Because you can end up grossing out the wrong people.
Ira Isaacs is going to jail for making shit porn.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story was titled "Why Is the Guy Who Made 2 Girls 1 Cup Going to Jail?" Ira Isaccs, the "guy" in question, did not produce 2 Girls 1 Cup. He did, however, make scat porn, which has landed him a jail sentence for obscenity.
You probably don’t know the name Ira Isaacs, but I bet you can remember the first time you saw a girl shit into a cup on camera, hand it to another girl who started eating the shit and vomiting, then the girls kissed a bunch and shit went everywhere... right? Well, Ira Isaacs was in the same business as the creator of 2 Girls 1 Cup, and as a result, he’s been sentenced to 48 months in jail for “producing and selling obscene videos and distributing obscene videos”. According to the United States’ Department of Justice, Ira was also charged in relation to another 37-minute video wherein “a female engaged in sex acts with animals”. The jury stated that Ira's work had no "literary, artistic, political or scientific value". Well, yeah, no shit.
For a lot of you reading this, it may seem a bit strange that the production of a video where people poo on each other can be deemed illegal, let alone worthy of four years in jail. Who was hurt? There’s nothing in any of the Department of Justice reports that say these girls were being filmed against their will, so who cares? Apparently, Ira’s case was initiated by the Department of Justice’s “Obscenity Prosecution Task Force”, (OPTF for short) a group that was founded in 2005 during George Dubya’s administration at the behest of conservative religious groups.
Ira Issacs is not the only target that has gone down at the hands of the OPTF. In 2005, Max Hardcore, a controversial pornographer who has depicted women over the age of 18 as underage girls, had his offices raided while he was at a porno convention in Barcelona. He was charged with five counts of obscenity and sent to jail for 46 months. While the content of Max Hardcore’s porn probably makes a lot of people feel nauseous, and it definitely makes the OPTF feel angry, confused, and ready to prosecute, it’s hard to rationalise why his work would warrant jail time. Clearly, the OPTF’s prosecutions are based on subjective conservative morals and are placing limits on the capabilities of free speech, however gross and grotesque free speech may get.
Here's what Max Hardcore looks like.
Then there was John Stagliano who was facing up to 32 years in jail for the production of two different movies: Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice. From what I can gather, those are a couple of fairly regular hardcore porn films about anal sex and squirting. Are you having trouble finding the reasoning behind a 32-year jail sentence? Me too. Luckily for John, he was able to beat all of his charges after the judge declared “there was not enough evidence to continue the trial”. John continues to run his porn company Evil Angel.
In Canada, there is some precedent for obscenity charges going a bit too far. In December of 2012, Rémy Couture, a Québécois gore-porn filmmaker, was found not guilty of “corrupting morals” after dealing with a lengthy legal process and the resulting media circus. All of Rémy’s problems originated from Europe, after an anonymous complaint from Germany was sent to Interpol. Apparently the individual who found Rémy’s videos and snitched on him was worried that his videos were real snuff films. Way to make overly realistic gore-porn, Rémy! Anyway, as the National Post put it in a headline, “Rémy Couture’s videos were disgusting, violent — and perfectly legal.”
Rémy Couture, workin' on some gore-porn.
The problem with these cases is that the legal definition of “obscene”, one that is obviously not a universally held definition, does not provide a safe playing field for controversial filmmakers who don’t share the views of conservative anti-obscenity prosecutors. Like it or not, shock videos like 2 Girls 1 Cup have managed to worm their way into pop culture. YouTube is littered with everyone from grandpas, Marines, an unsanctioned Kermit the Frog, and The Roots watching 2 Girls 1 Cup and getting grossed out on camera. It’s funny, and as gross as it is, it has provided entertainment for millions of people.
It’d be one thing if the filmmakers who get put up on obscenity charges were filming illegal acts where people are getting hurt or being placed into situations against their will, but all of the directors that I’ve mentioned here are not guilty of that whatsoever. Even though Ira Isaacs has a bestiality flick, he wasn’t charged with anything relating to animal cruelty, just obscenity. These people are being prosecuted because they’re grossing out the wrong people, and that’s dangerous.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire
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