So, Gail Dines, on the eve of her Stop Porn Culture conference in London, is all in rage because the group Sex And Censorship decided to get UK porn performers and anticensorship activists to directly rebuke her antiporn “feminist” nonsense.
And then, she decided to vent her fury once again over at her favorite lefty journal, CounterPunch.
I just finished posting some commemorative posts here in celebration of Nina Hartley’s 55th birthday (which was actually yesterday), and didn’t hear about Professor Dines’ latest rantage until about an hour ago.
In this latest attempt at riposte’, Gail goes even beyond her usual extremes of looniness by attempting to compare SaC with..hold on to your hats, folks…the Tea Party of the United States.
I’ll give you a minute to clean the spill off your shirt before I begin the fisking.
The UK porn industry seems to have taken a page from the Tea Party’s organizing playbook by setting up a group called Sex and Censorship that markets itself as an organization dedicated to “defending Free Speech and Sexual Freedom.” Reading their website and Facebook page, however, reveals a very different story. S&C seems more like an organization dedicated to defending the speech of the porn industry by consistently attacking groups that question the industry’s exploitation of its employees or its domination of the sexual landscape with misogynist images that undermine the civil rights of women.
Number One, Gail…the Tea Party is actually an organic movement of Far Right citizens linked together by a particular group of ultraright-wing billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund pushers. Sex and Censorship, on the other hand, is an ad hoc group of porn performers and anticensorship advocates who basically unite to defend the rights of porn performers from exactly the type of slander, libel, and outright lies that orgs like Stop Porn Culture and people like you throw at them.
And Number Two, Gail….only someone as ignorant about American politics as you would even think of equating the most right-wing, religious fundamentalist political organization with a scattered group of performers using a free blog and a protest outside your conference. But then again, this is a woman who thinks that consensual BDSM sex warrants sending in the United Nations.
A bit of digging around reveals that S&C, rather than being an authentic grassroots organization, is actually an industry-driven Astroturf group with fake grassroots. S&C is the brainchild of Jerry Barnett, who was described by the BBC in 2008 as “the boss of the UK’s biggest adult website”, and is now chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association. Given Barnett’s porn industry background and backers, it is not surprising that S&C is particularly concerned with limiting governmental regulation. According to the website, “We aim to reach out to journalists and politicians and ensure that scare stories are not used to introduce yet more laws and regulations….”
Leave it to Gail to define what is “astroturf” and what is authentic…especially since we kow nothing about how Stop Porn Culture is funded….though considering that Gail has now gone all-in on the “sexual trafficking”/anti-sex work “abolitionist” movement that is directly funded through corporate NGO’s and wealthy folk (like, for instance, the Hunt sisters), you have to wonder whether the real issue is “not our Astroturf”.
And yeah….owning the UK’s biggest website certainly makes you the equivalent of the Koch brothers or Richard Mellon Scaife or ALEC, right??
Last month, New York Senator Chuck Schumer criticized the Tea Party for being funded by wealthy, selfish, narrow-minded people who “don’t want government interfering with their companies no matter what damage their companies may do to their workers, to the environment or to anybody else.” He could have been talking about the porn industry here, because it has willfully put porn performers at risk by fighting measures in the US to enforce condom use. Although studies have found that STDs are rampant in the industry, the industry treats the performers as contract workers, so it doesn’t have to pay health insurance or any other benefits.
Ahhhh….no, Professor Dines, not even close. The issues with the condom mandate is not that the industry opposes condom usage, it’s that the forcing of condoms down performers’ throats and the removal of the current testing/screening system that has worked in curtailing HIV/STI outbreaks would be a far greater threat to performers and fans. But, by all means, Gail, keep quoting the AIDS Healthcare Foundation propaganda as your new standard, and avoid the actual facts.
Also…so funny that Dines is so quick to attack porn companies for not providing health care benefits as “employees” rather than “contract workers”, but has nothing whatsoever to say about her allies not even allowing their employees to form unions to protect their rights and benefits. Or, for that matter, even empowering performers themselves to organize to protect their benefits.
The similarities between the Tea Party and S&C became most apparent last week when the group placed Stop Porn Culture in the crosshairs of their rifle by organizing a protest of our first UK conference on March 15th. Adopting the now-predictable Astroturf method of inverting reality, S&C framed Stop Porn Culture, an educational group dedicated to raising consciousness about the effects of porn, as a group working to ban and censor porn, and to “shut down debate.” This claim reeks of hypocrisy, coming from a group whose purpose is to shut down any criticism of the industry and to disrupt our educational conference!
Oh, gee, Gail, why would we thing that of your organization?? I mean, surely SPC has never, ever endorsed censorship in any way, right?? You mean, your stated support for forcing ISP’s to filter out adult content and force those adults wanting such to “opt-in” through registration with the government (thus opening them up to not only abusive spam and selective harassment, but potential blackmail) isn’t a form of censorship?? Or, your attempt to intimidate the Radisson Hotel for hosting an adult business conference (XBiz EU)?? Orrrrr…your campaign to put down the Porn Studies Journal for being insufficiently antiporn?? Or…your continuous crackbacks at “feminist porn” advocates/producers and the journalists who enable them?? And, let’s not bring up “The Price of Pleasure“, OK??
