All posts by Ben Yates

I am an award-winning adult producer based in the UK. I also have a passion and enthusiasm for graphic design and sexual freedoms. I have had the opportunity to work with some of who I consider to be the greatest people on Earth - they work in adult entertainment.

Morality-Based Employment Discrimination

My employment with a UK-based, mainstream fashion brand was recently terminated on account of my adult work and business conflicting with the interests of the company.

When I accepted the job of Multimedia Designer and Developer with Missguided it did not occur to me that my experience in the online adult industry might work against me.

I lasted five days in what seemed a perfectly suited role for my skills, experience and enthusiasm before the company terminated my contract under the probationary terms of employment. The only explanation they gave shortly before marching me out of the building was ‘for reasons we can’t elaborate on at this time.’

Of course, I was certain of the reasoning behind it and I was aware that they took a view that, in my opinion, was narrow-minded and shallow of the adult work I have produced but instead of allowing me the courtesy of responding to their concerns they chose to cut ties.

An ‘official‘ reason eventually came through the recruiting agency that had placed me in the role; I was told that Missguided felt my adult business ‘conflicted’ with the interests and values of their brand.

I have still yet to receive any official, written confirmation of my contact’s termination.

Additional frustration was caused due to the fact that I had been upfront and honest from the very start with Pervlens Media proudly placed on my CV (which both interviewers had with them during my interview), we discussed areas of work I had been engaged in in the past and they had over three weeks to do their due diligence before my start date.

It was especially surprising to me as Missguided paints itself as an edgy, modern, progressive and fresh brand and I thought if anyone would be able to look past the adult content, even embrace it as something that makes my experience that little more unique, they would.

I have held jobs previously in roles with companies like Urban Vision, a partnership with Salford City Council, that had me, on a regular basis, coming into contact and dealing with council officers, Councillors, elected officials and members of the public.

It is probably a well-known fact, perhaps even to be expected, that a past in adult films will close off mainstream opportunities and employment .

Renee Richards, a well-known UK adult ex-performer, has experienced such discrimination too, and lost at least two jobs due to her past life, commenting;

“I worked in the adult (porn) industry for four and a half years, and performed in over 200 films. In that time I did not feel degraded nor did I find working in the industry demeaning. However, since leaving the industry I have been treated in a demeaning and degrading way by people who are not in the adult industry, who have either found out of their own volition that I used to work in the adult industry, or by me telling them.”

I wanted to share my experience as this kind of discrimination is often allowed under current employment law and is rarely spoken about and contrary to what people may think affects those behind the camera too such as back office and support staff of adult companies just as much as it can affect the performers and ‘stars’ of adult entertainment.

Legal advice that I sought shortly after the termination confirmed that the law is not only extremely employer-sided in the first two years of employment, especially so during the probationary period, but employers are not even legally obliged to elaborate or give written confirmation of the reasons for dismissal.

It has left me pondering – when did the UK become a place where we allow judgements on an individual with work history in a perfectly legal industry who was upfront and honest about it influence the ability or skill to do a job?

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[Note: Missguided have been contacted for comment. At the time of publication, no reply has been received.]

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Weekly News Summary w/e 14 December

Mass face sitting protest a success, and receives international media coverage

A protest by sex workers, adult entertainers and campaigners took place In Westminster, outside the Houses of Parliament on Friday 12th December.

The protest was organised by Charlotte Rose, a sex worker and sex educator who stood for Parliament in the Clacton and Rochester and Strood by-elections.

The sight of clothed face-sitting and simulated sex outside the home of UK Government attracted worldwide media coverage, and will have raised awareness among those who may not been aware that such laws were being created to restrict the content consensual adults are free to consume.

In addition to the attention-grabbing simulated sex and clothed face-sitting, key campaigners shared their views on why we need to stop it now and what laws like this mean for our future way of life. Speakers at the event included Charlotte Rose, Jerry Barnett, Myles Jackman and Jane Fae.

The protest also took to twitter to maximise its reach with the hashtag #PornProtest with 4,700 users sending 7,185 tweets, with a potential of 35,688,045 impressions.

