‘London Porn Film Festival’ promotes Necrophilia

A ‘London Porn Film Festival’ is due to take place from April 26th-28th at The Horse Hospital {EDIT 25/04/2019 - VENUE CANCELLED - NEW VENUE THE FLYING DUTCHMAN}, an independent arts venue in London. Pornography is the filmed rape, abuse and degradation of women. The information given on the website about this event is explicit and disturbing.

The venue’s website advertises the pornography with the following hastags: necrophilia, blood, submission, violence, control, POC, cutting, aggression, knives, screams, humour. The porn focuses on the eroticisation of power difference, degradation and oppression. Popular topics include racism (“ black and POC pervs are making us sweat ") and homophobia (multiple references to same-sex violence, although most of these people are referred to as ‘queer’, ‘non-binary’ or ‘trans’). Almost all the pornography references the sexual fetish of ‘transgenderism’. There is a panel event encouraging the use of “explicit sex” as a ‘teaching material’ in schools.


One event is called “Sex Work is Work.” It is accompanied by the hashtag #necrophilia.

Can a dead woman consent?

Here is a screenshot from The Horse Hospital’s website, taken on 5th April 2019 at approximately 3pm:

promotion of necrophilia.jpg

Apparently “sex work is work” even if the woman being raped is dead.

If this celebration of men’s violence against women goes ahead, OBJECT and others will be there to protest.


OBJECT have sent the following email to Camden Council


Dear Councillor 

A ‘London Porn Film Festival’ is scheduled for April 26-28 at The Horse Hospital, London WC1N 1JD, an independent arts venue. OBJECT has concerns about its legality, the proposed content and its potential implications, particularly that the marketing appeals to vulnerable people and advocates the use of pornography within sex education.

This event is only a few days away, so please respond urgently.

This is a publicly advertised film festival with an open website  http://www.londonpff.com where you can buy tickets. It is also advertised on the Horse Hospital’s website, which sells tickets also.

 OBJECT campaigns against the harms of pornography and its increasing prevalence and ease of access. How can it be legal to show unlicenced porn films with full public access at 4pm in the afternoon in a popular central London venue. What if any age verification checks are in place to ensure that only over-18s attend?

An article in last week’s London Metro stated ‘Thousands seek help over their children’s porn online addiction’ and cited expert Gail Dines as attributing the recent huge spike in child-on-child sexual abuse to the violent and degrading imagery in widely-available porn. The Minister for Culture, Media and Sport was quoted as saying ‘Adult content is currently too easy to access on the internet, we will ensure protection for children offline is provided online too.’ We ask ourselves, what is the protection for children in this instance?

 

Pornography is already readily available on the internet and many (including OBJECT) believe it encourages violence towards women. We find it alarming that pornographic films are due to be shown on a big screen, in public, in daytime, in a venue known for showing independent films. Pornography depicts pain, abuse and degradation of women as ‘sexy’. In it, real women are used as sex objects and abused, and we believe consent is questionable and cannot be bought for intimate acts.

 

Based on the descriptions provided on the Festival’s website and the associated hashtags, we believe that the screening for profit of some or all of these films may be unlawful under sections 63 to 67 and 71 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008: the offence of possession of extreme pornographic images (Part 5). Sections 63 to 67 “make it an offence to possess pornographic images that depict acts which threaten a person's life; acts which result in or are likely to result in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals; bestiality; or necrophilia.” Section 71 of the Act relates to “publication of obscene material and for the possession of such material for gain under the Obscene Publications Act 1959.” *** Fisting is just one example which we believe falls into this category. We have therefore taken the precaution of informing Camden Council's legal department.

 

The British Board of Film Classification have stated that none of the films have been submitted to them for classification.

 

We are also worried that the introductions to the films are belied by the hashtags associated with them (eg fisting, necrophilia, violence, control, blood) which indicate that extreme violent pornography is going to be shown.  

