Shhh which sells lingerie, sex toys and porn DVDs, has been shut down by Pittsylvania County's Board of Zoning Appeals. Officers claim that the sale of sex toys and pornography isn't allowed in the county.
Shhh co-owner Trish Post, who opened the
store April, said she plans to appeal the order to the zoning board. Once Post files an appeal, she may continue to operate the store pending the appeal's outcome, according to Danville Register & Bee.
Post said she stopped selling porn DVDs
last month after she learned that it could be illegal in the county but that the county ordered the store shut anyway.
Pittsylvania County's zoning ordinance lists types of allowed stores and sales of items that are allowed, but it does not
expressly forbid sex toys or porn.
Adult entertainment industry attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that it would be a clear violation of the First Amendment to shut the store down because it is selling porn DVDs and sex toys,
particularly if the county did not have a specific zone where such stores could operate as a matter of right.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that local governments cannot impose de facto censorship by
zoning adult entertainment businesses out of existence.
The wording of the county's obscenity laws demonstrate the moralism behind the censorship. According to the county's ordinance, obscene means that which:
has as its dominant theme or purpose an appeal to the prurient interest in sex, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sexual excitement, excretory functions or products thereof or sadomasochistic abuse, and which goes
substantially beyond customary limits or candor in description or representation ... and which ... does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Walters said that one of the phrases in the ordinance ( which goes substantially beyond customary limits or candor in description or representation
) goes well beyond established law and is likely illegal.
Measure B is the Los Angeles law to require condoms to be used in porn productions. The measure was passed by lawmakers but the practicalities of its implementation are still being worked out.
In an attempt to support the continued fight
against Measure B, adult content producers Zero Tolerance recently released Measure X (2013). The producer is donating the proceeds from Measure X to the Free Speech Coalition's legal efforts to challenge the law, and all persons appearing in the
film did so pro bono.
The film begins with the statement:
Measure X - fighting for the right to fuck. This is a satire of a real event: The Passage of 'Measure B' in Los Angeles county. An enormous waste of tax
dollars and a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
The film tells the story of Mike ( Michael Winestain ), a corrupt politician responsible for the passage of a mandatory condom law that puts the adult industry under siege
from bumbling condom police. Mike, played hilariously by Tommy Pistol, is semi-joined by Sheila, an ex-porn performer and current evangelist leader of the Pink Pinwheel Foundation. Mike goes around enforcing the condom-mandate... all while struggling to
find condomless porn he can jerk off to.
The film is pretty funny at points, includes four decent sex scenes, and presents some great, often overlooked arguments about Measure B and barrier protection.
Polk County police are notorious for doing their own moralistic thing when it comes to adult entertainment, commonplace in the the rest of the USA.
This time police have arrested a gas station owner for wholesale promotion of supposedly obscene
material and 10 counts each of distribution of obscenity and possession of supposed obscenity with intent to sell.
Undercover Polk County detectives went to Minakashiben Patel's business, Sunoco Superway No. 6 gas station, on Tuesday and purchased
10 adult movies for a wholesale price. They then arrested him.
Update: Polk morality police to take on Backpage.com
Sheriff Grady Judd, the self appointed moral
policeman who declared war on the production and distribution of porn in Florida's Polk County several years ago, has another focus these days, Backpage.com.
Judd has said that he's putting Backpage executives officially on notice. Judd claimed:
It's a promise. Backpage, you are going to be criminally investigated. So are the people in charge of your organization. Backpage is driving proceeds from prostitution. Backpage is facilitating prostitution.
Judd made the comments after deputies arrested 92 victims who posted or answered ads for sex on Backpage.com.
Adult industry Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that the Constitution and federal laws protects operators like Backpage and
Craigslist and that Judd appears misguided:
What Sheriff Judd seems to overlook is that the First Amendment protects the rights of online advertising outlets to engage in commercial speech, and that they are not
automatically responsible for illegal acts of their advertisers. In addition, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides statutory immunity to online service providers like Backpage.com. Other Sheriff's have learned that lesson the hard way
when they tried this same kind of intimidation tactic against Craigslist.com.
Film permits requested by the porn industry have all but ceased in Los Angeles County as producers decide how to work around much opposed law that requires actors to wear condoms during shoots.
Film LA, the non profit organization that processes
permits for motion picture, television and commercial production across Los Angeles, has seen applications for permits from the adult film industry plummet to only two so far this year. In previous years, an estimated 500 film permits are requested by
the adult film industry annually.
Most production companies have ceased shooting in LA County, said Diane Duke, chief executive officer of the Canoga-Park based Free Speech Coalition, the trade organization for the adult film industry. They have other options in other states and communities.