Deep Throat

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Date: 1975

Region: North America

Subject: Explicit Sexuality

Medium: Film Video


DeepThroat.jpeg

Artist: Gerard Damiano

Confronting Bodies: The United States Government

Dates of Action: 1972, 1975, 1976

Location: The United States

Description of Artwork: Deep Throat is the most financially successful pornographic film ever made. In the movie, co-star Linda Lovelace plays a woman who does not experience orgasms, so she consults a doctor, played by Harry Reems. He discovers that the patient's clitoris is in the back of her throat so fellatio is the only way she get get an orgasm. Throughout the film she returns to the doctor for "therapy".

The Incident: Deep Throat was the target of more prosecutions than any film in the United States since Birth of a Nation in 1915. Deep Throat was judged as obscene in the case Sanders v. Georgia in 1975. A more famous case in 1976 took place in Memphis, Tennessee. The film was not being shown in Memphis but it was chosen as the place for the trial because of its conservative attitudes and an enthusiastic local prosecutor. Co-star Harry Reems became the first actor ever to be charged in a US court with obscenity. Eleven other defendants and five corporations were also charged. They were convicted after the judge had told the jury that the First Amendment did not apply.

Results of Incident: A new trial was granted by the appellate court and the federal government decided to drop the case. The controversy over the film continued after Linda Lovelace published two volumes of an autobiography in the 1980s. Her claims that she had been forced by her husband to do that movie and that he had raped and beaten her during the filming caused an uproar among feminists.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia