Monday, October 6, 2008

Max Hardcore gets the book thrown at him

In the latest development in the Max Hardcore obscenity trial, Paul F. Little (aka "Max Hardcore") has just been sentenced to 46 months in prison. Not to mention, asset forfiture – is now reduced to a single page with a big "Forfeited" stamp placed there by the Department of Justice and the Postal Inspector. Censorship doesn't get any more blatant than this.

Salon has a good article here on the hypocrisy and skewed priorities of an administration that has advocated for actual torture, but prosecutes someone for making images that are too sadistic. (H/T to Trinity for the news about Max Hardcore and the Salon article.)

No doubt many on the anti-porn side will hail this as a step in the right direction. The conservative anti-porn side, clearly, but there have been some on the feminist anti-porn side (notably Heart) who have also gotten behind the prosecution of Max Hardcore. I will point out that there's nothing in the prosecution that has anything to do with treatment of the actresses involved, since, so far, there are no allegations that there anything non-consensual has taken place in the production of Max Hardcore's videos. This is a case of censorship, plain and simple, and if one supports this prosecution, that is exactly what one is advocating.

I will also note, however, that many in the porn community consider Max Hardcore basically an embarrassment, and as this discussion on Fleshbot represents, and this one on AdultDVDTalk, there are plenty of people there who would be happy to simply throw MH to the wolves.

On a related topic, Sex in the Public Square has had some really good coverage recently of the recent wave of obscenity prosecutions. Elizabeth discusses a successful local obscenity prosecution in Staunton, Virginia, here and here, while Lou FCD has a post about obscenity law in general here.


  1. While I'm passing through, I have to say I think this is an outrage and all the more so because it will be met with little opposition, even from those who generally oppose porn prosecutions.

    Max's onscreen character is unlovable to say the least, but that is a character he plays and the videos for which he will be doing time are performances. Those who participated in them, including some female performers who spoke up for Max, did so of their own free will and were in no way coerced or harmed.

    There was no allegation by the prosecution of criminal wrongdoing in the creation of the material for which this man has been bankrupted, put out of business and jailed.

    He's going to jail for the content of his pictures. Period.

    If you really do oppose censorship, and not just censorship of the particular things you find acceptable but rather on principle, you can no more avert your eyes from this injustice than you could from a similar injustice perpetrated against someone of whose work you do approve.

    For make no mistake about it, the fact that this one has been committed without significant resistance will eventually result in similar outrages against others.

    I find it disheartening that so far this is the only comment to appear on this thread on a blog that claims to favor pro-porn activism.

    If ever there was a case that called for discussion in this forum, surely this would be it. Whatever you think of Max or what he created, the issues are crystal clear.

    Sending people to jail for making and selling pictures of conduct that is not otherwise illegal is censorship.

    Do we oppose censorship, or do we just let it pass with a nudge and a wink if we don't like what's being censored?

    That shouldn't be a hard question to answer, one way or the other.

  2. "While I'm passing through, I have to say I think this is an outrage and all the more so because it will be met with little opposition, even from those who generally oppose porn prosecutions."

    I agree. I defended him on my LJ at one point, and people immediately did this whole "do you KNOW what his stuff DEPICTS?"

    No, not really, save a few text excerpts which probably don't at all give the visceral effect of the images. But... from that, he reminded me a fair bit of de Sade. Not in terms of what he depicted or the long philosophical ramblings or the depiction of horrific murder, but in the... "here, I MADLY BLASPHEME, LAUGH, AND DISCHARGE" that was really what it sounded like it was about to me.

    I don't know enough about the guy to know, but I got the impression that his kink was as much about pretending to do whatever wild thing would shock and offend the most people and then showing it to them and watching their faces as it was about having fantasies of raping kids.

  3. Ernest -- I hadn't commented because I'd already made my own post on it. But yeah, I agree: Discussion of this is really important.

  4. Well...because of my past financial issues and work, I haven't been as able to comment on the Max Hardcore case (and the related John Stagliano case, too), so forgive me for that.

    But I am in total agreement with Ernest here....this is a total travesty of justice, and all because some people just can't avoid peeking into other poeple's lives.

    I may despise what he puts out as art...but he should NOT go to jail for putting it out there.

    And if he is that much of a profiteer, then what the hell does that make the US Justice Department Obscenity Unit, which now owns and will definitely profit from the sales of the movies Hardcore produced?? But I guess that, just like the Stop Porn Culture folks, the fact that they are anti=porn makes it all OK for them to cash in...right???

    Here's hoping that this syndicate is one of the first to be ousted by the Obama Administration come next year.


  5. If you're interested, links to previous discussions at my place on this:


  6. Here's a link to a piece by Mark Kearnes that vividly clarifies the specifics of this case and what's at stake for the rest of us. It's a must-read:

  7. i saw Max tonight at a fundraiser for the FSC. He gave me a written statement I'm still looking over. I may put some of it up here for comment.

    Max, as I often say, is no moral inspiration, but if you've ever talked to a guy who is about to go to jail not for crimes against persons but rather for making pictures, it's hard to come away feeling anything but sad.

    Yeah, that's what I feel. I'm sorry he's going to jail for making pictures. Somebody else me think that's just great, but that somebody else wasn't there tonight and I was.

    It's all well and good to talk about these things in the abstract, but the reality isn't as simple as many would like to make it.

  8. I know for a fact that Little,aka Max Hardcore was working for the C.I.A. in the early 1990's.Now the Feds are busting him?Kinda like outing V.Plame.It's not safe having anything to do with the C.I.A.