LOS ANGELES—Steven Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, says both presidential hopeful Rick Santorum and blogger/activist Malika Saada Saar are wrong in their anti-porn stands, in a new column published on TheHuffingtonPost.com today.
"I have always found it interesting that some people feel compelled to control the lives of others," Hirsch said. "These self-appointed morality police believe they are better suited than you to decide what you can watch and what you should think. They want laws passed that take away our First Amendment freedoms; we should all hope that they do not succeed."
Hirsch rejects a call Santorum for a ban on pornographic movies and websites, levied by the hopeful Republican nominee allegedly because "obscenity" causes brain damage, ruins marriages, leads to prostitution and sex trafficking, and "contributes to misogyny and violence against women." He also disputed an argument by Saar, who wrote in her Huffington Post blog, that "mainstream porn is now hard-core and celebrates the debasement of the female body." Saar said she is "disappointed by the left's summary dismissal of Santorum's proposed idea to ban porn."
"Speaking for myself and my company, Vivid Entertainment, I believe that Ms. Saar and Mr. Santorum are out of touch. Their arguments don't hold up to scrutiny. Let's look at the facts: The FBI, National Crime Victimization Survey, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other credible organizations actually report a drop in rapes, teen pregnancies and sex crimes since 1991, when porn first became widely available on the Internet," Hirsch writes.
"Allegations of misogyny are also untrue. Women increasingly control the adult business. There are many women who own adult companies. Women decide which movies they want to perform in, what scenes they are comfortable with and who their partners will be. No woman is forced to act in an adult film; they do so of their own free will," he added, noting that two of Vivid's most popular directors "are women who have won multiple awards for their work—Kimberly Kane and Tristan Taormino.
"Even in the medical community prominent couples therapists frequently recommend that their patients watch adult films to help strengthen their relationships. Would this make sense if women were being degraded? Would doctors dare even consider such treatments if this were the case?" Hirsch asked. "In summary, this is 2012, and many women like to watch porn, and therefore companies like ours celebrate women and their power in our movies. We are hardly 'waging a war on women' as Ms. Saar suggests. To the contrary, women speak to us loud and clear from the marketplace, with female viewership of our programming more than doubling in the last ten years."