Porn protest: Westminster hosts a new take on 'sitdown protest'

Oscar Quine blushes as he watches campaigners against new anti-pornography legislation paint the town blue

The first protester to take the plunge and lower her bottom to ankle-level over the face of another, consenting, adult before the Palace of Westminster yesterday gave her name as Lady S.

She had travelled from Brighton with Mr D, upon whose face she sat, to protest along with a hundred or so others – some latex-clad, some wielding sex toys – against new legislation censoring certain sex acts in online pornography.

Face-sitting, deemed dangerous and potentially lethal, is one of them. To emphasise the risk, Mr D wore a snorkel. With slightly impaired speech, he made it known he was on the front line of a battle for civil liberties.

“Although some of the media will try and make this an issue about pornography, I actually think it’s the symptom of a much deeper problem,” he said.

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Protesters at the face-sitting demo

A bank of photographers – three, four-deep – quickly descended to capture the couple’s demonstration against the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014.

Coming into effect on 1 December, the legislation bans a litany of acts in British-made, paid-for porn – including aggressive whipping, female ejaculation and verbal abuse.

“I liked it when you leant backwards,” shouted one photographer, snapping feverishly. Lady S – resplendent in leopard-print leggings, and a red, fur-trimmed jacket – whipped her leg around into a position colloquially known as “reverse cowgirl” to face Westminster Abbey.

 

Whether or not, under the law being protested against, the photographers and cameramen were acting illegally was a point of discussion amongst onlookers. Fortunately, the obscenity lawyer Miles Jackman was on hand to clarify. “No, the activity is legal, but representations of the activity may not be legal,” he explained. “If there is any public nudity, it may be a separate offence.”

His position on the legislation was clear. “What is ridiculous is that our laws are criminalising the representation of activities that are legal to perform. If it’s legal to do it, why can’t it be watched?” he said. “This is, without a doubt, the first step in a concerted campaign for internet censorship and control by the state.”

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman – not present at the protest – defended the amendment as necessary to equalise the nature of paid-for online pornography with that sold in sex shops. “The legislation provides the same level of protection to the online world that exists on the high street in relation to the sale of physical DVDs,” he said. The protest culminated with a record attempt at the largest mass face-sit.

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One of the activists outside parliament

While 30 or so couples took their positions, lyric sheets were handed out and, with organiser, and sex worker of the year, Charlotte Rose conducting, the protesters broke into a rendition of Monty Python’s “Sit On My Face”.

As people rerobed, and camping mats were rerolled, Ms Rose remained defiant, saying: “They haven’t seen the last of us”.

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