L.A. “Shock Artist” Sentenced To Four Years For Obscenity

In Los Angeles of all places, self described “shock artist” Ira Isaacs, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years probation for selling four highly controversial videos that depicted bestiality and copraphagia. Somehow, the fact that Los Angeles has 100,000 gang members, has significant issues with violent crime and illegal drugs seemed to pale against the government’s obsession to put Ira Isaacs away in prison. For more than four years, Isaacs was pursued by the government which put him on trial no less than three times until they finally were able to find a jury to convict him. And in Los Angeles, a city normally thought to be liberal, one jury eventually was able to vote to convict Isaacs after this third trial.

Isaacs had a movie company called Stolen Car Films, and had produced some faked “scat porn” films including HOLLYWOOD SCAT AMATEURS 10 using some food with a bitter agent added in so that the actresses would make a sour face as though they were forced to eat excrement, although it really wasn’t. It was only implied that it was. But, the company also sold some Japanese import films that involved a Japanese fetish actresses working with a dog in addition to an actual “scat porn” film. Certainly the subject matter was very offensive, but civil libertarians would certainly debate whether simply producing or selling offensive films such as these should warrant years of vigorous government prosecution at a time when government claims that it cannot make ends meet.

The case also illustrates the schizophrenic nature of obscenity prosecutions. The City Of Los Angeles supposedly has it’s own set of obscenity laws on the books, and a city attorney fined an adult company $1,000 for producing a fisting movie with no jail time. Why the films that Ira Isaacs sold warranted federal prison time as well as a $10,000 fine and court costs of another $1,000 is a good question.

When “the founding fathers” wrote the U.S. Constitution and The Bill Of Rights, neither document made any exception for government to prosecute “obscene speech” In fact it was 1840 when a small Massachusetts book dealer was arrested without charge for selling a copy of the European erotic novel, FANNY HILL. It wasn’t until 1841, one year later that the Massachusetts legislation actually wrote a law in order to justify this arrest. Obscenity laws have their root in European religious laws such as laws against blasphemy, which the church helped to push into law so that persons would not question the authority of the church. In more recent years, many churches have proven themselves to be havens of financial misconduct or sexual abuse, illegal things that could not be legally questioned for years. Obscenity laws represent a last ditch attempt by organized religion to socially control the conduct of the public, and represent an unconstitutional effort by religion to use the power of law to enforce religious law. Back in 1973, a sharply divided court narrowly ruled 5-4 that local communities have powers to enact their own antiobscenity laws, which seemed like a complete nonsense decision considering that most literature, books and movies are nationally produced or distributed, further there never seemed to be any intent by “the founding fathers” to allow local politicians, sheriffs or other politicos special rights to limit the free speech of citizens in any given community. The Bill Of Rights was also intended to protect the political rights of a minority against the tyranny of either government or a majority.

Strangely, one fairly popular adult actress, Veronica Jett, who has done 300 adult movies claims that Isaacs was very unprofessional and gave her drugs and alcohol and then pushed her into acting in the simulated scat film, which she claims caused her mental anguish afterwards that required counseling. However, the judge in this case decided not to get into this other issue. Compared to other mainstream adult films that take out film permits, Isaacs’ films were low budget affairs shot at his home, and involved outrageous content. The government considered the films of Isaacs so far out of the mainstream of most other adult films that they sought enhanced sentences of up to seven years. A Los Angeles vice officer testified that the material produced and sold by Isaacs wasn’t like mainstream pornography and was exceptionally extreme and weird material. Isaacs claimed that he was a “shock artist” in his defense. But, the judge argued that since Isaacs never set up an exhibition of his works such as at a public gallery, his films were not legitimate art.

Regardless of all the facts involved here, the trial was indeed a shocking sign that Los Angeles is hardly as liberal of a city as many believe it to be, still ruled over by many conservative police officers and conservative judges.

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