A Porn Star’s Open Letter to Utah Republicans on Their XXX Cellphone Ban 1

Dear Utah Governor Spencer Cox,

Last week, you railed against your fellow conservatives for focusing on “fake controversies” like the right to purchase print copies of Dr. Seuss’s racist children’s books. Your fellow Utah Republicans didn’t get the message.

This month, Utah lawmakers passed H.B. 72, which would force cell phone and tablet manufacturers to block pornography on their devices. The proposal claims the rule would prevent kids from watching porn, protecting Utah’s children. If you sign the bill into law, Utah would also stop adult residents from watching porn on smartphones. Considering Pornhub recorded 16 visits per capita in Utah in 2015, you would be upsetting many voters. More importantly, you would be violating consumers’ and pornographers’ free speech rights.

The First Amendment means protecting speech for everyone, especially those holding views you oppose. If you support free speech, you must decline to sign H.B. 72. If you disagree with porn and support free speech, you must especially refuse to sign the bill. H.B. 72 would create more than a slippery slope for free speech—it would form a deadly slope that would send Utah residents’ civil liberties off a hill. All the while, it would do nothing to protect children.

If you want kids to stop finding porn, don’t force Apple to bar iPhones from showing porn. Call kids’ parents. When I was growing up, my parents monitored everything I watched. Today, technology makes this more challenging, but my sister manages to keep R-rated movies away from her kids. If you want to monitor what your kid watches on their phone, install parental controls that have existed since AOL. As lawyer Jason Groth told ABC News, “Parental filters already exist, and every Utah parent can decide the level of access for their children.”

If your kid still manages to watch porn, here’s an idea: Take away their phone. Why does any child need a cellphone anyway? They certainly don’t need the state to parent them. Not to be an asshole, but parents need to parent.

Porn is far from the most dangerous aspect of cell phones for kids. Studies show cell phones increase children’s depression. If Utah strips porn from cell phones, kids can still log onto Grand Theft Auto and role-play as a violent murderer who shoots sex workers. It’s hard to believe your fellow Republicans are fighting to protect kids’ eyes when they’re OK with children consuming violent games, movies, and television shows. Stop using “protect the children” when your real goal is to stop adults from watching porn.

Stop using ‘protect the children’ when your real goal is to stop adults from watching porn.

Representative Susan Pulsipher should have given me a call before sponsoring the bill because she fails to understand how Americans watch porn. If Utah stops men from watching pornography on their phones, they will consume porn on their personal computers, where, yes, children too can watch porn. What’s the difference between iPads, PCs, and cellphones? All this bill does is ensure adult men get lube on the PC keyboard instead of their iPhone screen.

Ironically, in the short term, H.B. 72 would help porn stars. Porn stars hate tube sites. They steal adult stars’ content, allowing consumers to watch it for free. Unlike legitimate websites that sell porn, some tube sites fail to verify viewers’ ages. If H.B. 72 went into effect, it would force adults to return to adult video stores, which sell one-hour porn DVDs for $30.99 a pop. In comparison, the average OnlyFans girl charges $14.99 for a month of unlimited content. Forcing adults to buy porn DVDs would enrich the adult industry.

But as long-term thinkers used to persecution, porn stars know H.B. 72 would set a dangerous precedent. First, legislators would delete porn from phones. Next, they would target porn altogether. Down the line, they could urge the next governor to prevent phones from displaying search words like “Black Lives Matter” or “how to protest.”

I beg you, Governor Cox, to stop the free speech crisis in this country. Right now, I doubt anyone cares about free speech. Liberal feminists profess to care about free speech, then paint porn stars as sex traffickers in The New York Times. Every night, conservatives hop on cable news and claim they support free speech. They rant about so-called “woke” people only wanting free speech for ANTIFA, then they turn around and decline free speech for pornographers they hate. Many Republicans are hypocrites who, as you said yourself, are obsessed with “fake controversies.”

If you want Republicans to focus more on creating legislation around real issues, defend the free speech of the pornographers whose profession conservatives oppose. Remind conservatives that free speech means free speech for everyone, especially those you oppose.

Be like a porn star, Governor Cox. You want Republicans to stop staging culture-war battles, then stand for your principles—toss H.B. 72 in the trash. In the process, you’ll have more integrity than most lawmakers in Utah. You may even make politicians look principled again.

Sincerely,

Cherie DeVille