Barnett, Dines Take Sides on CounterPunch

LONDON — Jerry Barnett, the founder of U.K. adult entertainment advocacy group Sex & Censorship, responded today to Gail Dines' recent essay on online political site CounterPunch.

Barnett's CounterPunch rebuttal, titled "Porn, Women’s Rights and the Left," answers Dines essay, titled "The Porn Industry and the Tea Party Playbook," where the antiporn professor said that his group is dedicated to defending the speech of the porn industry by consistently attacking groups that question the industry’s "exploitation" of porn performers.

Dines piece also called Saturday's planned protest outside the Stop Porn Culture U.K. Launch Conference as an attack on her free speech.

Dines, a professor at Wheelock College in Boston and author of "Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality," has been a thorn to the adult entertainment industry for some time.

Just last year, Dines testified for the government in the Free Speech Coalition vs. Eric Holder case over U.S. adult film production record-keeping statutes, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257 and 2257(a), which were vigorously challenged by the trade group and scores of those either performing or producing in the adult entertainment industry.

Her testimony, as well as others, helped seal 2257's fate, with a federal judge subsequently ruling that the statutes were constitutional.

Now, the feminist antiporn advocate is leading a charge to organize against the adult entertainment industry on the other side of the Atlantic at the Stop Porn Culture U.K. Launch Conference this Saturday in London.

But upon learning of Sex & Censorship's planned protest of the conference, Dines penned an 840-word piece in CounterPunch blasting Barnett's call to arms.

"If the porn industry wants to protest our conference, then fine ... ," Dines wrote. "But have the guts to send the producers, owners and distributors who get rich from porn — not the contract employees who make next to nothing."

In his CounterPunch rebuttal today Burnett wrote, "we have no intention of blocking or disrupting her conference; the purpose of the protest is to demonstrate to conference delegates and press that SPC does not speak for the women it claims to be saving."

"Although the conference is supposedly about women’s rights, women from the industry have not been invited, and will stand outside instead," he wrote.

Barnett further said that if SPC was serious about supporting the women in pornography, they would ask them what their concerns were, and help them address those issues.

"But they neither know, nor care, what porn stars think about their workplaces and employers, because they never ask. Which is why British porn stars will be protesting outside the SPC conference at 3 p.m. in London this Saturday."

Reached today, Barnett told XBIZ that he was surprised to find Sex & Censorship denounced as a Tea Party-type organization.

"Perhaps I should be flattered," he said. "It would be nice if we were handsomely funded by the porn industry, as she suggests. If anybody reading this would like to make Gail's dream come true, please donate via our website."