Tag Archives: happy endings

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 🙂


 

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.

Dirty Money

Two stories were published this past weekend in the Providence Journal.  The first, RI sex lobby weeks larger voice at the General Assembly, went into how there is big money in the sex industry, and some of that money ends up in the hands of RI’s politicians.  I don’t know how this is any different from the story a few months ago on the Asian massage parlors “donating” to the State and local police.

I guess the politicians and the police are not much different, taking money with one hand and shaking a condemning finger with the other.

The second story was “New prostitution law buttons up the Strip Clubs” The main point of this story was how tax revenue was down and the clubs were changing the way they do business.

Revenues at adult entertainment clubs already had been declining along with the economy. Sales tax revenues fell to $11.1 million last year, from $12.1 million in 2004, according to the state tax office. Even The Foxy Lady, the state’s oldest and best known strip club, has seen its business decline to about $4 million a year, down from as high as $5 million during the late 1990s, said the club’s manager, Richard Angell.

Club managers aren’t the only ones feeling anxious. Since indoor prostitution was outlawed, customer traffic — already down 25 percent to 30 percent since the economy tanked — has slipped further. Business fell another 7 percent after the new law took effect, said H. Charles Tapalian, the property owner for two strip clubs — Cheaters and Club Balloons — on Allens Avenue.

These stories come just a few days after the police release info on the first stings. The front page of the PROJO on Sunday,  just a few inches away from a the Strip Club story, was a story on how charities are struggling with finances, and today the Governor cut $100 MILLION from cities and towns budgets.  I guess we don’t really care about the poor or the budgets of the cities and towns, we spend money on police overtime, placing ads in the Phoenix and craigslist, and even more money on hotel rooms so we can set up a sting to catch Pat Patriot!  Way to go RI! Now those are some interesting priorities!

The Other side of the camera…

The Other Side of the CameraI hate being on the other side of the camera.  It is mostly based on vanity.  I hate seeing myself.  (But I must admit, I love hearing myself! God bless Talk Radio!)  I love being the one making the films, but I hate to be the one in it.  With that said, I put my vanity aside and agreed to be part of 2 new documentaries on the subject of RI’s prostitution law.

Two groups of law students are currently making documentaries on the subject I covered in “Happy Endings?”.  I was interviewed by one of the groups (Suffolk Law Students) yesterday, and I will be interviewed by another group of students today.

Also interviewed yesterday was Mimi Budnick of D.A.R.E. (who also appears in Happy Endings?) and Marc from Citizens Against Criminalization and Matthew from Providence Daily Dose (both of whom I met after finishing the film)

The students were interviewing all the people involved in the recent legislative battle.  During the interview they said they could only find people who were for the law.  They wanted to hear why we were against it.  One thing I realized while being interviewed: Does my opinion even matter?

I don’t think it should matter what I think, just like it really shouldn’t matter what Donna Hughes or Citizens against Prostitution Trafficking think.  I am not a sex worker, as far as I know Donna Hughes is or was not a prostitute, so why does it matter what outsiders think of the industry? (I am talking about prostitution not human trafficking, it is unfortunate I have to keep reenforcing that point)

Why is it when the government debates healthcare the loudest voices are from the insurance company and health care industry.  Yet when the debate on prostitution, we don’t hear the voices of those in the industry?   If they are brave enough to speak, they are often attacked by those who claim to want the law because it “helps women”.

To me, it all goes back to privacy issues.  Why should anyone (including government) have a point of view on what two consenting adults do behind closed doors?   When you strip away all the propaganda, that is what this law is all about.  Actually if you look even closer you see that essentially all the time and energy spent on this is moronic when this is a response on 40 or so Korean women who were giving massages and hand jobs, very few of these places are “full service”. (The new law even has specific language for hand jobs)

I do think it is interesting that so many homosexuals were fighting for this law.  Actually, with the exception of Providence’s openly gay mayor, the majority of this anti-prostitution push comes from lesbians.  Yes, I am a lesbian too, one of the few who fought against it.  Why does it really matter to all these homos?  I would think they would be more focused on legislative efforts for gay marriage in Rhode Island instead of working on a law against commercial heterosexual sex, especially when the law will have disproportionate effect on women.  Where is the sisterhood?

And then there were…

GoodbyeActually I don’t know how many there were to begin with, but I know that many of them are leaving at a record pace.  I know they are not all going to Nevada, so I think they are most likely either getting out of the business or going to hawk their wears in other states where it is also illegal (but no media an police pressure on the women).

The Providence Journal reported

Word that Rhode Island’s governor signed legislation Tuesday afternoon to outlaw indoor prostitution traveled quickly through the state’s community of sex workers, leaving many of the women who work at Asian “spas” on edge and their employers angry and without customers.

Neon signs outside some spas went dark; employees at others said they were open, but many of the women, fearing a police crackdown, had refused to come to work.

I guess this is the first impact of the law, the human impact.  I am going to pick up the Phoenix tomorrow and see if any of them stopped advertising, the first indicator of the economic impact.

Breaking the law!

breaking the law!This weekend the Providence Journal released an excellent report RI Police charities solicit from “spas”.  In this report we find out how over the past years many of the spas, believed to be fronts for prostitution, have been donating to the Faternal Order of Police.  One of the spas even had what looks like 30 stickers from all of their donations wallpapered on the door of the spa.  Other spas  advertised in the police booklets.

 “COME TREAT YOUR BODY…” reads an ad for Lily Spa in the most recent 2008 issue of Cranston Police Union’s Public Safety Guide, a booklet of safety tips thick with ads from a variety of businesses….Spa ads also have turned up in The Rhode Island Trooper, the official publication of the non-profit Rhode Island Troopers Association, a membership organization of state troopers “dedicated to the improvement of the law enforcement profession…” The magazine’s spring/summer 2009 edition features articles on topics such as state police promotions, construction of a new state police headquarters and investigating fraud. The back of the magazine contains a directory filled with ads for area businesses. Under “pools & spas” is a thumbprint-sized listing for “Lily’s Spa.”

There are many things that I would like to point out about this article. 

  1. It is illegal for police to use a third party to collect donations.  RIGL 11-18-31 “No professional solicitor shall solicit money from any individual or business in the name of any law enforcement agency or any organization which would reasonably appear to be affiliated in any way with any law enforcement agency or personnel.”   
  2. The article also states “Police questioned three Korean women at the spa and concluded there was no evidence that they were victims of human trafficking and made no arrests.”  I hope people read this sentence and realised that the police have been in many of these spas (not only collecting donations) and have never found evidence human trafficking.  
  3. Spas gave donations and kept the receipts for tax purposes.  This would mean they are legit businesses.  How many criminal entities give to charities?
  4. A reported went in a spoke to women in the spas, she didn’t need to arrest them to get them to talk.  The police have said they need to arrest the women in order to get them to speak.  

 

Right now Rhode Island is working on a new prostitution law.  There are two bills, but  for a bill to become law there must be one bill that everyone in the House and Senate can agree on.  Because there is a disagreement on the bills, the State Police and the Attorney General have come in to create a compromise bill.  One question I have is how can the State Police be in charge of creating a bill about prostitution when they have been receiving money from the places they have been and will be targeting?  Usually politicians will recuse themselves when a bill comes up and it involves someone they have represented or received money from.  I wonder if the same thing will happen here?