 

For example:

• 1.    Descriptions of a full-length film entitled (W/HOLE) include: “(W/HOLE) moves beyond traditional notions of porn towards a performative, textured, landscape of desire. Each segment is a beautifully choreographed whole, building from playful scenes with sound, dance, movement and light through to what the filmmakers describe as “intense, illicit, humanity.” Yet the hashtags include: #shibari #knives #blood #screams #edgeplay #groupsex #waterfight #wax

• 2.      The description of a series of short films called ‘The Wetter the Better’ includes: “We were amazed at the ingenious ways people had found to ejaculate, squirt and come, with beautiful watery arches sprayed to dizzy new heights”. Although clearly sexual this sounds rather more innocent than some of the hashtags: #shibari #submersion #pregnancy #lactation #fisting

• 3.      The ‘Sex work is work’ session is portrayed as if the session constitutes a political statement about the rights of prostitutes: “In this programme, we look at the material conditions of sex workers in a series of shorts that range from the bold, the insightful and the darkly comic’ as well as‘how trans sex workers in Berlin have organised to care for each other. Yet it uses highly disturbing hashtags that suggest the portrayal of serious abuse:  #necrophilia #violence #control

 

We are concerned that some of the films are presented as political or therapeutic contributions which may attract people who have suffered abuse and who may be harmfully ‘triggered’ by the films’ contents, for example, educational professionals, survivors of sexual violence, mentally and physically disabled people, and political activists. Examples:

 

• 1.      A description of the session ‘Fierce Femmes’ talks of “presenting a Marxist analysis of capitalist oppression”; and the ‘Brazen Brits’ section talks of “these strange uncertain times” in what looks like a reference to the current political situation in Britain.

• 2.      The description of ‘Cartharsis’ appeals to those wishing to “help address wounds from the past” and claims to cover ‘“issues such as trauma, eating disorders and long term illness”. Hashtags include #POC #healing #power #illness #cancer #mentalhealth #well-being #body #selfcare. We are deeply concerned that the organisers are appealing to highly vulnerable people, to whom pornography could be highly damaging.

• 3.      One session on ‘Sex Education: It Gets Wetter’ claims to tackle the “question of how to improve sex education” and to “discuss the future of sex education” while talking of “porn as ‘pedagogy’” and the notion of using “explicit sex as an integral part of their teaching”If this unlicensed film can be shown publicly in daytime in a normal venue, we fear it may also find its way into schools as ‘sex education’.

We are deeply concerned that the organisers may be promoting the use of pornography for educational purposes and that this looks like an appeal to educational professionals to attend. Another session entitled ‘Lina Bembe Curation’ claims that “it’s undeniable that porn has great educational potential.” (we disagree so it is NOT undeniable). It promises to explore this, talking of “ways of dealing with aspects of consent, communication, gender, sexual health and body image” and “consent, emotions, unconventional relationship structures.” Yet it also says the films in this session are “unapologetically pornographic” and claim to be “showing us what we can actually learn from porn”.

 

The idea of teaching LGBT within sex education has been recently discussed in parliament. In that context we find it alarming that anyone could advocate or lobby to show pornography as part of sex education. Even if the organisers of this festival claim to promote  ‘queer’ or ‘feminist’ pornography, as far as we are concerned pornography is always harmful, its impact can never be positive and it is disingenuous to claim otherwise.

 

It is worrying that the marketing of the festival claims to link left-wing politics to pornographic material. It is even more worrying that it is appealing to vulnerable people (survivors of sexual abuse, the long-term sick and people with mental health problems) and claiming that viewing pornography could help them: we believe it is likely to do the exact opposite.

 

We are worried about the potential for racism within some of these films. The ‘Brazen Brits’ section describes “Loveable spankos continue the traditional English vice, black and POC pervs are making us sweat”.

 

We are particularly concerned that many of the films are being shown during the day, making them more accessible to children and young people.

 

In case you should think that the harms of pornography are merely a matter of opinion, here is a link to our website for more information: https://www.objectnow.org/pornography

As a campaigning organisation, if this ‘festival’ goes ahead, we will of course be protesting outside and publicising the fact that Camden Council was aware in advance of the nature of the event and the fact that unlicensed films showing violence against women are being screened.

 

 Please take action,

 

Janice Williams

Chair, OBJECT

www.objectnow.org


PornHannah Harrison