BALTIMORE - Buckling to pressure from religious groups state legislators, the University of Maryland - College Park has canceled a campus screening of Digital Playground's Pirates II.
"We sent out a press release to 800,000 media outlets about the educational merits of screenign this movie on college campuses, and so many news sources picked it up that it alerted the state legislature," said Digital Playground's director of marketing and publicity, Adella C. "The school decided to take a conservative approach with this cancellation, but they stepped on the First Amendment rights of the students and the community."
The screening of the multiple AVN Award-winning blockbuster was approved by a student programming committee for a Saturday midnight show. The publicity led to a state Senate debate, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"That's really not what Maryland residents send their young students to college campus for, to view pornography,"said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
Although Miller called the screening a misuse of tax dollars at the state university, Digital Playground actually offered the film to students for free. The event would have cost no state or student funds.
"This incident in Baltimore is very sad, but we are thrilled that our film has sparked a very important debate about censorship," Adella told AVN. "The Pirates II screening was unanimously approved by the student programming committee, and there was no legitimate reason to cancel the event."
Nonetheless, Sen. Andrew P. Harris suggested state budget cuts to deny funding to any higher education institution screening a porn film outside of an official academic course.
Miller backed the proposal. With millions in state funds hanging in the balance, UM President C.M. Mote, Jr. caved in and squashed the planned event after a closed-door debate between school administrators and state Senate officials.
Digital Playground has shown Pirates and and its sequel on several major college campuses. The film will play tonight at the University of California - Davis.
When a Senate floor debate on the issue was interrupted by children on an educational field trip, Miller said: "If you kids are wondering what we're doing, we're waiting for you to leave the room. We're going to talk about some bad stuff."
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