Censorship by Apple!

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Censorship sucks! Especially when it is for no reason at all!

This summer, I decided to enter the “new wave” and have “Happy Endings?” enter the Ipad/Iphone application market.  I contacted Stonehenge Productions and developed an app for both devices.

The FREE app included trailers, reviews, an in app purchase of the film, wikipedia links, and information for the viewer to reach out if they needed help if they were victims of human trafficking.  The app was truly a social activism app.

Stonehenge has build many of these apps for independent films, and never has had one denied.  Until now.

Apple has denied publication of the Happy Endings? app, and no reason was given.  I have contacted Apple, and received no response. The following letter was sent:

Dear Mr. Lammerding,

I am contacting you regarding your recent denial for the iphone and ipad app for the film “Happy Endings?” App # 460056533.  

I understand that Apple does not want pornography on the app store, but this film is not a pornographic film.  This is a documentary that covers both prostitution and human trafficking.  Human trafficking is a very important issue, and within this app, people will be able to get help if they are victims.  This app includes “Resources” for those who need help.

This film does not take a position, and is neutral on the subject of prostitution.  I can only assume that Apple does not have a position on prostitution either, seeing that there are two TV shows  available on ipads and iphones that are on the topic of prostitution.  “Hung” is a fiction show, and “Cat House” is a reality show. Both shows are shows based on prostitution and available on HBO Go.

This film has not been controversial, and I do not believe that it will bring controversy to the app store.  The film has been shown at community centers and museums.  I have even been invited and presented this film to college students.  

“Happy Endings?” is also being sold on Amazon.com and been streaming on Video On Demand  for over a year without one complaint. The Video On Demand site even allows the viewer to watch the first few minutes for free before purchasing the film.

 The trailer has over 340,000 hits on youtube.

This app should be approved with a 17+ rating.  

Please let me know why you have denied this application, and if there a possibility I can resubmit the app for approval with changes? 

I look forward to hearing from you.


Sincerely,

Tara Hurley


P.S. I am a big Apple fan, a user since the 90’s. The first computer I bought with my own money was a Mac. This film and all of the films I have ever made have been made on a Mac :)


 

New Review of a Review!

Many who have read this blog have seen me in the past argue with Donna M. Hughes.  “The Professor” was the leading force behind the re-criminalization of prostitution in Rhode Island.  Hughes hijacked the debate, publishing many misleading and reactionary articles in the Providence Journal editorial pages.   She also published a review of “Happy Endings?” that was misleading (to be polite)

Today, we have a review of that review.  May May has reviewed Donna Hughes’ review.  You can read the full review here.

Dissecting Decontextualization: Donna M. Hughes’ Happy Endings?

This is an incredible read.  I wont even bother doing highlights, as you should read the entire article!

Giannini Is Retiring

Rep. Joanne Giannini, the state rep. who is responsible for the new prostitution law, has decided not to run for reelection.  On Channel 12 News Makers she says she wants to spend time with her family and focus on other endeavors.

You can see her interview here:

http://www.wpri.com/subindex/on_air/newsmakers

Forgiveness

Today is Easter.  I was raised Catholic and told that Easter was about forgiveness. Although I would not consider myself a practicing Catholic, I do believe that forgiveness is important part of life, and not just a part of this season.

One part of the prostitution law that passed in November was this allowance of forgiveness.   Women who were charged with prostitution would be able to get their first offense expunged.  This was a very important part of the law, to me this was the most important part of the law.  It would allow for the women to not face life with a burden of a criminal record.  It would allow them to not face employment or housing discrimination.  This would allow them a second chance, where they would not be destined to be in the lifestyle if they wanted to get out. (This only applied for first time offenders)

Well it seems that a few women decided they wanted to get out.  They wanted to change their lives, to be able to apply for jobs without marking down they had a criminal record.  We all know that the job search in Rhode Island is abysmal, 3rd highest unemployment in the country, can you imagine if you had the Scarlet letter of a prostitution charge on your file?

One women commented on this blog:

I work for a social service agency that assists ex-offenders. Last month, several of the women we assist applied for expungement of previous prostitution related offenses. ALL met the current criteria (had only one offense), and ALL WERE DENIED in the 6th District by one VERY prejudice and lousy jurist.

It is sad that this law that was changed with the mantra of “Helping the women” has not helped one iota.

OMG moment of the day

Oh My God.  I have been out of commission for a few days doing my civic duty…Jury Duty!  So I haven’t been blogging.  Actually I haven’t been blogging or saying much on this topic lately because not much has been going on.  The law passed last November with pressure to “Help the Women and Children” and this past week we helped them…by arresting them.

Nick Horton has an excellent article at the Providence Daily Dose about the Raids

Until the details of the arrests come out, it will be impossible to say for certain whether there is any evidence of human trafficking in the spas where the arrests occurred.  All three of the women were released by the judge on bail, meaning that the state did not hold any of them for interrogation as part of a human trafficking investigation or place them in protective custody as potential victims of trafficking.  Proponents of the legislation previously argued that arresting women for indoor sex work would allow the state to remove them and protect them from dangerous situations.

