On Thursday, September 6, 2012 the Free Speech Coalition made a rather interesting and timely announcement. They indicated that a broad coalition was being formed to fight the Los Angeles County Ballot Measure B – otherwise known as “Condoms in Porn.” With great interest I read their press release ( http://fscblogger.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/campaign-to-defeat-measure-b-requiring-condoms-on-adult-film-sets-launched-by-broad-coalition/ ). I noticed that there was a name mentioned in the release. A name I was not familiar with as being related to the adult industry – James Lee. None the less it appeared to me that Mr. Lee was going to head ( or at least be the media spokesperson for ) the “No to Government Waste Committee” (At this point there is no website for NGWC ).
At first I thought what a rather good idea to choose someone from outside the industry to fight condoms which, until now, has been rather mismanaged in my opinion. Perhaps a broad coalition headed by a non-industry talking head is exactly what we needed to take on the AIDs Healthcare Foundation. However, always being the lawyer I decided to do some homework on Mr. Lee to see what his credentials where to lead such an important issue for the industry.
As my research progress (James Lee is a rather common name) I was able to discover a James Lee from Los Angeles that might actually be the same James Lee that the FSC had quoted in the press release. This James Lee was born and bred in the San Fernando Valley – a local kid who made good. I was able to find his LinkedIn profile that gave me some background information ( http://www.linkedin.com/in/leestrategy ). I then confirmed through the phone numbers of Mr. Lee’s office and the phone number provided on the press release that this is in fact the same James Lee who is heading the coalition.
Here is his self described summary;
“Battle-tested crisis communications manager who’s navigated through urban riots, industrial accidents, political scandals, government takeovers, boycott campaigns, shareholder revolts, pugnacious election campaigns and some pretty obnoxious reporters and come out a winner for his clients and employers.”
I thought to myself this guy is perfect for this job. If anyone can take on AHF and Michael Weinstein its this guy. And then I scrolled down to this under experience;
“California Press Secretary
March 1992 – November 1992 (9 months) Sacramento, California Area
served as the primary campaign spokesperson in California, including managing all press operations during campaign such as press announcements, editorial placements, staging press events, press advance for senior Cabinet officials and facilitating letters to the editor campaign.”
And then down a little further to this;
“Deputy Press Secretary
California Governor Pete Wilson
1990 – 1992 (2 years) Sacramento, California Area
Press deputy responsible for serving as spokesman for all broadcast media and ethnic media outlets, including Asian, Latino and African-American. Responsible for chairing weekly communications meetings of all state agencies and departments for strategic planning purposes. Highest-ranking Asian-American on Governor’s staff.”
My first reaction was think how could the FSC hire/align themselves with someone who was an integral part of President George H.W. Bush’s staff ? It appeared that Mr. Lee was an intrenched Republican and had been rewarded with certain positions by both the Governor Wilson and Presidential Nominee George H.W. Bush. It should be noted that the obscenity prosecutions against Max Hardcore, John Stagliano & Ira Isaacs ( I believe all members of the FSC ) all came from the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force created by George H.W. Bush. Bush and the Republicans were directly responsible for putting industry professionals in jail and costing them millions in attorney’s fees to fight to stay free.
But then I though, that was 10 years ago, maybe Mr. Lee had changed his political affiliations since it did not appear from his LinkedIn profile that he had been involved in politics since. From his resume it appears he went on and worked for other public relations firms and even started his own. Perhaps the world of politics was behind him. But I decided to do some more research and happened on another more recent and troubling article.
“The Case for Mitt Romney to Pick James DeMint as Vice President” authored by Mr. James Lee on June 6, 2012 ( http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/06/06/the-case-for-mitt-romney-to-pick-jim-demint-for-vice-president ). That article didn’t appear on Mr. Lee’s personal or company website. It appeared in US News & World Report, a conservative print publication. If you do not read conservative magazines you may still have heard of US News & World Report since they also publish a ranking for America’s Best Colleges. USNWR is widely read magazine with a national following. It is like Time or Newsweek.