Just some of the coverage:

The idea of a sex protest outside Parliament is not a new one, in 2008 a similar protest was held outside the heart of British politics over laws that were passed to make “extreme pornography” illegal to possess, produce or distribute.

Adult DVDs sent to parents and children

The Edinburgh Playhouse has been forced to issue an apology after it accidentally sent hundreds of pornographic DVDs to children and their parents.

The duplication company responsible for producing the DVDs, Edithouse, has accepted “full responsibility for the mistakes made in the duplication process” in a written statement issued after the playhouse recalled the DVDs following the discovery of the adult content by a member of staff who had taken a copy for himself.

Playhouse sought the advice of the Police but Police Scotland confirmed no crime had been committed as this was a production error rather than a deliberate circulation of pornography to youngsters.

Vodafone blocks Chaos Computer Club site, fuelling ‘Net censorship concerns in UK

Vodafone UK isn’t letting its customers access the website of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), one of the oldest and largest associations of computer hackers in Europe.

It’s not yet clear why the mobile operator has blocked the ccc.de website but since late last week the site has been unavailable for users of Vodafone’s mobile internet.

The CCC believes it’s because its site has been misclassified in the Internet filtering system used by Vodafone.

The CCC, since its founding in 1981, has highlighted security risks in technology affecting a large number of people, has exposed government surveillance and has advocated for privacy and freedom of information online. Every year the group organises the Chaos Communication Congress, the largest hacker convention in Europe.

“When these filters were introduced, their abuse was imminent,” said CCC spokesman Dirk Engling in a blog post Friday.

“Today, we are shocked to learn that they not only block access to our site, but also to our conference. We see this as proof that censorship infrastructure — no matter for which reasons it was set up, and no matter which country you are in — will always be abused for political reasons.”

According to a check on blocked.org.uk, a website maintained by U.K.-based Open Rights Group (ORG), ccc.de was being blocked by both Vodafone and Three, another U.K. mobile operator, as of Sunday. The Chaos Communication Congress tickets site, tickets.events.ccc.de, was only being blocked by Vodafone.

El Paso Children’s Hospital backs off from fundraising event due to DJ’s porn career

Cash-strapped El Paso Children’s Hospital is backing away from its participation in a local fundraiser after learning Monday that the special guest DJ for the event also happens to be an adult film star.

The Dance4Charity benefit which seeks to raise charitable donations for organisations and charities through house/dance and DJ events.

The event was set to feature headline entertainment by DJ Jessie Andrews, who also is a working superstar in her other career path as an award-winning porn actress.

According to Children’s spokeswoman Susie Byrd “This event was coordinated through the UMC Foundation without the consent of El Paso Children’s Hospital. We have asked the UMC Foundation to immediately correct this by removing our name as a recipient”

Not long after Byrd was asked for comment on the booking of Andrews, all mention of the event and her appearance on the Children’s Hospital social media accounts were deleted.

Andrews tweeted several responses to the story via her twitter account, @JessiesLife;

“I love music. I love to dance. I love to dj. And it’s not a joke to me. I honestly love it. Who cares if I do/done porn? Let’s get real,”

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“ALSO: Shame on anyone who judges me for what I’ve done. It’s 2014. If I got hurt the hospital wouldn’t turn me down.”

“Society pretty much says that since I’ve done porn I can’t do anything else in life that’s respectable. Just kill me now why don’t you,”

December 9th, a day after the news broke, Veteran’s Entertainment, the organisers of the fundraiser issued a statement and confirmed that “The event will still be held and we will push to support a charity that would like us to help them” and added “A person’s past should not prevent them from doing a positive service for others, hopefully more organizations will recognize that.”

Andrews has won various accolades for her work, in 2012 she picked up the AVN Best Actress and XBIZ Best Acting Performance and New Starlet of the Year awards.

She is as well known for her mainstream modelling and music career as much as she is for being active, popular porn star with both careers doing extremely well – her music can be heard via soundcloud.

