Like, for the structural benefit and viability of the industry — not to be *in* some content.

I recently spoke to Gareth May, who was working on a piece for The Debrief. The UK-based pub was interested in the 2016 US election cycle’s circus-like volatility (who isn’t?), and Gareth specifically wanted to know which candidate — Clinton or Trump? — would be best for the adult entertainment industry.

Gareth did a great job recounting the issues, amounting to – in my opinion – the fact that the presidential candidate actually doesn’t really matter. Sure, there could be some mega-launch on the federal level attacking free speech or something, but real movement or change there would be close to impossible. What’s really pressing currently is law pending on the state level, specifically California’s Proposition 60, which calls for mandatory condoms in porn.

You can read Gareth’s excellent piece on The Debrief right here — “Which US President will be Best for the Porn Industry?” (October 1, 2016). And you can read my full correspondence re this topic with Gareth below.

Well… What do you think? Who or what is best for porn?

GM: We’re doing a piece on which US President Candidate will be the best for the US adult industry. I was wondering if you’d be able to give me some historical context. For example, what previous presidents have been either good or bad for the industry? Does either party interrupt the industry more frequently? And indeed, what could each candidate’s presidency mean for the biz?

DrCT: Re historical perspective on what presidents have been bad for adult entertainment in the US, I’ve actually written about that history at length here: “When Law Moves Quicker Than Culture – Key Jurisprudential Regulations Shaping the US Adult Content Production Industry.” 2013. St. Mary’s Law Review on Race and Social Justice.

Conservative US President Ronald Reagan was undoubtedly the worst President for porn that the US has seen. Reagan announced his intention to study the effects of pornography on society in 1984. It has been speculated that Reagan’s true intent was to overturn the findings of 1970’s Presidential Commission on Pornography, which found no link between sexually explicit material and criminal or violent behavior. Attorney General Edwin Meese assembled an eleven-member pornography information task force in May 1985.

The Meese Commission, the history of which I recount in detail in the above mentioned article, relied heavily on personal accounts and experiences (including secondhand accounts of Traci Lords and testimony from Linda Lovelace) that, while undoubtedly sad and unfortunate, had more to do with interpersonal relationships than with adult entertainment as a nefarious, corrupting entity. In the end, the entire fiasco resulted in no concrete findings, just a lot of noise, attention, and money/time spent.

At this point today though, what’s the most “threatening” for porn from a federal level in the US is ideas about obscenity. But in today’s interconnected, internet-based world, given the parameters of the three-pronged Miller Test (which stands in the US today, since the 1970s – Miller test is explained in the paper), it’s basically impossible to call anything obscene. This doesn’t include sexually exploitative content showcasing the abuse of underage minors – but this content is not pornography anyway.

So, honestly, I don’t think either US Presidential candidate — Trump or Clinton — can have any meaningful impact on US porn as it currently stands. Neither candidate seems too focused on making reliable statements that they intend to follow through on in general. And on a personal level, neither candidate seems to keen on taking a moralistic stand against porn. A candidate like Libertarian Gary Johnson seems to be the person who would be the most protective of porn on a free speech level, but I don’t think porn is really a “hot” issue for any of today’s presidential candidates.

I do however think that California’s Prop 60 poses a very real threat to the state’s professional legal adult entertainment industry. Prop 60, which requires condom use in adult content production, violates performers’ rights in multiple ways, including allowing access to performers’ personal information via consumer-driven lawsuits. I strongly advise California residents to take a serious look at this law, read up on information coming directly from performer activism, and vote No on Prop 60 in November.

This law will have an extremely deleterious impact on every aspect of porn in the US (and globally). Prop 60 is far more pressing than the US Presidential election.

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(pictured: election sexy via The Debrief)

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Got a sociology question? Need some social justice informed life advice? Contact Dr. Chauntelle right here.

Get Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment on Amazon and CT.com.

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