Pierce College, part of the Los Angeles Community College District, is embroiled in controversy over a Spice Networks promo shot on its campus last week.
In its current issue, the college newspaper, the Pierce College Roundup, is taking school officials to task in an editorial entitled “Taking the Low Road.”
“What is worse: The fact that filming seemed to be kept under cover or that the college did not turn down the $5,000 they were paid?” the editorial stated.
Spice TV, a hardcore cable channel owned by Playboy, shot its promo on March 6 and 7 on the college’s Joe Kelly Field. The promo depicted a softball game between what Spice said was a “provocatively dressed” women’s team and a men’s team.
Noting that Pierce College is located in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, the “Porn Capital of the World,” the newspaper said that while “Playboy Enterprises, Inc., by comparison, has higher standards, the bottom line is the same. Pornography exposes women as sexual beasts with silicone valleys.”
“It’s ironic that all of this happened in March, Women’s History Month,” the newspaper added.
Through a spokeswoman, Pierce College President Tom Oliver said he stood by his decision to allow Spice to shoot on the campus.
“We have 400-plus acres here, and a lot of that acreage is open land,” spokeswoman Doreen Clay said. “And it’s not [financially] supported unless we do other things to pay the gardeners and the custodians and such. And so we have always rented out to film companies. We have a lot of people shoot here all the time.”
Mainstream production companies are one thing. But an adult oriented company?
“As long as there is nothing immoral, they can shoot people on an athletic field,” she said. “And as far as we know, that [“immoral” behavior] didn’t happen.”
While there was no hardcore content in the shoot, it is unclear whether there was any nudity. But even if there was, Clay said the college would not necessarily have a problem with it.
“I can’t say if there was or there wasn’t any nudity,” she said. “As long as there’s nothing immoral, I don’t know that that’s really a problem. If it was [nude] photography, it could fall under, you know, kind of an artistic thing.”
Scott Barton, vice president of public relations for the Playboy Entertainment Group, characterized the promo as “playful and sexy” but said he, too, did not know if there was any nudity involved. “I wasn’t there,” he said, dismissing any controversy surrounding the shoot as a non-issue.
In stark contrast to the newspaper editorial was the reaction of Pierce students to the news that Spice had shot on their campus.
“We’re all having sex, why not film sex?” asked Debra Ige, 18, in a reaction piece in the newspaper.
“I don’t really care,” said Kevin Lam, 19. “They didn’t hold any auditions.”
“I don’t really see a problem with it,” said Melissa Taylor, 18. “It doesn’t conflict with my interest or belief.”
Only one student polled by the newspaper was critical of the Spice shoot.
“Kinda inappropriate,” said Pauline Tolentino, 19, “because the kid center is nearby.”