What makes this protest’s methods so like those of the Tea Party is the way S&C adopts standard corporate political strategy by claiming to act on behalf of workers to mask the interests of capitalist elites. S&C is calling the protest “Don’t Censor Me! Performers and Models protest in London,” and is trying to mobilize porn performers to protest against Stop Porn Culture. Astroturf groups’ manipulating workers to protect corporate interests is a tried-and-true tactic that has worked especially well for the fossil fuel industries.
“Mobilize porn performers”??? You mean, Gail, that porn performers are so mindless that they can’t protest on their very own accord against your libelous bullshit? That, they can only speak through the tainted money of the evil Porn Capitalist Complex??? So, if porn performers don’t accept your condemnation of them, Gail, they are merely “manipulated”?? Gotcha.
If the porn industry wants to protest our conference, then fine…. 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. There is something especially manipulative and cowardly about the porn industry and its shills hiding behind the most exploited of women, who are at daily risk of bodily injury, STDs, and emotional and physical abuse.
Ah, yes….back to the old “prostituted women” meme, now extended to include porn performers who obviously are too stupid or too horny to realize how “prostituted” they really are. The idea of porn performers actually organizing to get more of the pie by attacking piracy from tube sites or organizing unions/performer guilds to pool their resources?? An alien idea to an “anticapitalist” like Dines. Like their “prostituted” sisters, the only choice is either: convert to the radicalfeminist hivemind, or lose your livelihood through the “Nordic”/”Swedish” Model legislation punishing men for their erections (and by extension, women who make money off male erections and female damp panties).
One of the ironies of this carefully choreographed circus by the S&C is that the very same weekend, across the pond in Virginia, pro-porners will be holding their own conference called Catalystcon. No feminist anti-porn groups will be protesting this conference because, unlike S&C, we believe in the right of individuals to speak freely. As much as we oppose the views held by most of the presenters at this conference, we refuse to adopt Tea Party strategies to silence those we disagree with.
Oh, pull to the muthaeffin’ LEEEZE, Gail….like you had even heard of CatalystCon before you planned your conference in London, and like you wouldn’t have, if given the choice, attempted to intimidate that meeting.
And allow me to remind you of this: the SaC protest would take place OUTSIDE of the convention where SPC would convene. There would be NO interference, no interruptions, no attempt to intervene and halt SPC’s seminars. In other words, not quite the attempt of “silencing” that Professor Dines would have you believe.
And, finally….I’m real sure that Dee Dennis (the former Diva) would truly agree with your assertion of her conference as for “proporners”.
Here’s how Gail wraps up her rant:
What we do protest are porn-industry-based conferences because—not withstanding the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, or Mitt Romney’s famous 2011 statement that “Corporations are people, my friend”—protesting corporations is not the same as protesting individuals or non-profit groups. As a non-profit educational group, Stop Porn Culture will not be bullied by the porn industry or their front groups. We ask porn performers to see us, not the industry, as allies, because our goal is to radically restructure this society that allows men to get rich off the commodification of our bodies.
Because, you see, because Stop Porn Culture is non-profit, they are totally immune from accountability for their misstatements and outright lies about porn performers; and they are only crusaders against the power of corporate money and influence. Funny, but where was that sentiment in 2009, Gail, when you and Shelley Lubben shared the dais with Patrick Trueman at the Congressional Luncheon? Or, when you joined the very antifeminist Witherspoon Institute in spouting the “porn addiction” meme for SPC’s website??
This really makes me want to see SPC’s tax records to see whether or not they really are taking corporate money…and considering their alliances with the “sex-trafficking” abolition movement, I’m sure that the money is practically flowing like the Mississippi River into their coffers right about now. Show us the 501(c), Gail!!!
That CounterPunch seems fit to continue to pass Gail Dines on as a legitimate progressive, yet continue to deny legitimate progressive sex workers the same decency of a rebuttal (Hello, Jeremy?? You still have Nina’s email on your eRolodex, right??) says wonders abut the dominant Left blogosphere’s LACK of thought about sexuality and freedom of expression. Seriously, CP…get it right or shut it down.
Well….turns out, they listened for a change. Sex and Censorship’s Jerry Barnett posted a rebuttal to Dines…and CounterPunch actually had the stones to post it. Well done, CP…but only a start. Nina still awaits. Me, too, for that matter.
Also….XBiz gets in on the story with their usual perspective and context. Check them out, too.
Afternote: I just noticed that Gail, in her attempt to move into Michael Weinstein and AHF’s astroturf, linked to the infamous UCLA/CalOSHA study of STI’s in porn released in 2012 and used by AHF as the foundation for their condom mandate campaign. Of course, only those of us addicted to the Porn Capitalist Complex would notice that it is complete bunk, based on cooked stats that treat multiple treatments of the same performer for STI’s as seperate infections; and justifies the condom mandate not for actual protection, but as a means of “mentoring”. Nice try, though, Professor.
Afternote #2: If you have time, people, go over to the Facebook page of Sex and Censorship and get a load of the attempted comment bomb by some of Gail’s/SPC’s peeps in response to SaC’s protest. It will illuminate your brain as to how they respond to constructive criticism.