Poor Fred Willard

The 76-year-old actor is arrested for allegedly masturbating in an adult theater. Leave the guy alone!

Topics: Pornography, Sex, Fred Willard,

Poor Fred Willard

So 76-year-old actor Fred Willard was arrested earlier this week for allegedly exposing his genitals (read: masturbating) in an adult theater — and?

His attorney has told the media that they are “working vigorously to clear his name in this matter” and Willard himself has called it a “a big misunderstanding.” Maybe the guy didn’t really expose himself in Hollywood’s Tiki Theatre — but here’s the thing: Who cares if he did? He wasn’t caught masturbating on a playground or at a stranger’s window. He was caught, allegedly, masturbating in an adult theater. What else do people do in adult theaters?

That didn’t stop PBS from promptly firing him as the narrator of the new series “Market Warriors” — which, OK, cowardly public relations, no surprise there. But it’s remarkable that someone can be arrested for pleasuring themselves in a porn movie house, isn’t it? California state law says a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he or she “willfully and lewdly … exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby.”

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If someone had complained to the police that they were “offended or annoyed” that would be one thing. But it doesn’t appear any of his fellow patrons complained; Willard was caught in a routine police sweep. The owner of the venue, which was playing such titles as “The Client List Parody,” “Follow Me 2” and “Step Dad No. 2” at the time, says vice cops patrol the theater “as often as four times a day, leading to more than 20 arrests,” according to the New York Daily News.

California’s tax dollars at work, suppressing masturbation in venues known for masturbation!

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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