Resist Porn Culture criticises animal welfare charity over so-called ‘misogynistic’ and ‘offensive’ imagery in the charity’s latest anti-dairy products campaign.

Resist Porn Culture has attacked animal rights and welfare campaigners PETA for the charity’s latest anti-dairy products advertising campaign.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) ad is on a billboard outside Notts County FC’s stadium. The football club told the BBC that the ad was due to be removed but as of BBC running the story it was still in place.

The ad featured a woman who had white liquid, presumably milk, splattered across her face with a look of surprise or shock. The slogan to the right of the image read “some bodily fluids are bad for you”. The campaign group Resist Porn Culture said the poster was “sexist” and called for tighter regulations.

The ASA confirmed they would be launching an investigation after receiving four complaints due to the fact that the ad was sexual in nature and close to a ‘family’ venue.

PETA responded to the criticism, telling the BBC the billboard was a “tongue-in-cheek warning” about the dairy industry’s treatment of cows

He added:

“While some people might disagree with our tactics, there is no one final word on what offends women and what doesn’t.’

“Many of the women here – and the women who have written in telling us they love the ad – have a different opinion.”

PETA have long used provocative ad campaigns, often featuring nudity and sexual innuendo, to push their message.

News Roundup: 2014-11-17

This week’s news includes;

  • Two leading supermarkets give in to pressure from campaign groups
  • Aeveral changes to the regulation of video and on demand content in the UK are set to come into force December 1st and,
  • Online retailer accused of selling “pro-rape” and “sexualised” clothing

Two leading supermarkets buckle under pressure from No More Page 3 and Child Eyes.

Tesco and Waitrose have conceded defeat and have announced that they will cover-up or remove from a ‘child’s line of vision’ tabloid newspapers.

Tesco told the BBC that their ‘news cubes’ would be redesigned so that only the mastheads would be visible to customers. While Waitrose said they would remove the tabloids from the eye level of small children.

The announcements come after months of campaigning by No More Page 3 and Child Eyes.

Tesco have claimed that they listened to both customers and campaigners (clearly only campaigners from one side of the debate) and wanted to “strike the right balance for everyone”.

Customer Experience & Insight Director Tracey Clements told the BBC:

“We are first and foremost a family retailer and it’s important we do everything we can to promote the right environment in store.”

Tesco says the changes to the display of tabloid newspapers (nothing about those celebrity mags that highlight cellulite on beach photos of celebrities though) will come into effect by the end of November, meaning newspapers will no longer be displayed vertically.

Waitrose tweeted:

“We’ve been working on this for some time and will soon be changing our newspaper fixtures so we can display some newspaper covers out of the eye line of children.”

No More Page 3 said it was “absolutely thrilled”  the group added on their blog;

“It sends a very strong message to the tabloids that Tesco don’t think their front covers are appropriate material for display in a family-friendly environment, and that can only be a good thing in the long term.”

BBFC shakeup content classification guidelines ahead of amendments to the Audio Visual Media Services regulations.

The BBFC are to update the content classification guidelines and aim to define what they will and will not allow in a video works – online or off.

A dedicated post regarding the changes will follow soon.

Naturally there are some dubious clarifications such as face sitting is not allowed about choking on a penis will be.

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As always, the guidelines are open to vast interpretation and mis-interpretation by both producers and BBFC examiners themselves.

They are essential reading for everyone involved in the production of video content, but especially for those producing adult content and more niche works such as BDSM and fetish video.

The guidelines will feed into what other regulatory bodies find acceptable such as ATVOD and OFCOM as they typically use ‘R-18 equivalent’ as the standard by which they judge.

Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) regulations are to be amended, amendments will be enforceable from December 1st 2014.

The AVMS regulations which sets out statutory and legal obligations for media distributors has been amended to cap the content that can be distributed at R-18 level.

There are those in the adult entertainment industry who believe it has always been mandatory and a legal responsibility to put R-18  content behind a credit card only or age verification enabled pay wall. It has not been. It has only been mandatory for on demand service providers as determined by ATVOD.

