Aurora Snow: Trial and Error in the Nation’s Capital

WASHINGTON—More trial and error in the nation’s capital, but where does one begin?

The big news yesterday was a crucial attempt to play the trailer from Belladonna’s Fetish Fanatic 5 from a disk that was technically flawed. The trailer the government downloaded clearly was a corrupted file, with glitches everywhere. Obviously, no jury should be shown this garbled video as trial evidence.

It was funny when the prosecutor tried to say that the audio in the trailer doesn’t matter because it amounts to moans, groans, wails and expressions of desire. Hello? Maybe you have never made those noises, but when we make them on set we are definitely expressing ourselves and those sounds capture our mood while performing.

Obviously the prosecutors don’t watch much porn. The government’s lead attorney harped on the fact that there were numerous “close-ups of the genitalia.” Exactly why are the close-ups so offensive? It’s the same genitalia when it’s captured five feet away.

I was quite surprised to hear the judge scold the prosecution for not being better prepared in the year and a half they were given to obtain a working copy of the trailer. Mind you, I wasn’t shocked at the scolding, but at the realization that this was the best the government could do after a year and a half worth of research on John Stagliano and Evil Angel. Do they not know how to burn a CD-R?

After all that work and time spent investigating, they chose two sexy Evil Angel productions directed by Joey Silvera and Jay Sin. If you are fans of these directors, these are films you want to see. Those two names matter to you because these directors have made other films that have earned your loyalty as a viewer. That is why I believe that porn is not obscenity but creative expression.

By picking these films, the implication by the prosecution must be that almost all porn is obscene. And with that thought in mind the government felt it could hand over any movie or trailer to get a conviction. That makes me so angry. In my entire career as a performer no act I have done is obscene or a crime! I chose to do what I do for a variety of reasons: for my fans, because I wanted to do it, I was curious to explore, or I just wanted to help a director like Joey or Jay Sin achieve their creative visions. This is what performance is all about to me. I love the First Amendment for guaranteeing my right to be one of those special people whom a defense lawyer called “sexual athletes.”

The government is not offering anything like the hardest porn in the world in this case. Could Last Tango in Paris be far behind from the censors? By the way, I am not saying there are no obscene videos. I am only saying professional performers making movies is the entirely wrong place to go looking for obscene videos. What is obscene? There are videos without performers, videos that capture crimes against, say, women or children or animals. Let’s save the word “obscene” for those tapes, because they are obscene and Evil Angel’s movies are not.

What I find the most troubling is the government trying to dictate our sexual and creative tastes. That has nothing to do with obscenity, but rather our own preferences. They are trying to concretely define someone’s opinion, or sensitive palate, and make a broad generalization for all of us in terms of how we are allowed to privately entertain ourselves as adults. They want to limit what we are and aren’t allowed to watch. How dare them!

In this trial, to me, it does not seem like any justice is being sought; it seems instead that the prosecutors are seeking to create limits to impose on the performances I and others in the industry want to imagine, create and then do in our work.

Is it obscene to work with whipped cream? Is it perhaps ludicrous to smear sugary white foam all over my body, or to make a whipped cream boobie sandwich between myself and Sammie Rhodes? Perhaps all of that could be seen as sensual; perhaps it would be okay if it ended there, but it doesn’t.

Does it change from artistic choice to “obscene” when the camera pans down to my gaping rear as Sammie works me into a sweat with a thick red dildo? Or does it become too much only when she dips the used dildo in whipped cream and appears to force me to suck it off? In porn there is no force in the movie I am involved in making. This is our sex play and nothing is ever done to me which is against my will, even if it appears my physical body is being submissive. Submission and force are separate. I can be sexually submissive, but I choose those moments—it feels wonderful and not violent. There is trust and consent and care in what I do with other performers. Nothing is obscene about it.

Where is that line between sexual expression and obscenity? I’m politely asking you, because I don’t see how anyone can definitively know, much less tell anyone else. What is your opinion?

Snow is Tweeting throughout the trial at