I don’t want to criticize Atlanta and its suburbs, which have given Michael Morrison such a hard time, as prudish or retrograde. We recall that, in the recent US presidential elections, Atlanta has emerged as a bastion of liberalism, and Joe Biden carried Georgia! So, in Georgia, they must be doing something right. It’s not like Mississippi or Arkansas, where opposition to sex-toy stores has been fierce. But in a broader perspective, the US South, in its hostility to sex toys, does stand out a bit.
Lovehoney, Hustler Hollywood, and More
In England, such sex-toy companies as Lovehoney have become major enterprises. Lovehoney has received national entrepreneurial awards, and the English prudes have largely fallen silent in the face of the virtually universal acceptance of sex toys by middle-class families. And we are not just talking about vibrators. Lovehoney accelerated into stardom with its acquisition of commercial rights for all 50 Shades of Grey-themed merchandise. This is S-M! Lovehoney has created a mass market for heavy-duty restraint devices, for floggers and butt plugs, that are now being knowledgeably discussed in the pub culture.
In the US, Hustler Hollywood continues to open stores all over the West, most recently in Boise, Idaho. So, it would be fair to say that much of the United States has no problem with stores in the local community dedicated to adult entertainment.
Sex Toy Industry Isn’t About Criminals
This brings us back to Michael Morrison in Atlanta, who has a significant criminal record and a history of antisocial behaviour. It is unsurprising that the city fathers, having accepted other sex stores, want to shut him down. It is not because he offends people who pass his establishments on their way to Sunday morning church, but because he seems to be in general — not to put too fine a point on it — something of a sleaze bag. I think Hallie Lieberrman, who wrote the Reason piece and has a solid record as a historian of sexuality, may have been captivated by his bulging boxer muscles and tight tee-shirts. It is my impression that most people in the adult industry are honest, upright, law-abiding citizens. Although they were once criminalized, this is certainly no longer the case.
I would be a bit surprised if the lawyers for the adult industry line up behind Mr. Morrison in support.