GM Asked to Divest Interest in Pornographic Provider

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - A family organization in Michigan is asking the country's largest corporation, General Motors, to sell its interests in DirecTV after finding the satellite company earns $200 million annually from the pornography trade.

Hughes Electronics is the actual subsidiary of General Motors, but owns DirecTV, a satellite television company that offers pornographic video entertainment to its clients.

Now GM is under fire from the American Family Association of Michigan, whose members have asked that the renowned vehicle manufacturer honor the pledges outlined on its Internet site: to preserve a "commitment to good corporate citizenship."

GM spokespeople did not return telephone calls for comment, and have yet to respond in detail to the AMA's request to divest all interest in DirecTV, according to Gary Glenn, the vice president of the Michigan chapter of the family organization.

"In past times, the distribution of X-rated videos was a fringe industry that a credible, mainstream American corporation would have no part of," said Glenn. "Sadly today, you have the world's largest corporation, General Motors, responsible for owning an X-rated video distribution service that sells more pornographic films each year than [Hustler magazine publisher] Larry Flynt."

GM isn't the only corporation to profit from the porn industry, said Bruce A. Taylor, president and chief counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families.

AT&T, which in the mid-80s refused to align itself with sexually explicit entertainment and gave up a dial-a-porn venture to Nynex communications, ultimately became lured by the potential for profits and now earns millions from its "hot cable channel," Taylor said.

"In the past, people always thought of the heads of these companies as steadfast ... family oriented," he said. "Now, it seems like there's a new breed. It's kind of too bad to see the responsible corporate America setting this kind of example for the next generation."

Taylor said a 1973 law allows for the prosecution of those who deal in any type of sexual material deemed "obscene."

'Even in GM's case, the risk for prosecution is present, he said, as any DirecTV pornography viewer could complain to the authorities and attempt legal action under current obscenity laws, which regulate interstate trade industries and include the airways and postal system.

"Anyone could call the police and prosecutors," said Taylor, who has brought suit in more than 100 such cases himself and now presides over an organization that advises law enforcement officials on such matters. "What [is deemed] obscene is going to be decided by a jury. With GM ... the thing is they never know when the case is going to be prosecuted."

Taylor also advised consumers to exercise their free speech rights and complain about the adult material directly to the marketer.