Bonkers, Unconstitutional Rhode Island Porn Tax Law Faces Backlash From Elizabeth Smart Over Use Of Her Name

from the revictimizing-again-and-again dept

It may be time to do some tests of Rhode Island water for heavy metals, as the state is experiencing a spasm of stupid when it comes to lawmaking. You will recall that there have been two recent proposals for new taxes in Rhode Island, one that would target video games rated "Mature" or higher, and one taxing the removal of porn-blocking software from any internet connected device sold in the state. If both sound almost hilariously unconstitutional to you, don't worry, they are. These laws likely won't pass and, if they do, the Supreme Court will certainly look upon them the same way a professional golfer looks at a two-inch putt. That the work of the anti-porn law is largely that of Chris Sevier, or Mark Sevier when the mood strikes him, who once tried to marry his own computer in protest of gay marriage and has been charged with stalking people twice, gives rise to one question: why are legislators in several states paying any of this any attention at all?

Sadly, it's an open question. Mostly unreported in the past is that Sevier is pitching this law, formally the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act, by slapping Elizabeth Smart's name all over it and promoting it as the Elizabeth Smart Law. Smart, should you not know, was kidnapped when she was a teenager and forced by her captor to do all sorts of inhuman things, including the forced watching of pornography. Smart now often speaks about the harm of some pornography in some situations for some people. What she has not done, apparently, is consented to have her name used to push this particular bill in Rhode Island.

Smart, who was kidnapped from her Utah home as a teenager in 2002, sent a cease-and-desist letter to demand her name be removed from it. And the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an anti-pornography advocacy group, demanded last year that the man behind the legislation, Chris Sevier, stop claiming it supported his work.

Sevier said he chose Smart's name because she has spoken about the negative effects of pornography, including saying that pornography during her captivity "made my living hell worse."

After being told by AP earlier this month that Smart's lawyer was sending a cease-and-desist letter, Sevier said the name "Elizabeth Smart Law" was an "offhand name" that had been given to the legislation by lawmakers. The bill is also being promoted as the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.

Cute, but Sevier's site still has Elizabeth Smart's name slapped across the top of his website he's using to push the bill at the time of this writing. Regardless of who came up with the idea to use her name, Sevier has used it, is using it, and by all accounts isn't intending to stop using it anytime soon.

Asked if he would take her name off the site, Sevier wouldn't say.

"It's not that we will take it down or won't take it down," he said. "It's irrelevant."

And, yet, not irrelevant to the person who's name Sevier is using so brazenly. Let's not forget that Smart is herself a victim of horrible, horrible crimes. She has since made a job of advocating for child safety and also contributes to news organizations. Whatever you might think of her stances, she is a smart, courageous woman who has tried to make something meaningful out of an absolutely awful deck of cards she was dealt. This pernicious continued use of her name should certainly qualify as re-victimization.

So, again, why are legislators working with this clown?

Filed Under: chris sevier, elizabeth smart, laws, porn filter, pornography, rhode island, tax


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 12:51pm

    So, again, why are legislators working with this clown?

    Because it is the sort of law that keeps voters who do not think about issues voting for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 27 Mar 2018 @ 2:24pm

      Re: So, again why are legislators working with this clown?

      Because they're clowns too?
      Oh, and that's not the Rhode Island state capitol, it's a clown car that they've all managed to jam themselves into.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2018 @ 12:26am

      Re:

      Neither Sevier nor the legislators of Rhode Island think Smart was raped and tortured enough during her original ordeal, and the rape and torture they're inflicting on Smart is for a good cause.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 27 Mar 2018 @ 12:59pm

    A missed memo....