Details of the arrests came out today in the Providence Journal.  Previously I was incorrect when I said there were no translators.  That was what I had heard “through the grapevine”, but the Journal reports:

Federal immigration officials and advocates from Day One, a sexual assault and trauma resource center in Providence, also interviewed the women who were working at the spas to determine if they are victims of sex-trafficking, Correia said. The law allows victims of sex trafficking to be granted immunity from prosecution.

“We weren’t able to get any information to lead us to think they were being held against their will,” Correia said.

As for the OMG moment of today, I decided to see what the men were saying about what was going on in the spas.  I went back to a website where they rate the women.  Think of this website is the 21 century version of a men’s bathroom wall.  You can’t believe half of what is said on this website,  it is not for those who value women as more than sexual objects.  On www.usasexguide.info if you check the forums in Rhode Island you will see a very interesting conversation going on started by one user named “Donna Hughes”.  Now, I don’t believe this is the real Donna Hughes, but some of the people in the site did believe that it was and what followed was crazy.  What is very ironic is the fact that the real Donna Hughes uses this board for her primary if not only source for research on the AMPS in Rhode Island.  I guess this should teach both sides one very valuable lesson…always check your sources!

Raids Started…

The first raids have started in the Providence spas since the law changed in November.  These are not the first arrests with the new prostitution law.  The first arrests involved stings led by the RI State Police where14 clients and customers (most famously was Pat Patriot, the New England Patriot’s Mascot) were set up using craigslist and the Providence Pheonix.  These arrests that occured on Thursday night happened in two Providence spas.  Three women were arrested and one manager.  From the Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence police charged four women on prostitution charges Friday after conducting undercover operations at two spas.
It’s the first raid of an alleged brothel since a change in Rhode Island law last November made indoor prostitution illegal.
No clients were arrested.

For years, police had stopped trying to prosecute “massage parlors” and “spas” which police said were brothels because of a loophole in the law that prevented them from prosecuting prostitution when it occurred indoors. Now, that loophole has been closed.

Last December, state police arrested women at hotels in Providence, Warwick and Johnston. In interviews in mid-December, Rhode Island strip-club owners said business was down in the wake of the new law.

At a District Court arraignment, Judge Robert K. Pirraglia released the suspects in the spa arrests pending a court appearance on March 10.

In the projo report, (and I am not reposting the entire thing because names are used) they say that one woman was arrested for allowing prostitution.  This is a new part of the law “permitting prostitution”, and it will be interesting to see if these charges stick.  When the first rounds of arrests were made there were no managers of the hotels arrested for “permitting prostitution”.  Also, when this law was enacted there was a ton of lip service done to “helping the victims”, yet once again there were no translators available to the women arrested.  How are you helping these “victims” if you are not even talking to them?  It is sad to think that all those people who fought for this law were duped, this law isn’t helping anyone.

CSHP is OPEN!

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health has now opened!  You may remember that this location has been subject to attacks from Donna Hughes and had to go through a long zoning process.  You can read about it here, here, and here.

Well, Good triumphed over evil! And the Center was finally able to open!  Here is the press release:

Pawtucket, RI February 2nd, 2010 – The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH), the first non-profit sexuality resource and information center on the East Coast, has won the right to open its door and provide sex education for adults.
The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health will provide one on one coaching services, group classes, drop-in hours, teaching resources, access to sexuality journals and in the fall, start an internship program and conduct sexual health studies. Megan Andelloux, a board certified Sexologist and Sexuality Educator is the founder and director of the non-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.
On Monday evening, February 1st, after applying for a “special use variance,” The CSPH was granted unanimous permission to provide education from the Pawtucket Zoning Board. George Shabo, Zoning Board member, made a special note from the Pawtucket’s Planning Board who had also wanted to recommend approval, saying that the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health fit in with the master plan of “revitalizing the downtown.”  This is a huge victory for the field of civil liberties, sexuality education and advocacy”,  Andelloux stated.  “For the past five months, The CSPH has demonstrated to the public what sexuality professionals all over the country experience on a daily basis: roadblocks from politicians to open legit businesses, requirements to masquerade conversations about sex and fear of coming under personal attack for publicly acknowledging the simple fact that people are sexual and it’s ok to talk about it.”  The battle to open the CSPH was closely watched and discussed by lawyers, university professors, The ACLU, news sources and sexuality professionals all over the country.  While the introduction of The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health started off rocky, and false rumors swirled about what the CSPH would be providing, members of the conservative, liberal and libertarian,” community eventually stated that The CSPH mission, to provide adults with a safe space to access information about sex, did indeed fit in with their community values.  
The CSPH will meet with its first client today.

Congratulations to Megan, the people of Pawtucket, and Civil Liberties!!!!