Pandora Blake, award-winning activist and feminist pornographer, has won her appeal to Ofcom against ATVOD and can reinstate her site Dreams of Spanking, which was banned under the AVMS guidelines in August 2015, triggering widespread anger among free speech advocates as well as porn fans.
The controversial Audiovisual Media Services Regulations came into effect in December 2014, banning consensual sex acts from online porn including facesitting, female ejaculation, and spanking that leaves marks. Pandora Blake took part in the facesitting protest outside Westminster, and also spoke on Newsnight and Women’s Hour challenging the sexist and regressive nature of the regulations. She believes that speaking out made her a target for censorship.
ATVOD – the Association for TV on Demand – were tasked with regulating online porn in 2010. While porn critics often focus on the mainstream industry, ATVOD made a point of targeting independent niche and fetish porn producers, including a disproportionate number of female filmmakers. In January 2016, Ofcom shut down the quango amid rumours that it was acting beyond its remit.
Pandora Blake said:
The point of Dreams of Spanking was to make ethical porn based on my own fantasies. I’m not ashamed of being kinky and there’s no harm in adults sharing consensual BDSM films. The AVMS regulations effectively criminalised my sexuality. I was singled out because I criticised the new laws. ATVOD tried to shut me up, but they failed.
Now I’ve won my appeal I feel vindicated. It proves that it’s worth standing up to bullies. The war against intrusive and oppressive state censorship isn’t over, but this decision is a landmark victory for feminist porn, diversity and freedom of expression.