Now that the 2016 presidential election season is in full swing, which candidate(s) are people in the adult industry supporting?
Every election year is a nail-biter for pornographers, who are wracked with worry over potential persecution from the next presidential administration. Demonizing the porn industry under the guise of protecting the public’s morality is an old politician’s trick. Charge XXX producers with obscenity, collect fines and put a dent in the debauchery.
“Obscene” porn is illegal but not all porn is obscene. Content that was considered extreme 15 years ago might be closer to the norm now. In the late ‘90s it wasn’t acceptable to film sex acts with helplessly bound performers; nowadays, it’s a mainstream concept.
No one wants to go to jail over consensual, legal porn. But it’s happened before.
And in 2016, when the line between kinky fetish and obscenity has become increasingly blurred with respect to different age groups, a progressive administration may be more crucial than ever for the adult industry and consumers—especially at a time when states like Utah have declared porn a public health hazard.
“This election doesn’t matter to me as much as when I had a porn company and could potentially go to prison if the wrong person were elected,” said Tom Byron, AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame recipient.
Byron has been in the porn industry for over three decades, working under five different presidential administrations. Under the Clinton administration, adult companies were able to relax as the DOJ was more focused on prosecuting child pornography than obscenity. That all changed when George W. Bush took office. Bush blamed the Clinton administration for allowing adult films to become more offensive than ever and vowed to put a stop to it.
Not long after Dubya took office, Byron’s long-time associates Rob Black and wife Lizzy Borden faced the first major federal charges for obscenity in over a decade (and were later convicted). They were an example for the rest of the industry—both on what not to film, and why voting for the right candidate matters.
While many pornographers lean closer to libertarian or democratic ideals, some could be swayed to vote Republican. Byron says he’s open to the idea of voting Trump, but wouldn’t vote for any other Republican and “definitely not Cruz, because he fucking creeps me out.”
Why does he find Trump so interesting?
“A lot of what he says is to get publicity and garner votes from the wacky Republican base. Do I think he means half the shit he says? No, and anybody who does is fucking stupid,” said Byron.
“If Hillary won I wouldn’t mind, either,” he added. “I might vote for Trump… I don’t know. I voted for Schwarzenegger as a goof, too. The Terminator for governor? Why not? Sure, he sucked, but they all do one way or another.”
Historically speaking, Republican presidents spend tax dollars fighting the porn industry, dragging them to court over various obscenity charges. Take Republican candidate Ted Cruz, who once argued against the right to buy dildos, citing the need to discourage “prurient interests in sexual gratification, combatting the commercial sale of sex and protecting minors.” Cruz, a so-called constitutional lawyer, felt he was defending public morality by infringing on people’s right to purchase a sex toy.
“There’s no way we could have Cruz for president. This guy would get rid of whatever is left of porn, would just totally obliterate it,” said parody-porn veteran James Bartholet. “He’d probably find a way to get rid of Pornhub and everything else on the internet. Then what would people masturbate to, National Geographic magazine? Swimsuit catalogues? The possibilities are scary.”
Whereas Cruz may incite a throbbing fear amongst the adult industry, Trump arouses an avalanche of disgust. Bartholet had the pleasure of spoofing the Donald in last years’ XXX comedy Megyn Gets Trumped, however he’s made it clear that playing a role does not make him a supporter. “I love playing a villain and I don’t think there’s a bigger villain right now in the United States political scene than Donald Trump,” Bartholet said. “Would I vote for the man? Absolutely not. If it was a choice between SpongeBob SquarePants and Donald Trump I’d vote for SpongeBob.”
Labeling Trump a “buffoon,” the queen of lesbian foot fetish flicks Kayla-Jane Danger said the fact that he’s made it this far in the Republican primary scares her. “It really shows how selfish and bigoted much of this country has become. I hope he disappears as fast as he shot into the pseudo-political spotlight,” said Danger. “In the unfortunate event that Bernie doesn’t make it to the ticket, I would happily vote for Clinton.”
While the sentiments of Ms. Danger echo within the adult industry, not everyone sees things as clearly. Former congressman Anthony Weiner’s infamous sexting partner, adult actress Sydney Leathers, said she’s undecided. “I appreciate that Gary Johnson is pro-choice but voting for a libertarian tends to feel like a wasted vote,” Leathers said. “I’ll likely settle for Hillary but haven’t fully committed to saying it out loud.”
And what does she think about The Donald?
“Trump is too thin-skinned to be in politics, but the Republicans kind of deserve him as their candidate,” she said.
Sarah Vandella, recently named Ms. Throated 2016 for placing first in a Deep Throat challenge, isn’t swallowing any of Trump’s trumped-up charisma. “I just don’t trust the guy. His motives are self-serving and he should stick to business, leave the politics to the politicians. Not to mention, most of his commentary portrays him as a sexist bigot,” she said.
Vandella plans to vote for whichever Democrat gets the nomination, Hillary or Bernie. “We cannot go backwards. Certain candidates are talking about shutting down Planned Parenthood which will cease funding for female sex education. I find that horrific,” she said, adding, “It terrifies me as an American and a woman, regardless of what industry I’m in.”
According to Sunny Lane, the self-described “girl next door, turned hardcore,” there’s one thing Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common: they make people pay attention. “Both candidates have reached out to more voters than in any other election. The more American people we have paying attention to the issues, no matter what side they are on, the better. People are waking up in America and that can’t be a bad thing.”