So then I decided to do some further research. In the article, Mr. Lee makes the argument that Romney should choose Senator James DeMint since he is religious conservative. A Southern religious conservative ? So here we have a man who is suppose to lead the charge on behalf of the porn industry stating publicly to millions of people, just 4 months ago, in a nationally distributed print magazine that Romney (who has already pledged to come after porn) that he should chose a religious conservative as his running mate. I am not sure in what world religious conservationism and porn go together but I have always been told that Republicans and Religious Fanatics are not friends of the porn industry. But then I decided to hold my thoughts – perhaps Jim DeMint wasnt a crazed religious fanatic. Perhaps he was just a guy that liked going to church on Sundays – may be even supporting prayer before a high school football game.
So off I went to research Senator James DeMint. He is the junior United States Senator from South Carolina, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party and a leading member in the Tea Party movement. Okay, Tea Party, a little odd but they believe in less taxes and less government. I could go along with that. Until I found out that Senator DeMint stated publicly, not once but twice, that gay persons and unmarried pregnant women should not be allowed to teach in public schools ( http://www.advocate.com/politics/2012/07/24/tv-ad-calls-out-jim-demint-saying-gays-should-be-stopped-teaching and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/02/demint-gays-unmarried-pregnant-women-teachers_n_748131.html ).
And as I am sure you can guess, he is against gay marriage ( http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Profiles/Senate/South_Carolina/Jim_DeMint/Views/Gay_Marriage/ ). And you can bet he doesn’t like porn either. Well, unless porn is being used to send his Democratic challenger to the Senate to prison. Alvin Michael Greene was a Democrat from South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 2010 United States Senate election in South Carolina to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint. Greene was the first African-American to be nominated for the U.S. Senate by a major party in South Carolina. The day after the Democratic primary election (which he won in order to face DeMint) the media reported that Greene was facing felony obscenity charges stemming from a November 2009 arrest for allegedly showing a pornographic picture on an Internet site to an 18-year-old female University of South Carolina student. On August 12, 2010, a Richland County grand jury indicted Greene for disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity — a felony — as well as a misdemeanor charge of communicating obscene materials to a person without consent – three months before the November election which all but guaranteed DeMint’s relection to the Senate.
Well perhaps Senator DeMint is a supporter of those that sacrificed their lives for their country. He doesn’t even like American Armed Forces veterans voting against a jobs bill that would have helped them find work during the current recession. He was the ONLY Senator to vote against this particular bill.
Then I asked myself there has to be SOMETHING redeeming about DeMint to make Mr. James Lee want him a heartbeat away from the oval office. Well, maybe DeMint doesn’t like condoms… Bingo ! Here’s a quote from Senator DeMint to JP Morgan Chief Jamie Dimon on the floor of the Senate Banking Committe;
“The problem with the banking industry is that we’re trying to force it to wear condoms. It’s big. Very big. The biggest in the world. Condoms ruin the fun of risking preventable diseases.” ( http://wonkette.com/475329/senate-banking-committee-treats-jp-morgan-chief-jamie-dimon-to-a-tongue-bath )
So perhaps that is why, Diane Duke, an openly gay women in a gay marriage chose a man like Mr. James Lee to head the coalition against condoms – because he likes Senator DeMint, not because he is a Republican/Tea-Party homophobe who is against gay rights, women’s rights, US Armed Forces veterans and is a conservative religious fanatic, but he HATES condoms – well at least for the banking industry.
I am sure Mr. James Lee is a wonderful person and more than competent to run any PR campaign. He has a sterling resume and great experience. What I question is the Free Speech Coalition’s decision to hire/align themselves with a man that, for all intents and purposes, appears to publicly support a United State’s Senator that is so opposed to everything thing this industry stands for and the freedoms that we hold dear. For this I say shame on you FSC.