I recently appeared at a ThinkIn – a discussion hosted by Tortoise Media. The subject was “Life in the Porn Age”, and the panelists (other than me) were: the tireless sexual freedom campaigner and First Lady of Sex, Charlotte Rose; pornstar Misha Mayfair; ‘porn addiction therapist’ Paula Hall; and solicitor Honza Cervenka, a specialist in ‘revenge porn’. The session was chaired by journalist and author Nichi Hodgson.
The write-up of the session slightly misrepresents me, by stating: “… free-speech activist Jerry Barnett warned us to be careful about concluding too much from the data available. Much of it is flawed, partial and based on conjecture.” In fact, I’m massive fan of data as the essential tool for debunking myths. What I in fact said was that false claims linking pornography to rising sexual violence were not backed by data: the available data (and there’s plenty) suggests the opposite, that rising porn use correlates with a decline in sexual violence. I devote a chapter in my book Porn Panic! to this subject.
(NOTE: The Tortoise link has now been updated with more accurate wording at my request).
This is the 18th episode of the Sex & Censorship podcast. You can listen or subscribe on this page (see below) or via the YouTube Channel.
Courtney Hamilton is a black Londoner, an activist and writer with a deep interest in race and racism. Like me, has has reservations about the transformation of the anti-racism movement. Once, a genuinely progressive force against bigotry, but now something new and less progressive. Courtney is opposed to the new “call-out culture” where accusations of racism fly like confetti. While the anti-racism movement once sought to unite people across race lines, now it is guilty of segregationist attitudes: separating people into racial categories and redefining “privilege” and “oppression” based on skin colour rather than economic status.
He also attacks the dubious concept of “cultural appropriation”, under which “people of colour” claim the right to tell others what they can wear, and even how they can wear their hair.
So here’s me, squished in between two ex pornstars, Lianne Young and Vikki Dark (now an anti-porn campaigner), to debate the new Digital Economy Bill (now passed into law as the Digital Economy Act). This is one of the perks of my campaigning work. The venue was the west London TV studios of Tell Vanessa, a current affairs discussion programme. The debate is the first thing in the programme. It’s followed at about 9:30 (if you can stomach it) by a Skype interview with anti-porn zealot – or should that be impartial academic porn researcher? – Gail Dines.
Following the announcement that the BBFC is to get the power to block websites – the first such censorship authority in a democratic nation – a tired and emotional Jerry Barnett takes a visit to BBFC HQ in Soho to discuss the implications.
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