"I think porno has a right to exist," Ron Jeremy told reporters during his visit to Simmons College on Tuesday. "I think porno has a right to be defended."
Jeremy's presence in a student-sponsored debate on pornography with feminist author Susan Cole drew controversy at the women's liberal arts school this week. Some felt Jeremy's celebrity image and biased position as a longtime member of the adult industry compromised the seriousness of the issue.
WHDH-TV reported that "students at Simmons say that the reaction over the debate is exactly what was intended, raising questions and provoking thought."
The veteran adult film actor and pop-culture icon has debated Cole ten times on the topic of pornography's place in society. Jeremy has also debated a speaker from the Christian anti-porn organization XXX Church on numerous occasions.
"We're really trying to get people to ask questions they've never asked before about what their use of pornography means to them," Cole said.
Despite reports of protesters outside the campus event, Jeremy said the audience was receptive to his dialogue with Cole.
"With a show of hands, who's ever watched adult films with a lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, I'd say about two-thirds of the audiences hands went up," Jeremy recounted. ""Then I said, who actually disgusts, hates adult movies, and only three or four hands went up, and three of them are guys."
With his memoir 'The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz', a high-profile stint on VH1's The Surreal Life and Surreal Life Fame Games, and a new gig as host of internet tech show Heavy, Jeremy is more ubiquitous than ever.
Ironically, the Hedgehog appears to have found more trouble among porn fans than feminists this week.
Jeremy's visit to Simmons coincided with the online release of a police report relating to an incident at Miami's Exxxotica adult expo in which a woman alleged that the porn legend autographed her breast without her consent.
Jeremy said Wednesday that he signed at least 150 sets of breasts during the convention, and doesn’t remember the woman who filed a complaint.
"I had security and cops around me all the time and I always ask husbands and boyfriends permission to sign breasts," Jeremy told AVN. "I always ask permission of the girl and the guy. Some of them wait an hour. I even only sign initials because signing my whole name would take too long. I sign an ‘R,’ a ‘J’ and a heart with an arrow through the heart. … If this lady had a problem, why didn’t she stop me at the ‘J,’ or at the heart?
"... Now some lady is saying I forced it. How the hell do you do that? Wouldn’t security have stopped me at that point? How do you sign your full initials on someone’s boobs without someone liking it? Please, the whole thing is so bizarre, especially with the cops all around me the whole time. I go out of my way to ask the guys that are with the girls, the boyfriend and husband before I do, now all of a sudden two days later she has a problem with it."
No charges had been filed at press time.