Those deemed to not be an ODPS, such as those who have won an appeal based on their content not being TV-like, ATVOD’s initial judging criterion, were free to continue to distribute R-18 content without such a strict paywall or verification procedure.

This law now enshrines in law, for the first time, the responsibility for any person or company with editorial control in the UK distributing R-18 content. Not just those notified with ATVOD as an ODPS.

The amendments also introduce a new level of content deemed ‘unclassifiable’.

The regulations will make it a criminal offence to not adequately restrict access to R18 content.

So while – “Big Anal Hos Volume 76″ will be heavily restricted; Saw, Hostel, American Pie, Basic Instinct etc etc… will be freely available to under 18s.

From the act;

“(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.

(3) “Prohibited material” means—

(a)a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or

(b)material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

(5) “Specially restricted material” means—

(a)a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18 classification certificate,

(b)material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18 classification certificate, or

(c)other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.

You can read the full document here: http://legislation.data.gov.uk/cy/uksi/2014/2916/made/data.htm?wrap=true

Online retailer, CafePress, criticised for selling ‘unacceptable’ and ‘sexualised’ baby clothing.

CafePress, an online retail site, stock clothing and other merchandise that have either been customised by a previous customer or which customers can customise for themselves.

They have been criticised for selling clothing that is apparently unacceptable and calls for it to be removed .

Some of the customised clothing available online includes; a bib with “F*** like a porn star” embroidered across it and a baby blanket with “Awesome masturbating” written across it.

Australian quality campaigners appear to be leading the objections and have said that they contacted Cafe Press over a year ago regarding similar clothing.

Campaigner Caitlin Roper, of women’s rights/religious group Collective Shout, told The Independent:

“This content serves to reinforce women’s second class status, as less than men, as mere objects for men’s entertainment and gratification.”

and she continues;

“I can’t believe I even have to argue that sexualised or porn-inspired imagery and slogans on baby clothes and merchandise is unacceptable,”

also adding that Cafe Press’s “pro-rape ‘humour’ trivialises crimes of violence against women,” and reduces such an issue to just a “punch line of a joke”.

The British version of the site currently offers 132 different baby clothing products under the category of ‘Adult Sex XXX Porn’.

The Australian version of the site offers many more different t-shirts and slogans, including a babygrow with “Porn star in training” written across it.

The site had previously offered a mug and T-Shirt with “no means yes, yes means anal” transcribed in large print across it. However that product seems to have now been removed.

Roper contacted Café Press on Twitter and claims their attitude was “staggering”. Saying;

“They suggested I redirect my energy and instead of tweeting I should fill out reports. I countered that they should exercise some corporate social responsibility and asked if they were going to pay me to do their job for them.”

The Daily Mail also picked up this story and published images of some of the ‘unacceptable’ clothing claiming them to be promoting peadophilia.

News Roundup: 2014-11-10

Malmaison, Manchester covers up…

Malmaison gave in and covered their ‘soft-porn babes’ hoarding after pressure from the BBC, Daily Mail and Jeanette Winterson, a University of Manchester lecturer and author.

The ‘Mal’ held strong until the BBC and Construction Industry Training Board cried “sexism” and have now strewn a banner stating ‘we were asked to cover these up while we were changing’.

I walk past the Malmaison on the way home and I admit I was a little more than sad when I saw they had buckled to what amounted to very little pressure at all.

The Turkish Army has banned Game of Thrones and forces Officers to take course on Islam

The Turkish Army has outlawed Game of Thrones as part of its new “protection of students” regulations and require that Officers take lessons on Islam instead.

The Jerusalem Post reports;

The military has been instructed to cease watching the show as part of its new “protection of students” regulations that ban “sexual exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, abuse, harassment, and all negative behaviour.”

According to the report, Turkish army officers were kicked out of a military academy in Istanbul in 2012 for permitting cadets to watch Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones’ third season (2013) was named the most illegally downloaded TV programme internationally, accounting for a quarter of all pirated downloads from 100 torrent sites. The programme was downloaded over 1.4 million times between January and February this year – nearly 50 per cent more than its nearest rival The Walking Dead.

