of $5 billion on Wednesday, the announcement was interpreted by the media as everything from a cynical publicity stunt to a protest against government waste.

Flynt and Francis said they and other industry professionals “deserve the same consideration” as the Big Three automakers and banks that have received a federal bailout in light of the “national cold shower” that is the recession.

Some sources, including Suzann Knuzsen, a spokeswoman for adult video distributor AEBN, not only take the request seriously, but also support it, saying the adult entertainment industry is “facing many of the same economic challenges as U.S. automakers and financial institutions,” according to the Charlotte Observer.

Others have criticized the request on the grounds that the adult entertainment industry is not in economic distress despite the claim by Flynt and Francis that DVD sales and rentals are down 22 percent from last year.

“The porn industry generated $12 billion in 2007, and it is not showing any real signs of slowing down,” Fox5Vegas reported. “In fact, some filmmakers at the crowded Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas said they enjoyed record business in the last few months.”

Some filmmakers enjoying such success are Nicholas Steele of Bluebird America and Dan O’Connell of Girlfriends Films, according to Fox5Vegas.

Many other media outlets have interpreted the bailout request as a joke.

“While the TMZ videos make it seem like Francis and Flynt want to use the USA like an ATM, I have a feeling that this is all a little tongue-in-cheek,” wrote Tom Miller in a Your Tango article. “Even if this isn’t verbal masturbation, do they really think they’re going to get a slice of that pie?”

Others, such as Sylvia Cochran for Associated Content, report that the request may be a joke not only at the expense of the Big Three automakers and the banks, but also at the current financial situation as a whole.

“Those who realize that asking the fox to undertake the henhouse protection duty is just as nonsensical as trusting government spendthrift politicians to get America out of the mess they got it into in the first place see a bit of humor in the porn industry bailout gag,” Cochran wrote.

Still other sources have simply left the question open and issued articles and statements speculating the true motive behind the request. In her article for Associated Content, Cochran speculates as to whether Flynt is a “smut peddler, visionary, government waste protestor or dirty old man with an eye on notoriety.”

Owen Moogan, LFP press relations representative, hinted that the request, whether serious or not, might be a political statement.

“It really is [Francis and Flynt] casting a critical eye on the way in which Congress has dealt with taxpayer money,” Moogan told XBIZ, “and with the bailout of the Big Three automakers and the banks, the point [is], ‘Why not us?’ No one can tell you where this money is going or how it’s being trafficked. That’s $7 million handed out of our money, and they can’t answer for it.”

Moogan added, “Joe says he is planning to go to D.C.,” but that no further details on the progress of his petition or the date of his visit had been released.