Issue 63, Fall 1996

After a long and excruciating censorship legal battle, officials in Cincinnati have been thwarted again. (Cincinnati is where an art museum and its director were prosecuted for exhibiting the photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. A jury acquitted them.)

This time the targets were the owner and manager of the Pink Pyramid, a small gay and lesbian bookstore, who faced fines and prison sentences for obscenity charges brought after undercover police rented a videotape of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s anti-fascist film Salò.

Despite a dismissal of the charges by the lower court (Censorship News 56), the prosecutor pursued appeals. The case was finally settled in August, just before a jury trial, when the prosecutor dropped six charges and the store agreed to plead no contest and pay a $500 fine for attempted pandering (because one customer told another, actually a vice squad member, that it was a film “with everything in it”). The video will be returned to the store which can resume renting it. An imperfect victory, but a victory nonetheless.

NCAC played a major role in organizing more than 60 film artists, critics, scholars, and others to sign a friend-of-the-court brief urging that the case be dismissed because of Salò‘s artistic, literary and political value.