    The "Elizabeth Smart Hates This Law" law!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 1:03pm

    It's the same reason SESTA passed both houses even with actual victims of sex trafficking saying it would harm future victims. Grandstanding for moralist dumbasses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 1:22pm

    So who can think of an interesting thing we can connect Chris Seviers name to? I mean we all remember Santorum don't we?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 1:27pm

    Law makers should have to sign the Hippocratic Oath

    First do no harm... what seems to have become standard is more like slap a bunch of stuff you came up with drunk together with a bunch of dishonest and harmful stuff your backers want and then say "well that's not what we meant to happen.." and then say the courts will sort it out, which even if it where true, which it isn't, still causes a lot of harm to people trapped by the law they wrote and wastes untold time and money in challenges, re-trials reversals etc

    How about this try to create a law that has a specific purpose and defined articulatable public good, then write a law that looks like it could accomplish that goal, no law will every be 100% but western democracies are not even breaking two digits most of the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Law makers should have to sign the Hippocratic Oath

      Apparently they do not take oaths seriously, what would making them swear another oath they have no intention of honoring?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re: Law makers should have to sign the Hippocratic Oath

        There could be a law that made it a condition of being sworn in... While I take your point something must change, this path leads to death camps, soylent, revolution or all of them

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 2:33pm

    so wait.... let me get this straight...

    Sevier (whichever one it is) is exploiting Elizabeth Smart's name sexually by putting it on an anti-porn bill? Dude, you are lucky a C&D is ALL you are getting at this point. Stay classy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 3:27pm

    AND, IT'S OVER! Don't bother to comment further.

    Leader of whatever has shunted this off to nowhere.

    Making it a Typical Techdirt piece: anomaly quickly ended.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 4:24pm

      congratulations you’ve found your one millionth anomaly!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2018 @ 9:31pm

      Re:

      Except that the name remains unchanged, so hell knows where you think the anomaly has "ended".

      Personally I like how the concept of porn has you twisted in knots. The less accessible you make pornography, the less funding they get to aid your precious MPAA in forcing in shittily written copyright law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan, 27 Mar 2018 @ 3:30pm

    Alcohol

    I think we should ban alcohol. I can use the name of every man woman and child beaten by a drunk spouse, killed by a drunk driver, or died of alcohol poisoning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Mar 2018 @ 3:31pm

    Nice priorities

    'Victimization is bad... unless I'm doing it, in which case I suppose I might stop... maybe...'

    Told to stop using someone else's name to push his agenda, he hems and haws that you know the name's not really important(belied by the fact that he used and continues to use it in the first place for obvious reasons).

    I guess you can add 'hypocrite' to the list of dubious titles he's earned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 28 Mar 2018 @ 7:14am

    Ban Law Names

    If I had my way, I'd put a stop to this nonsense of 'naming' proposed laws and bills.

    Just refer to them as HR 1911 or SB 247. Whatever the numbering convention the state or federal legislature uses.

    Giving them names is just propaganda and designed to make it difficult for reluctant politicians to oppose them or vote against them.

    It's politically a lot easier to vote against SB 247 than it is to vote against "The Saving Our Sweet & Tiny Tiny Babies Act" or the "Patriotism, Mom & Apple Pie Act".

    Just stop it. Both sides of the aisle. Everyone stop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 28 Mar 2018 @ 12:50pm

    Chris Seviers. . .

    The Chris Seviers domestic animal sexual protection and Anti-Exploitation act. . I'll leave the rest to you.

    Leave teenage rape victims alone. . .Ahole!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Name, 30 Mar 2018 @ 6:09am

    So after all that she had been through it isn't over.

    Now she is being used by a politician for his little crusade.

    These men have no morals.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 31 Mar 2018 @ 8:47am

    Welcome to the Time of the Villains

    "So, again, why are legislators working with this clown?"

    When the bad guys write the laws, its the innocent who suffer the results of Law and Order.

    Eventually, even the thickest of folks will start to notice the trend, as more and more criminals join the ranks of the lawmakers and more and more innocents suffer from their machinations.

    As the number of criminals at the top increases, the easier it becomes for other criminals to join in on the fun and the more difficult it becomes for anyone of integrity.

    Build a society where only the most ruthless, inhumane and self-oriented individuals have any hope of reaching the top, and you will indeed end up right here.

    Just before it all falls apart, again.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    christopher silver, 22 Aug 2018 @ 5:45pm

    Here is an act that will punish censorship

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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