FLOMATON, Ala.—In a story that sounds as if it originated in a country like Pakistan and not the United States of America, a Flomaton, Ala., barber has been arrested for selling porn out of his barbershop. In addition to a number of VHS tapes, the total number of DVDs confiscated was 16, according to local news reports. They were not alleged to contain images of child sexual abuse.
What makes this story especially disturbing is that the barber is being charged with two counts of distributing obscene material and not just for selling adult material without having the proper license or permits, which the Flomaton police chief Geoff McGraw said was required.
“We had been receiving complaints throughout the community about pornographic material coming out of this barber shop. Yesterday we conducted an undercover operation,” added McGraw.
Barber Garvin Chancery, 60, who has worked at the downtown barbershop “forever,” according to a neighbor, was selling the DVDs for $3 bucks and was apparently to even buying them back from people. He said he was sorry for any embarrassment he had caused his community and insisted that he locked up the video at night.
Under Alabama law, it is a misdemeanor for someone to knowingly distribute obscene material in the state. The penalty for someone found guilty is up to a year in jail and as much as a $10,000 fine.
Alabama uses the following legal definition for “obscenity”:
a. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and
b. The material depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct, actual or simulated, normal or perverted; and
c. A reasonable person would find that the material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
None of the news reports name any of the titles of the movies being sold out of the barbershop, but the charges indicate that none of it involved minors. In such a situation, it can only be hoped that Chancery decides to fight these charges, and that a jury of his peers finds him not guilty of this totalitarian abuse by the regressive state of Alabama, which readers of AVN will recall is a place that even criminalizes the sale of sex toys.