Fox concludes Larry Flynt's 'Palin porno' is legal
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday October 13, 2008

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Publisher Larry Flynt has announced that Hustler is releasing a porn film featuring a Sarah Palin lookalike and a tank full of stranded Russian soldiers.

Fox's Megyn Kelly was immediately sure that "your average American -- it's offensive, it's disgusting it's dirty -- they wouldn't want to see it." But her real question was, "Is this whole thing actually legal?"

In a consideration of that question on Monday, Kelly turned first to defense attorney David Wohl, who suggested that, although Palin would be best advised to ignore the film, she might "seek a preliminary injunction at least preventing its release before the election."

Wohl acknowledged that the 1988 case of Hustler v. Jerry Falwell had established that celebrities have no rights to sue when it comes to parody, but he asserted that if the film could be viewed as "a political hit piece," Palin might have "a good cause for action."

"Might there be some actual confusion to the non-educated mind out there?" asked Kelly -- who is apparently well-familiar with the Fox audience -- of legal analyst Mercedes Colwin.

"That's certainly a tremendous stretch," Colwin replied. "There's absolutely no confusion here. It is definitely parody like David said. It is protected by First Amendment."

"It even pokes fun at our network," Colwin continued. "It's called 'Faux News.' And actually Bill O'Reilly stars in it as well."

Wohl, however, wasn't completely convinced by the first amendment argument, saying that the Hustler case involved a fake ad which was clearly over-the-top parody, while "this is a movie." He went on to suggest, perhaps unfortunately, that "there's going to be an undercurrent suggesting somehow that this is the way Sarah Palin lives her life, that there's some deep dark secret she has."

A partial script of the movie which has appeared online makes it clear that the film definitely has elements of political parody. In the opening scene, the actress playing Palin flings herself on a tanning-bed repairman, pronouncing, "You're in luck. I fully support off-shore and on-shore drilling. ... God almighty! You are hung like a moose. Now I have to eat ya! ... Pound me until my head is so empty that I can't even remember the name of the one Supreme Court case I actually know!"

"Whatever you think of Larry Flynt, the man knows his First Amendment," Kelly concluded.

This video is from Fox America's Newsroom, broadcast October 13, 2008.

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