Don't get me wrong, Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is a douche nozzle. He has a lot of idiot friends (Tara Reid, Paris Hilton), he's bristling with entitlement, and probably worst of all, he's under the assumption that his brand of objectification is merely the observation of women's sexual liberation. But people shouldn't have to go to jail just because we aren't fans of them or their work. Joe's legal problems have been going on for years, a lot of which has been at the hands of the Justice Department's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. Here's the thing about that: The government doesn't give a fuck that drunk girls are flashing their tits for frat guys to jerk off to. They care that they don't get a cut of the action it's bringing in. (Stuff like firearms, tobacco, and alcohol all have hefty government taxes.) The business of sex is a lucrative one, and the Obscenity Task Force was formed to catch smut peddlers on shit like sloppy record keeping, in order to fine them or seize their assets. "It's terrifying, honestly," Vivid Alt's Eon McKai* told us. "It's a bit like a witch hunt."
Do you know how open to interpretation "obscenity" is to that task force? Anything remotely sexual as far as nudity goes, could be considered obscene without a clear definition, because obscenity is so fucking subjective. Joe's violations have to do with "Project Safe Childhood," which looks to protect children from being the subjects of pornography. And while it's come to light that he has featured girls under the age of 18 on his DVDs, it was more because the girls lied to be on camera, and not because he's some kiddie porn producer.
A lot of people (me) hold the opinion that going after porno in the name of protecting children is only the first step to an eventual free for all attack of the porn industry as a whole based solely on content and what some suit considers "obscene."
"Obscenity laws give the government far reaching powers to fuck with all of us," says McKai. "So it's no laughing matter."
The real issue here is that people like Joe and Max Hardcore are super high profile and super wealthy. The government is way more interested in that than the fact that a couple of girls have some regrets about what they did when they were on spring break, only because their little brother saw them on an infomercial in the middle of the night. George Bush and his ilk are not Captains Save a Ho. It's always about money.
*Eon's new movie The Doll Underground was released today.