Kim Hicks of adult production company Inner City Squad has launched a petition against Kick Ass Pictures' upcoming release Nappy-Headed Ho's, accusing Kick Ass president Mark Kulkis of racism.
"As an African-American woman and business owner, I find it completely offensive, racist and totally exploitive that Kick Ass Pictures has released a DVD entitled Nappy Headed Ho's," Hicks said. "This sends a message loud and clear to African-Americans that racism is alive and kicking and Mark Kulkis has the audacity to gain profit from this outright racism."
Hicks is calling for members of the African-American adult community to boycott Kick Ass Pictures by refusing to provide the company with production services or talent until the movie is removed from the marketplace.
Kulkis set off the controversy when he announced earlier this week that Kick Ass Pictures planned to donate a portion of the Nappy profits to radio personality Don Imus, who was fired by CBS radio April 12 for referring to the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "nappy headed ho's."
"We see this as a free speech issue," Kulkis said. "As an adult media company, we're especially defensive of free speech. Don Imus is a loudmouth and perhaps a bigot. However, CBS Radio was hypocritical in hiring Imus to be blunt and outspoken, then firing him for the same reason. Fellow broadcast personalities Ann Coulter and Pat Robertson spew anti-gay slurs, yet they are not fired by their networks."
Hicks told AVN.com that she has collected 40 signatures since posting her anti-Nappy petition online this morning at www.petitiononline.com/nappydvd.
"I would like Mark to pull this release from the marketplace," Hicks said. "I think he knows better. This really crosses the line; I hope he will see that it's not agreeable to the African-American community, and it's not fair to the very people that work for him."
Kulkis told AVN.com that he would not cease distribution and promotion of the DVD.
"The overwhelming response I've gotten from everyone is that this is funny as hell, and that's the spirit in which it was intended," he said. "I have no intention of pulling it. I'd also point out that in Imus' case he was using the term 'nappy-headed' toward a girls' basketball team. But the girls in this video actually are ho's - they have sex for money on camera, which is the dictionary definition of 'ho,' and they all have the definition of nappy hair. There's no derogatory intent with this movie."
The mainstream media jumped on Kulis' press release on the Imus "retirement fund," landing Kick Ass on heavily-trafficked celebrity gossip and hip-hop websites. Kulkis has posted links to the articles at news.kickass.com.
"I was on a Chicago radio show yesterday called the 'Stan and Terry Show' on WCKG FM; it's a CBS radio station, which is ironic given that CBS fired Imus," Kulkis said. "Both the hosts are black, and they have no problem with it at all. They realized that basically this was a fun publicity campaign; the overall intent is to poke a hole in the stuffiness of political correctness, because the fact of the matter is that over the years Imus has insulted many and various groups of people of different ethnicities and lifestyles, and this is the one he got fired for. Why is insulting one group worse than insulting another?"
Hicks insists that the movie "is merely a stunt to gain financially at the expense of African-Americans."
"I am appalled and surprised that Mark Kulkis would step so low to make money," Hicks said.
Kulkis responded, "As for it being a stunt, I'm not going to hide that- it's intended to be a humorous publicity stunt. As for it being at the expense of African-Americans, I don't know what reasoning is behind that idea; anyone in the movie got paid for time and services, and I don't think it's encouraging any kind of negative stereotypes. Look at all the movies the industry releases every year with words like 'ho's' and 'bitches' – putting 'nappy-headed' in front of the title makes mine worse, even though these girls have the hairstyle?
"It's easy to twist this stuff around," Kulkis said. "People need to lighten up and take it in the spirit in which it's intended."