An advert that may have passed unnoticed…

Well. It seems the BBC and all mainstream outlets have been out in force to demonstrate the power of the Streisand effect.

The first ever advert featuring an e-cig may well have passed unnoticed had the mainstream media not played the drums of outrage and indignation.

The BBC reports that experts are concerned that the ad appearing on TV could lead to “a normalisation of smoking”. Maybe e-cigs could promote a freedom to choose what an individual would like to do with his or her mouth…

ITV chose to air the ad after 21:00 after the video was ruled ‘too sexual’ for broadcast before the watershed.

UK web sites to be forced to verify age under new laws!

New laws and legislation have been drawn up to compel British-based web sites to verify the age of their visitors before presenting age-restricted content after dubious statistics have emerged stating one in twenty visitors to adult web sites were ‘children.’

Whilst PornHub.com, who recently displayed an advert in Times Square, and YouPorn.com can provide access to their vast collections of free hardcore pornography to anyone in the World, including British visitors. UK based web sites will however be unable to serve their content as they always have.

pornhub-unaffected-by-age-verification-laws-uk

They failed with the ISP filters and ATVOD has largely fallen flat with over five years supposedly regulating the video on demand sector and showing little progress for it.

The Top 100 web sites visited from the UK feature a number of adult tube sites all of which are outside of the UK and will avoid such legal action by the UK government and ATVOD. With piracy and free porn what it is today, all ATVOD and the Government will do by introducing this new legislation and not tackling International distribution is shut down responsible webmasters who would be happy to come to the discussion table if they were invited and only increase the flow of traffic to the typically more extreme and harder content available on the free sites.

I take issue with the statistics and believe them to be deliberately misleading, ATVOD’s language is all about access to children, in their annual reports they claim we prevented xxx number of children accessing adult content based. The simple fact is they do not know, they treat every debit card transaction that either fails verification or is processed without verifying the customer’s age as a child.

ATVOD and anti-porn media use loaded words to ensure their statistics are the ones that people are absorbing. The Daily Mail reports that ‘some 5 per cent of visitors to adult sites were under 18.’ Despite the legal definition of an adult being what it is, those figures would not be half as shocking if people over the age of 16, the UK legal age of consent, were excluded.

Interestingly you will see that Women are always nearly forgotten about when it comes to quoting porn statistics. There are a number of reasons for this but two fundamental factors are the stigma attached to porn consumption by a female audience. The Daily Mail hates them and it does nothing to help the ‘journalist’ and anti-porners use the stats to their own end.

The Daily Mail also reports that ‘one website alone, Pornhub, was visited by 112,000 boys in the UK aged between 12 and 17.’ Pornhub is by far the biggest web site for UK visitors, if you are not familiar with this site – it’s a tube site, a youtube of porn if you like, their is no subscription or payment necessary – that is to say that it is completely FREE – to view its vast library of clips – some full length and others between four and fifteen minutes. Yet as I say is being left alone, this site will not face any kind of restriction under the UK’s AV laws that are expected this November.

pornhub-billboard-2-1024x682

If the regulators and officials dabbling with regulation of the content available over the internet had any idea of they were doing, ATVOD and others should really be paying more focused attention to the tubes but specifically PornHub as this particular site enjoys a healthy mainstream reputation and in addition to the big-budget marketing campaign it recently launched it is often featured in TV shows and films such as Californication and the site have now launched its own record label.

What does the Daily Mail, the DCMS or ATVOD for that matter think is going to happen to the 112,000 ‘boys’ that visited Pornhub? They should be acting as Pornhub’s marketing team, if they enforce stricter policies on UK sites to verify age the ones that can’t or are unwilling to do so will move to a venue that doesn’t ask for the verification.

Interestingly with this move the government will inadvertently be pushing young porn consumers to the tubes, the torrents and be ultimately responsible for stimulating a renewed piracy market for the adult industry.

The focus tends to be around porn web sites but I would be interested to find out exactly what other sites will be affected by these laws. The Sunday Times reported ‘It would cover pornography sites, as well as those selling guns and other age-restricted material.’

