PVV – “Ira Isaacs Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison, Fined $10K”

Yikes – from beginning to end, this is the only word for the Ira Isaacs case.

I have been following this case closely, though I have not written about it on PVV at all… It’s pretty extreme. (judgement – sorry!!)

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ira (who is a fetish content producer and distributor) has been dealing with obscenity prosecution since 2008. Ira distributed a collection of films featuring scat play (that would be feces – human shit) and bestiality (sexual engagement with animals). He was convicted of obscenity this past April, and this morning – January 16, 2013 – the full breadth of his punishment finally came down…

ira isaacs

(pictured: Ira Isaacs, from the interwebs)

The films in question, which were sold between May 2004 and October 2006, were: Mako’s First Time Scat, Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7, Hollywood Scat Amateurs #10, and Japanese Doggie 3 Way. The prosecution alleged that the films were obscene, having no artistic merit. Ira claimed that the films all had both artistic and political value.

Here’s some good coverage from XBIZ…

LOS ANGELES — Fetish producer and distributor Ira Isaacs was sentenced Wednesday [1/16/2013] morning to 48 months in federal prison and fined $10,000 at federal court in Los Angeles.

After serving his sentence that begins on Feb. 19, Isaacs will be subject to three years of supervised release. In addition, he was also ordered to pay $950 in court assessments.

Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond indicated that his client will appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Isaacs was found guilty in April 2012 on five counts of violating federal obscenity laws over the distribution of  “Mako’s First Time Scat, ” “Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7,” “Hollywood Scat Amateurs #10” and “Japanese Doggie 3 Way.”

It was the third obscenity trial for the distributor and producer, who all along contended that the works he had been charged with have artistic value and can’t be deemed obscene. The first two ended with mistrials. (here)

 

This entire trial process has been ongoing for some time, with many different stages… One of which included two performers alleging that they never would have agreed to participate in the films had Ira not drugged them. This “vulnerable victim” testimony was tossed out at some point during the trial proceedings though.

Further, apparently since his conviction last year, Ira hasn’t seemed all that remorseful. This came into play during his sentencing. US District Judge George King said:

…that Isaacs’ post-conviction behavior was pertinent to sentencing.

“I have viewed the videos for this sentencing hearing, and I find them just as obscene as those used in Mr. Isaacs’ conviction,” King said. “He has not accepted his responsibility to the community.”

King further said that he didn’t buy Isaacs’ contention that his operation was based on the vision of art.

“I have totally rejected during the course of the trial that he’s a shock artist,” King said. “He has cloaked himself as a First Amendment defendant. But the fact is that he did it for money. He’s not a defender of the First Amendment. He cheapens the First Amendment.” (here)

 

Somewhere in the midst of all this, I heard that an investigating officer testified that Ira’s content was completely unusual and not at all representative of adult content, either generally or specifically. I guess this distinction is a good thing.

Ira seemed committed to his freedom fighter position though, and elaborated…

[Ira…] told XBIZ after the hearing that he still believes his works are covered under his constitutional right for freedom of expression and that hopefully the appeals court will swing his way.

“Bottom line is the artist determines their art,” Isaacs told XBIZ. “And when you trash them for taking chances, it is dangerous. Because once you take an artist and you throw them in prison, it gives the message, ‘don’t take risks, dont try anything new.'”

“There is no freedom of speech if you have limitations,” he said.

Diamond, who has represented Isaacs for all five years after he was charged with obscenity violations, told XBIZ after sentencing that he’s in total agreement with Isaacs.

“The First Amendment was designed to protect unpopular speech,” Diamond told XBIZ. “Popular speech doesn’t need protection. So it is an oxymoron to say you violate the principal of the First Amendment by giving something out that is bad.” (here)

 

“The First Amendment was designed to protect unpopular speech… Popular speech doesn’t need protection.” – that’s profound, but still…

I’m not sure how I feel about all this Ira Isaacs stuff. On one hand, I am a staunch believer in free artistic expression and protecting ALL speech – even the speech that I hotly disagree with and/or grosses me out. On the other hand, I really don’t get this content… There are other examples of content that I just don’t get (for example, see Brazzers’ Pornstars Punishment series), but even those bits don’t rub me as far wrong as Ira’s work does.

And then there is the whole issue of being shocking for shock’s sake and hiding behind freedom of expression – how does one even begin to negotiate that? Ira swears he is an artist and his attorney maintains that… but is that true? This reminds me of the slippery slope negotiations that happen with researcher and respondent dynamics – just because someone says it doesn’t mean it’s true… but who the hell are we to question an individual’s account? It’s extremely complex.

 

Read the full write-up in XBIZ here – “Ira Isaacs Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison, Fined $10K”

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