Hello Kristin; for those who might not know you please let us know you are and please describe yourself?
I’m an author, a contributor to The Daily Beast and a marketing professional in the Washington, DC area. I love college football and on Saturdays you’ll find me watching ESPN College GameDay and cheering on my alma mater the Florida State University Seminoles. I am finishing my memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter, about my family’s experience when my father, Anthony Battista, was prosecuted by the federal government on obscenity charges for distributing the movie Deep Throat in the 1970s.
Your father, Anthony Battista, worked on the infamous porn film, Deep Throat. For those who don’t know who your father is, what exactly did he do for the film?
My father distributed Deep Throat from 1973-1975 to movie theater owners in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware areas. He was a stockbroker during this time and when he was arrested in 1974, he lost his job and license and, ever since, has worked in the adult industry as a retail store and theater owner. He knew many of the key players who owned the national distributing rights and produced the film.
Speaking of Deep Throat, the star of that movie, Linda Lovelace, will be featured in two upcoming biographical films. The first one, Lovelace, is scheduled for release this year. How do you hope the film will depict the making of Deep Throat and Linda’s career in general?
It’s amazing to me that not one, but two, films are being made about Linda Lovelace’s life. This is a testament as to how influential she was. I hope the film, Lovelace, to be released in January, portrays a balanced image of her as someone who was a groundbreaker, and yet, human and flawed just like the rest of us. I’m sure we can count on the film to explore the psychology behind her abusive relationship with husband Chuck Traynor and her anti-pornography work with feminists like Gloria Steinem. As for the making of Deep Throat, that in itself is a great story and I just hope they tell it like it was and not take too much creative license to divert from the real story. If they do, they will ruin it.
Being the first at anything is hard, and Linda Lovelace had experienced a level of fame that is rare. I think she symbolized and influenced so many issues like woman’s rights and free speech, but yet she wasn’t prepared to fight or effectively use her power to move the debate for all these issues in a positive way. All in all, I hope the movie paints her sympathetically. I think your readers should check out Eric Danville’s website and book, “The Complete Linda Lovelace.” He was also an advisor for the film Lovelace. Just a quick note, I don’t think anyone knows for sure if the other Lovelace bio pic, Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, once starring Lindsay Lohan and now Malin Akerman, will ever actually be completed.
As many people know, Linda became an anti-pornography activist in the early 80s after she revealed the alleged coercion by her husband, and abuse on the set. Obviously, no one really knows the real story, but do you or your father believe any of her claims?
I think you’re are right, we’ll never really know the true story or how she felt deep down about making the film, and now it’s all speculation. I don’t believe she was coerced to do the film, from everything I have read, but I do believe that she was abused by Chuck Traynor behind closed doors. I think Wicked Pictures star, jessica drake, summed it up best when I interviewed her in June for the Deep Throat 40th anniversary piece in The Daily Beast when she said, “I think that she [Lovelace] was very bold, a sexual pioneer who opened up communication between couples who saw her movie. And, I know that she fought an even bigger stigma than the one that I fight today. I’m very disappointed that she later said, ’I was forced to do it’ (about making the movie) but there is a lot of stress associated with being an adult star in certain circumstances. “ I wholeheartedly believe the sentiments expressed here. Deep Throat was probably a blessing and curse for Lovelace in so many regards. You’ll have to ask my father his thoughts on this at a later time. We just never discussed this topic.
A lot of people think that if Mitt Romney is elected, he is going to wage a war on porn. What do you think of his statements and do you think they will actually be able to do anything?
Mitt Romney and others will certainly try to prosecute pornography if the Republicans take over the White House in 2013, but I think it will be an incredible waste of time. Litigation on obscenity cases over the last 40 years have established enough precedent so that pornography can continue to be accessed by adults. I think the only area where prosecutions might be successful is with the pornography that flirts with the boundaries the extreme, like Max Hardcore and Ira Isaacs. Those cases raise a very serious question for the adult industry as to how far is too far to go when showing sexual acts on film. I’m sure we’ll forever be having this conversation about pornography.
The government, as I know you are aware, does have obscenity laws and they have gone after pornographers, namely John Stagliano and Max Hardcore, as well as others. What do you think of the obscenity laws and how do you think they could be written in a way to make it more clear on what is or what is not “obscene?”
I have answered this question in other interviews and it’s a very interesting one. First of all, pornography by definition, is not obscenity. Often times the two are considered the same and they are not. I don’t think the law could be written in a way to clarify what defines “obscene.” The Supreme Court couldn’t even define pornography, and Justice Potter Stewart was once quoted as saying pornography was hard to define but, “I know it when I see it.” Obscenity is really difficult to define and the latest guidance on that was Miller vs. California in 1973, which grants local communities to determine what’s obscene. This law is obsolete because whatever offends one particular person doesn’t translate to other groups and everyone has a different tolerance level. Also, what is a community? The Internet is a virtual community with millions of adult sites. How could anyone determine who would speak on behalf of that particular community? I think pornography is a customizable experience for everyone based on preferences, needs and orientation and has provided us a unique opportunity to challenge conventional thoughts about sexual satisfaction. I just don’t think obscenity can effectively be legislated.
What do you make of the current situation in the adult industry as a result of the recent syphilis outbreak? What do you think needs to change in order for it not to happen again?
You’re going to find I am a very conservative voice in this topic. I know many people in the adult industry are not happy about the LA condom laws, but if helps stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and keeps actors healthy and safe we should do it. I think safe sex can be hot. Or actors just need to take it upon themselves to demand safer practices, whether it’s mandatory condom use or working with the same partner, in order to take any power away from the government to exercise this type of authority. I also realize you can’t stop people from taking risks, so the government and the adult industry might be limited in what can be accomplished here.
When it comes to the anti-pornography movement, there really are two groups: conservative Christians and certain feminist groups. How do you suppose the anti-pornography movement would go if you took out the moral objection part that most people seem to have?
It’s really hard to imagine this type of scenario since many the arguments against pornography are based on a reflection of moral behavior. I think the argument against pornography would focus around degradation and if women or men are exploited in adult films. Questions could be asked about whether or not pornography goes against some basic human rights.
What would you say is the biggest misconception people have of those who work in the adult industry?
I think the biggest misconception by the general public is that people in the adult industry are dumb. They certainly are not and many people are running big businesses and brands, and creating new technologies that, in many instances, have established the ways in which we conduct commerce on the Internet.
I have to ask this because I am really curious, but do you watch pornography and if so, who are some of the people or types of movies you like to watch?
Many people will be surprised to learn I don’t watch porn. I obviously don’t have any personal objections it’s just not a part of what I do for fun. However, if I did choose to watch porn I love Wicked Pictures’ approach to storytelling and catering products to women and, their actresses are so beautiful. Also, Hustler seems to do really well in creating high quality products and movies and their brick and mortar stores are just great.
What sorts of things do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?
Well, I just laughed a little when I read the words “free time.” I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I’m not working full-time at my job, I try to write and pitch story ideas for freelance articles. I am a part of a writing group www.sixgreatbooks.com and we meet regularly to critique each other’s work. These writers have all become great friends of mine. And, as I mentioned before, I love college football, so I try to catch all the Florida State games and try to spend as much time with my family as possible.
Are there any projects or special events coming up that you would like to promote? And, if so, please do so.
I would ask your readers to check out my blog www.porndaughter.com to find out more about my upcoming memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter. Also, my father’s Orlando, Florida store, Premier Couples Superstore, will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year. His other adult store Southern Exposure in Fort Piece, Florida also has a great online store.