“Max Hardcore” Convicted On Obscenity Charges

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This is notable because I think it may be the only non-child-pornography obscenity conviction obtained by the Bush Justice Department during the past seven plus years. The indictment came down just over a year ago, and can be viewed here. Press coverage at the time suggested Hardcore was targeted due to the horrifying violence he inflicted on female performers.

Heart posted about Hardcore’s conviction a couple of days ago. I was waiting to see how the NYT and WaPo would cover it. I’m still waiting, since I haven’t seen anything at either paper, as of an hour ago. The Tampa Tribune reported:

This city may be known for its thriving adult entertainment industry, but a federal jury drew the line Thursday, convicting a California movie producer of 10 counts of distributing obscene materials.

Jurors were given the task of deciding whether a series of films starring a character called Max Hardcore, portrayed by Paul Little, violated the community’s standards. After more than 12 hours of deliberations spanning two days, the seven-woman and five-man jury concluded that the films, with their vomiting, violence and urination, were criminally obscene.

The panel convicted defendant Little, 50, and his company, Maxworld Entertainment, of five counts each of distributing obscene materials over the Internet and through the mail. Each count carries a possible maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. …

A couple of the comments that follow the article are written by a woman calling herself “Neesa” who says quite graphically that she was raped and abused by Hardcore.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to “Max Hardcore” Convicted On Obscenity Charges

  1. hysperia says:

    I’m a bit lost here, not having followed this story. I followed all the links though and still find myself confused. I’m not a “pro-porn” person. I believe the kind of porn described here indeed does damage, just as I believe the misogynist media and blogland discourse about Hillary Clinton does damage, mostly to women less privileged than her. But I do have a problem with obscenity laws and even with this case. I wonder why the law and law enforcement don’t focus on laying criminal assault type charges against these (mostly) guys. Is it because they couldn’t get witnesses (porn film actors, male and female) to testify? Is the notion of consent truly outside our imaginations? If this is an issue wherein we believe that consent can’t truly be given, why do we need witnesses anyway? Why isn’t the filmic representation evidence enough?
    I do worry about folks like judges appointed by Bush (and others) making decisions about obscenity and I worry, too, about the composition of juries. In my country, as is often the case, obscenity laws are much more often used against the writings and representations of gay,lesbian, queer, trans people to suppress their “lifestyles”.
    At the very least, censorship laws are sufficently problemmatic that one doesn’t need to be “pro-porn” to have difficulty with them.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    The judge in the Max Hardcore case was, I believe, a Clinton appointee. Still, your concerns about the perils of expansive censorship are well taken. But without actually seeing the trial transcript and exhibits it’s hard to know whether this was a just decision. For reasons I probably don’t have to explain, porn performers are going to have a hard time making rape or assault and battery charges that police will act on, or that a judge or jury will believe. Especially since pornographers can afford lots of lawyers. So it may be that going after Hardcore on obscenity charges was the only way to punish him for violently raping and abusing people. Not having the facts, I can only speculate.

  3. Diane says:

    I wondered about that, too–that it may be easier to get an obscenity charge than a rape and assault charge. How revealing is THAT?

    I have always adhered to Steinem’s distinction between erotica and pornography; the former is about pleasure, and the latter is about inflicting pain and/or humiliation on women and girls. Given that humiliating women and girls is practically a national pastime, that leaves pain. And given that our culture has a hard time believing that rape really does take place, except in certain culturally defined circumstances–it doesn’t leave much room, does it?

  4. Neesa says:

    Here I am.Neesa.I have contacted feministing.com,and countless other feminist groups over the years.Noone cares bcause I am th anti christ to feminists.Well,I happen to be a very strong women who doesnt let ANYONE get away with messing with my body or mind.

    I am going to the max hardcore(Real name (paul little.How appropriate). trial Sept 5th in Tampa,FL.I am excited to see sweet pea just before he goes to prison.I will see him without his control or freedom.Ahhh,karma at its best.

    I’d like ot NOT thank all the feminists that treated me like a piece of trash.This porn slut happens to be a college graduate with a professinal career.I shot porn years ago.Get over it.I’m doing more than ANY feminist.I am showing up 2 the trial.I am not scared.

    I dont see any feminists showing up to trial and dealing w the drama.He is raping/torturing our people.

  5. Ann Bartow says:

    Neesa, if Hardcore is raping and torturing people, he belongs in prison to pay for these crimes. The difficulty I have is that as I understand it, he has not been charged with rape and torture, he has been charged with “obscenity,” which is a complicated area of the law that is sometimes used against women in terrible ways. Again, I’d like Hardcore to be brought to justice for any wrongs he has committed against you or any other women. I just don’t think that using obscenity charges is a good way to accomplish this. If he is a rapist, that is what he should be charged with, in my view. That an obscenity conviction is considered easier to win than a rape conviction by the Bush DoJ is something that needs to be looked at closely.

  6. SoNotHollywood says:

    Max Hardcore Sentenced to 46 Months in Minimum Security Prison
    By: Mark Kernes

    Posted: 10/03/2008

    TAMPA – Director Paul Little, aka Max Hardcore, was sentenced today to 46 months in a minimum security prison on charges of distributing obscene videos through the mail and the Internet.

    Little was fined $7,500 and his company Max World Entertainment was fined $75,000. The director was charged with 10 counts in all, plus another 10 counts for his company.

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    Judge Susan G. Bucklew gave Little the minimum fines allowable by law. The recommended range for the fines was between $1.2 and $2.4 million.

    Little has been advised to make no statements to the press.

    Check back shortly for more details.

  7. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Judge Sentences Porn Producer Paul Little, aka Max Hardcore, To 46 Months In Prison