Is Netflix, Amazon, LoveFilm etc etc… be caught by the UK AV legislation? No of course not, for one they are not UK based but it is also unclear whether the ‘age restricted content’ description will just apply to R18 equivalent video which ATVOD stole from the BBFC in order to provide a standard for what constituted adult content which in turn required a secure pay wall with either credit card only payments or debit card payments with additional steps in place to verify the age of the account holder.

Twitter too, twitter will not be caught and anyone who has a twitter can find access to an increasing amount of porn for free through the social media service. There is no filter or age verification step to ‘protect’ twitter uses from embedded media content sent through potentially millions of active Twitter accounts.

Religious people more likely to claim porn addiction

A new study has revealed Religious people are less likely than non-religious people to report using pornography, but tellingly those who do use it are more likely to claim they are addicted to it.

This may not be an especially new idea but it is the first study I have come across, specifically in recent years where there has been consistent and what seems to be increasingly anti-porn pressure coming from religion-based groups or individuals.

Porn addiction is, and has always been, notoriously poorly defined, and has no official diagnosis. Even porn itself is hard to define, with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart saying “I’ll know it when I see it” during the 1964 trial – Jacobellis v. Ohio. As reported here last year, the very existence of porn addiction is viewed with skepticism by psychologists.

“There are a lot of people out there [who] identify themselves as porn addicts,” Joshua Grubbs, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Grubbs and his colleagues performed two studies to investigate whether being religious is related to perceptions of porn addiction.

The first study involved young college students from three different U.S. universities, and the second study involved older adults. The researchers asked participants whether they watched porn and, if they did, whether they considered themselves to be addicted to it.

They also measured how religious the participants were, the extent to which they could control their use of porn, to what lengths they would go to access pornography and whether they disapprove of porn morally.

In both studies, they found that religious individuals were less likely than nonreligious individuals to report using porn. Religious people who do use porn, however, are exposed to about the same amount as nonreligious people are, the researchers said.

Religious people were more likely than nonreligious people to disapprove of porn on moral grounds, and were also more likely to perceive their use as an addiction.

“Despite the fact that religious people feel more addicted to porn, they’re not using it more,” Grubbs said. They probably just feel more addicted because they disapprove of it, he said.

In fact they may be using it far less than non-religious people but because those instances where they turn to porn are at such odds with years and years of religious and moral teachings about a specific view of what is acceptable they may well feel an overwhelming sense of shame or guilt.

Religious people could be using the term addiction as a get out of jail for free card and an excuse that helps shield them from judgment in their community.

Criminalised For Receiving “Extreme Porn” Via WhatsApp

Two UK men in their twenties have been convicted of possessing extreme pornography in a case involving the distribution of images featuring beastiality.

Despite the judge accepting that that the two men had not solicited the images Gary Ticehurst, 28, of Canvey Island, Essex, and Mark Kelly, 25, of Romford were both given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Both pleaded guilty to possessing the images on their smartphones. Kelly pleaded guilty to one count of “possessing an extreme pornographic image likely to cause injury”, and three counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals. Ticehurst admitted one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image as well as two counts of possessing pornographic images involving animals.

The images were found after Police had stopped the two men for unrelated matters and a routine inspection of their phones was carried out.

Both men defended themselves in court. Kelly said he had deleted the received videos from his WhatsApp, adding that he was unaware that images were saved to his camera roll. “I didn’t even watch the full content of the video. It was very sick and disturbing,” he told the court.

Judge Paul Worsley told the court that his was imposing a “lenient” sentence, accepting that neither man had solicited the content nor had attempted to share it with others.

“You have pleaded guilty to possessing truly disgusting images,” Judge Worsley said adding “It makes a big difference if someone goes out of their way to seek it, or if they’re sent it by some mischievous colleague.”

Even after the judge’s leniency and appearing to have accepted the indirect means the duo were sent the offending images he still imposed a significant punishment.

These kind of cases are always frustrating for me to listen to or read about. Yes I find beastilaity disgusting, yes it’s currently a crime HOWEVER i’ve had random WhatsApp messages from people i’ve met once or twice, or on occasion never, there is no telling what content is in them.

