Holy shit: John Stagliano indicted on 8 obscenity counts

fashionistas safado

Image from Fashionistas Safado; more images here.

John Stagliano has long been a porn director of high regard for me — and a businessman I admire. His company, Evil Angel (named after a combo of former girlfriend plus his name as a male erotic performer), is unique among all other porn businesses. I wrote this article about him a couple years ago. Read the statement on his front page for details: in summary, he gives his directors complete control over their products and the directors own their products. Stagliano only takes a cut (unlike other companies), and they distribute their products direct from their website — not necessarily having to play by distributors’ old boys’ club asinine rules for content and distro channels. They were also early adopters for video podcasts, RSS for videos, and provide a variety of formats. Evil Angel is home to Belladonna and one of my all-time favorite directors, John Leslie. One of my favorite porn films literally of all time (the one I lend out *only* to trusted friends) is The Fashionistas (link includes trailer and stills) Directed by Stagliano for an ungodly amount of money, packed with quality and incredible sex, it’s unparalleled. There is also a Las Vegas live Fashionistas show. Stagliano is HIV positive, as is his business and life partner. Stagliano took some major chances with Fashionistas and it paid off.

Just now, Thomas Roche emailed me that John Stagliano is up on 8 obscenity counts. I can feel the chill. Xbiz writes,

Stagliano and his related companies were charged with “three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to sell and distribute DVDs containing obscene films together with a movie trailer in violation; two counts of using a common carrier for the conveyance or delivery of DVDs containing obscene films in interstate commerce; one count of engaging in the business of selling or transferring an obscene film and a movie trailer; one count of using an interactive computer service to display an obscene movie trailer in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age; and one count seeking forfeiture of certain assets of the defendants.”

“We’re in the business of distributing pornography that depicts porn actors having consensual sex,” Evil Angel publicist Tricia Devereaux told XBIZ. “I don’t know anyone more passionate about their love of this business and their right to be a part of it than John.”

When reached by phone by XBIZ this evening, Stagliano said he had not yet been served with the indictment, but said, “I know that I haven’t done anything that violates obscenity laws, and I’m confident that this will have a positive resolution.” The Justice Department’s press office did not respond to an inquiry at post time. (…read more.)

Update 04.09: At Fleshbot we just posted the title and trailer link to the video in question, Belladonna’s Fetish Fanatic #5. Jonno’s excellent commentary and up-to-the-minute media roundup is in the post, and stores are already pulling the title…

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  1. @ Dave: I really like his Voyeur series, especially as it went from 17-23. I have to say though, Fresh Meat #17 (“City Morgue” — all the names here sound awful for such great porn and and sex scenes) was especially hot, and his Voyeur collections of blowjobs and anals (I’m rilly just into his lovingly-filmed bj’s) are incredible. I also really enjoyed his first few Voyeurs, just for the buildup and focus on voyeurism… the leadup to the sex is often hotter than the sex in that series. plus, big butts, sexy Euro men and women… :)

    also, I met him once at a sex and culture museum gathering — he said he knew who I was which was shocking to me — and he is a really cordial, nice and genuine fellow.

  2. Oh yeah – Belladonna DOES rock! Ever since I saw her in one of the Jack’s Playground gonzo flicks. She shot one of her films in L.A’s The Standard hotel on Sunset, which is one of my favorite places to stay down there. Since I saw the vid, it’s always felt a little different staying there ;-)

  3. This is a travesty!

    But… John Leslie? An oldie but goodie. What films of his do you like? I remember him back in ‘early’ porn history during the Seka days and ‘Every Woman Has a Fantasy’.

  4. Yeah, I think you nailed it. Go after something that ultimately won’t matter to close down the new thing that might.

    We still live in a world (not just one society) where it’s ok to show people being humiliated for fun and mostly ok to show people being ripped to shreds. But a hint of sex? Nonono. And this has been true forever. Religions tightly control sexual relations but don’t worry much about violence, etc.

    But porn studios and productions have been around for a long, long time. They haven’t caused too much fundamental change. The actors still are the “them” to the sexually controlled “us”. It’s separated and segregated, so the general social impact is very limited.

    Now production isn’t limited to studios. Anyone can put up videos. And people see that sexuality isn’t limited to “them”. Uh oh.

    So you definitely nailed it. First step is to go after a “bad bad bad” porn studio. Then use the precedent to shut down the *new* means of communicating.

    The worst thing is that some people honestly believe that the control is good. These things need to be controlled. We (including themselves) cannot be trusted to be sexual beings.

    Changing that will take generations. But the wider communication and breaking down the us/them barriers really seems (to me) the only way to bring about that change.

  5. damn! having provided props and wardrobe to john for some of his flicks, i can honestly say he is very nice in person. i have enjoyed the professionalism he brings to the industry. i have dealt with others who leave me with the impression they sleep under rocks and slither.

    i agree with #6 in that there is a lot at stake with regard to sites hosting video and pics of consensual adult porn.

  6. it’s this part everyone with a website (and every porn-loving adult, and those who want their teens to evolve healthy attitudes about sex on the web) should be worried about:

    “(…) one count of using an interactive computer service to display an obscene movie trailer in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age (…)”

    IMHO, that’s unenforcable. *but* it will work as a vague, undefined, Mafia-style scare tactic to scare webmasters from Flickr to YouPorn into removing their perfectly legal, consensual adult porn — or heavily censoring their users to the point of making us all feel like the Internet is only for 10-year-olds. it’s the suggestion of *not* knowing whether what we do in regard to adult content is legal or not that makes us scared — and that’s exactly how the Feds like to play it.

  7. I knew the lame duck Feds would be scrambling to do as much damage as possible before their departure. They’re clearly trying to see what they can get away with. Who the hell is going to be deciding what’s obscene? This is ridiculous.

    So far, every attempt like this has been tossed out. I just hope this happens before Evil Angel is pushed to jeopardy of financial ruin.

  8. What’s obscene is the bullying tactics of the self-righteous censor-hounds in our government.
    And don’t even get me started on the amount of money they’ve already wasted picking on him.

  9. evil angel is (imo) hands-down the most innovative mainstream porn house in the valley. their business model and their excellent products have been top of the line for decades. if there’s anyone who can shred an obscenity prosecution, stagliano and devereaux are up for the job.

    it’s a shame that crappy cookie-cutter porn isn’t illegal. it’s much more offensive than anything ea has ever released.

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