Porn in the Closet?
Mitt Romney's Secret Life as a Pornographer
By DAVID ROSEN
The summer scandal about Mitt Romney's role as a closet pornographer appears to be resurfacing as the Iowa Republican caucuses near. While never raised during the Republican debates, the rumor has been gaining momentum as local press and Christian groups continue to circulate the tale of Romney's complicity in the offering of pornographic programming while on the board of the Marriott hotel chain. It seems to be contributing to the steady erosion of Romney's electoral standing among evangelical Christian Republican voters.
"Mitt Romney regularly denounces the 'cesspool' of pornography on the campaign trail," wrote Ben Weyl in the "Iowa Independent." "But recently, those would be supporters have been grumbling that Romney did not do enough to shut down hardcore movie options in Marriott hotels while he was on the company's board for nearly a decade."
The story of Romney's link to porn programming broke in July by AP reporter Glen Johnson. Romney served on the Marriott board from 1992 to 2001 and was chairman of its audit committee. During Romney's tenure, Marriott contracted with On Command to provide in-room television services; in 2006, On Command was acquired by LodgeNet. When questioned by AP, Romney claimed that the issue of pornography never came up at board meetings and insisted that he did not know how much money porn generated for the hotel. Ignorance is bliss.
Romney received an annual fee of $25,000 and stock options while serving on the Marriott board. He also received a campaign contribution of $80,000 arranged by J.W. Marriot.
When the story first broke, the Christian right was up in arms. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, denounced the Marriott board and, indirectly Romney: "They have to assume some responsibility. It's their hotels, it's their television sets."
Kim Lehman, president of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, warned: "If he [Romney] had the opportunity to protect families and didn't take the opportunity, he's going to be viewed as a hypocrite." She added, "[i]f it's true if he could have, but chose not to and to say you're for families and for children, when you have a tremendous opportunity to take, these are all issues he's going to be faced with."
Daniel Weiss, media analyst for James Dobson's "Focus on the Family," added to the rancor: "If [Romney] made money off pornography in the past, is he going to turn a blind eye to it if he's president? Because as chief executive of the nation, it's his responsibility to make sure our nation's obscenity laws are efficiently and vigorously enforced."
"Marriott is a major pornographer," intoned Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), an Ohio-based anti-pornography group. "And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography."
This lovely bit of nastiness was bound to occur. Cliff Schecter was one of the first bloggers to point out this defect in Multiple Choice Mitt character. Like most Republicans Mitt is against porno unless he can make a buck out of it. I wonder how the head muckity-muck of the magic underwear set Mr Gorden B. Hinckley feels about stakeholder Mitt's sources of income? Is is asking for his 10% cut of the porno action?