It is literally like trying to convict someone of possessing an e-mail selling illegal viagra. There will be lots of truly innocent individuals caught up in these kind of charges.

My mind is pondering the demo sex and censorship held outside the UK launch of Stop Porn Culture. It would have been so easy for the Police to have stopped and searched any one of us on the basis that we were demonstrating and who knows how many of us the could have detained on these ambiguous, spurious and damn right silly charges.

That is the kind of abuse these laws, coupled with heavy handed powers can fuel.

Wired Tears Down ATVOD’s Most Recent Report

In an article published over at Wired.co.uk, ATVOD’s latest statistics are torn to shreds as Liat Clark takes a look at ‘why we’re afraid of Internet porn‘.

Clark reminds us all that hardcore pornography is banned on TV and surmises that its no surprise we turn to the internet for our hardcore fix.

the figure that is meant to surprise you: “At least 44,000 primary school children accessed an adult website in one month alone,” screamed Atvod

Clark explains that the 44,000 figure is being used by ATVOD as a means to justify charging content providers a fee, forcing them into compliance or banning their service from operating entirely.

What Atvod didn’t tell you is that the survey it based this argument on classed Ann Summers as “adult content” and came with this caveat from Nielsen, the marketing agency behind it: “The sample size for 6-11 year-olds on the panel is very low. Figures for this age range are still reported, but they are always issued with a ‘health warning’ as being potentially too unstable to accurately project audience size.”

Clark hits on an important point that has been played down significantly in the recent mainstream news coverage by all the major news outlets.

ATVOD was able to achieve headline exposure over the last couple of weeks due to the distortion their press release created. Sure ATVOD’s report carries caveats in relation to the data but their press releases and subsequent news appearances did not.

To my mind this is blatant misrepresentation of their facts. Naturally I don’t dispute that children access online pornography and I don’t dispute that in some cases it’s easily accessed by them.

However I fundamentally believe we are heading in the wrong direction, Government regulation is not the answer.  How can the Government or ATVOD for that matter regulate an industry and technology they don’t understand? Instead of legislating against us they should be talking to us and seeking to learn from us on how better to ensure children or vulnerable people are not exposed to adult content online.

why, when we can watch Rihanna simulate sex with the floor wearing a thong and nipple tassels (it’s a skill), and visceral amputations in game trailers, do we consider real sex to be the most harmful thing on the internet today that is not illegal.

The Wired article continues to ask similar questions to those that I put to the ATVOD CEO, Pete Johnson, in June 2013.

Good Cop s1 Cast 002

I asked Johnson why does he consider sexual imagery more likely to morally deprave a child than the violence shown on TV (The Good Cop was my example at the time which featured the graphic beating of a Police Officer) and video games such as GTA.

His response was simply that he believes there is “something inherently damaging to a child in sexual material.” Needless to say he didn’t share my view and it was clear that regardless of whether ATVOD’s remit is to drive porn out of the UK or not, their CEO is firmly against it. It makes me believe that any kind of communication with ATVOD is likely to only be one way.

You may recall that literally the following day after episode one of the Good Cop aired with the graphic murder of a Police Officer, In Manchester two Police Women were called out to a house, it became clear they were being lured into a trip where the were shot and killed in a grenade attack.

There was not a single shot of sex in the entire series just an episode after episode of bloody violence. The Good Cop aired at 9PM on terrestrial TV.

Clark points out that Johnson himself says evidence for harm will always be inconclusive given the ethical and moral obstacles to collecting it – ie having to expose minors to prolonged periods of adult content for research purposes. Which rightly is a route completely closed off.

“reasonable people must make reasonable judgements based on the balance of probabilities and cannot rely on conclusive proof”

My point would be, given my meetings and e-mail communication with ATVOD they are not able to be reasonable. Johnson is against the availability of pornography which I, and others, consider is an unreasonable starting point.

