A Jan. 12 feature article in the Los Angeles Times examined the FBI's recent 2257 inspections of San Fernando Valley porn studios.
Times staff writer Claire Hoffman interviewed several prominent adult industry sources for the piece, including Steven Hirsch of Vivid Entertainment, Kevin Beechum of K-Beech and Free Speech Coalition chairman Jeffrey Douglas.
"Although the public perception of porn producers often tends to be that of a wild and unseemly underworld, many of the Valley's X-rated entities are tightly-run multimillion dollar corporations," Hoffman wrote. "Douglas said that complying with the rules had buried X-rated producers in paperwork."
Joe Francis' Mantra Films, which produces the popular Girls Gone Wild video series, is the only company to be prosecuted thus far since changes in 2257 laws took effect in May 2005. The FBI would not list the Porn Valley companies it has targeted in the last three months, but the Times article did mention the federal agency's recent visit to the K-Beech offices in Chatsworth. K-Beech passed the inspection.
"Why would I jeopardize $10 million a year to shoot an underage girl? We're not stupid," Beechum told the Times.
Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra was quoted as saying, "If [porn producers'] feeling is there's nothing to worry about, then complying with the inspections shouldn't be a problem."
"The FBI is being decent and fair about it," Hirsch told the Times. "But I don't think it's an issue. There's plenty of girls of age who are willing to do [porn]."
The Times also interviewed Athan G. Theoharis, a professor emeritus of history at Marquette University and co-editor of The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide. As an expert on FBI policy and history, Theoharis expressed skepticism about the Bureau's use of taxpayer dollars.
"The FBI has limited what they investigate since 9/11, so moving into this area does raise the question of sources," Theoharis told the Times. "Is this at the expense of investigating the Enrons or the WorldComs that have far more effect on the lives of American citizens?"