From "Anthony's Weener" to Bill Cosby XXX: Inside the twisted world of current-events-themed porn

In a bid for viewers, directors are taking on the headlines of the day -- with pretty disturbing results

Published January 14, 2015 12:00AM (EST)

Anthony Weiner, Bill Cosby          (AP/James Keivom/Matt Rourke/Photo montage by Salon)
Anthony Weiner, Bill Cosby (AP/James Keivom/Matt Rourke/Photo montage by Salon)

When porn director Will Ryder announced last week that he would be making a porn parody about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, I was outraged, along with the entire rest of the Internet. But I also recognized it as part of a trend of porn that comments on current cultural events. These are slightly different from big-budget productions that parody even bigger-budget Hollywood blockbusters -- for example, "Batman XXX: A Porn Parody." These are porn films that tear their subjects from the headlines -- and lately, they seem to be getting more desperate than ever.

Last month, as reported by EJ Dickson, Bang Bros released a video in which a busty blonde walks the streets holding a sign -- just like those of protesters outraged at Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police -- reading, “I can’t breathe.” Before long she is in a van performing oral sex while her nose is plugged and a group of men chant, “She can’t breathe! She can’t breathe!” Earlier last year, Bang Bros’ parent company launched the website “Border Patrol Sex,” which has since been taken down. As a Daily Dot article pointed out, the website launched “around the same time that news stories circulated about sexual assault of female migrants,” the exact same thing being fetishized by the website. There’s even Gamergate smut thanks to a camgirl parodying feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian. (Relatedly, see: The Bang Bros title “Another Feminist Loses out to Us.”)

But not all porn based on current events is so distasteful or troll-y. There are plenty of examples that cater to delicate liberal sensibilities like my own -- take Dirty Boy Video’s Occupy-themed shoot or NakedSword’s "The Cover Up,” a clever parody of San Francisco’s nudity ban. Then there’s Hustler, the king of X-rated spoofs, with titles like “Who's Nailin' Paylin?" and “Gov Love: The Eliot Splitz-her Story."

Politicians are especially ripe for these smutty spoofs when they're -- as they often are -- sexual hypocrites, like former Gov. Spitzer, who fought prostitution while participating in the trade, or liars like Anthony Weiner, who refused to come clean about his infidelity even when confronted with his own dick pic. The former inspired a gay film whose title,"Anthony’s Weener," required zero creativity on the filmmakers' part, as well as a Vivid parody starring his actual sexting partner, Sydney Leathers. It's when punishing the facade of respectability that porn parodies are executed with the most evident glee.

There are hints of this even in parodies about celebrities who never ran on abstinence education or anti-prostitution platforms. Consider Tiger Woods: Within two weeks of his squeaky clean image being shattered by revelations of epic philandering, Adam & Ever began filming "Tyler's Wood." One parody was apparently not enough, thus Wicked Pictures got in on the fun with the enthusiastically titled "Tiger's Got Wood!" The porn industry is regarded as a place of disgrace and ruin, while "respectable" types like Tiger are allowed to enter in their credit card numbers for membership or browse in total anonymity. You see, it's not just the corrupt, lying politicians that these parodies get at, it's the hypocrisy of human culture.

OK, OK, I might be slightly overthinking this. There is a simpler explanation for the popularity of porn parodies, of course: Porn producers are desperate to get people to spend money on their product and name recognition is one way to do that. It's not all that different from online journalism: We're desperate for clicks and cling to the trending topics of the day, thus I've found a way to write about that Bill Cosby porno that everyone's talking about! By going the parody route, you expand your audience beyond just the horn dog looking to get off to the guy looking for a novelty bachelor party gift and beyond. You also distinguish yourself from the hundred-billion other video titles seemingly made from the same small set of X-rated refrigerator poetry magnets. Plus, the characters and story lines are already written for you.

Those things also hold true for porn parodies of popular TV shows and movies. “Game of Bones” is a wee bit more compelling -- not to mention approachable -- than "Hot Cum Sluts 27." There's also a genuine hunger to see the fictional characters we've fallen in love with get busy -- just look at the huge popularity of erotic fan fiction. (On that note, someone please immediately make "Outlander: The XXX Parody." I know what you're thinking, "Wasn't it pornographic enough?" No. The answer is most definitely no.) Some exist simply to destroy everything that we once held dear: Consider, for a moment, "The Little Spermaid.” (Yes, that actually exists.)

The twisted creativity of the titles alone might convince you to fork over some dough: "21 Hump Street," “Down on Abby," “Younger Games," “Harry Twatter," "The DaVinci Load." With a title like "Simpsons: The XXX Parody," you might go viral and even garner mainstream media coverage. It's the same reason you see Vivid regularly publicly offering porn deals to big names. It isn't because they actually believe all of these public figures will decide to do porn, it's because the offer itself generates press.

As the Daily Beast reported last year, "These ribald romps peaked in the ‘90s, decreased in popularity as porn moved away from DVDs and toward the web, then saw a resurgence in the mid-aughts with films like Brady Bunch XXX and Who’s Nailin Paylin?" A porn producer who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being associated in any way with this upcoming Cosby porn, told me that these parodies hit their most recent peak six years ago and then "three year ago everyone jumped in." Now they're just "not selling like before," he said. That might explain why certain producers are taking it to further, tasteless extremes à la "Puddin' My Dick Where it Don't Belong." As my anonymous source told me: "It reeks of desperation."

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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