The recent clampdown seems to be triggered by recent murders, abductions and rapes that have been heavily reported in the media with further pressure being applied to the Government from the Parents of victims such as Paul Jones, April Jones’s father, who has taken to campaigning for what seems to be the complete eradication of adult entertainment.

Mark Bridger, one of the men convicted of the abduction and murder of April Jones, a five-year-old girl, was also found to have been in possession of images of child abuse. The media seem to associate images of child abuse as adult content and pornography – they are not, they are illegal images depicting child abuse and have no place in the adult entertainment industry.

Such images also very clearly appeal to a different and much smaller audience so it is a mus-representation to present them as anything but images depicting child abuse. If anything calling it child porn only serves to soften what they actually are.

It seems to be that finding sexual images of children or in fact any kind of adult content – legal or otherwise –  on an individual’s computer, even during a search for a minor offense (on your phone for example) is enough for the person in possession to be deemed a monster in the eyes of the media and then society but also, much more worryingly, such a discovery can be allowed to be accepted as an indictment of an entire industry.

We never hear the reports of how many million of people who regularly consume pornography yet somehow don’t turn into this raging, foaming at the mouth, sex crazed monster like something out of a sexploitation film in the 80’s.

The wired article is worth checking out, there is a lot of info in there including ‘a history of fear’ and a summary of our ‘cultural relationship’ with pornography.

UK Censors Approve Unrealistic Rape Porn

David Austin, assistant director of the British Board of Film Classification and one Britain’s most senior censors, has suggested that scenes of sexual imagery that bear no relation to reality will not be blocked under Clause 16 of the new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is currently passing through parliament.

Austin told a Parliamentary Bill Committee: “There are examples of sexually violent material that are not caught by the Bill. There are a number of areas of violent and abusive pornography that are not caught.

“Clause 16 clearly talks in terms of realistic and explicit depiction of rape in pornography. We deal with quite a large number of pornographic works every year and have done for many years. Some of these feature clearly fictional depictions of rape and other sexual violence in which participants are clearly actors, acting to a script.

“These works may include scenes of relentless aggressive abuse, threats of physical violence with weapons and forced acts of sex.”

However Austin did reveal that the Government may amend some of the explanatory notes defining their view on what realism’ is in the context of Clause 16.

cameron-in-parliament

If the bill is enacted, Clause 16 will amend the extreme pornography offence currently contained within the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act of 2008, to cover the possession of scenes of “non-consensual sexual penetration”.

Meaning a prison sentence of up to three years and/or a fine for anyone caught with such images or video in their possession.

Sainsburys Forced To Notify with ATVOD as a Service Provider!

Sainsbury’s, the UK supermarket chain, has been forced into compliance with ATVOD rules and regulations in relation to Video On Demand content.

In a determination notice (PDF) published on ATVOD’s web site, ATVOD claim that Sainsbury’s entertainment pages satisfies the criteria by which ATVOD define an on demand provider service or ODPS.

Having applied the statutory criteria to the Service, we wrote to the Service Provider on 10thDecember 2013 stating that we had come to a preliminary view that the Service was an ODPS in respect of which a notification has not been given and in respect of which a fee has not been paid, and that our preliminary view was that the Service Provider was in contravention of sections 368BA (Requirement to notify an ODPS) and 368D(3)(za) (Requirement to pay a fee) of the Act. Video capture evidence of the service at the time of ATVOD’s initial investigation is set out in ANNEX 1.

Sainsbury’s initially appealed ATVOD’s preliminary view.

As discussed our view is still that we are not a “TV-like” service and therefore we do not need an ATVOD licence. We are a retailer that operates a transactional a la carte service that allows customers to browse for and then either buy or rent a
digital copy of a movie.

However eventually, Sainsbury’s were forced to concede, pay up and notify.

ATVOD acknowledges that the Service has been notified to ATVOD following the issue of ATVOD’s Preliminary View on 10 December 2013 and that this brought the service into compliance with Rule 1 on 13 January 2014. However, the action taken by the Service Provider following receipt of ATVOD’s preliminary view does not alter the facts relating to the Service as it existed on 2 December 2013.