Larry Flynt Hustles Noam Chomsky!
Think Chomsky supports Hustler? Think again!
Hustler interviews Noam Chomsky in their September 2005 issue as an intellectual visionary. If you think he did this with informed consent, read on.
When Noam Chomsky appears in Hustler under the headline "Rage Against the Machine" he is being exploited by Larry Flynt to appear to be endorsing the machine of corporate power that promotes the sexual abuse of women and children. Larry Flynt lies, he misleads, he does everything he can to look as if he has more support from the Left than he unfortunately has. It is clear that he misled Noam Chomsky about the nature of his publication in order to include an interview with Chomsky in Hustler. Chomsky was deceived and manipulated in order to gain his "consent" to appear in the pages of Hustler. Should we be surprised that Flynt cares so little about meaningful consent? No. However we are seriously concerned about the political ramifications of Chomsky's appearance in Hustler.
Chomsky's appearance in Hustler steals his tremendous legitimacy thus masking a corporate entity that profits from racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and misogynistic imagery.
While we continue to respect Chomsky for the good work he's done, and while we mean to expose the sleazy methods that Hustler used to gain his meaningless consent, we also want to deepen the conversation with Chomsky, regarding pornography and other forms of oppression against women. Until we found out about the fraud that took place we were deeply dismayed to find him in Hustler. Now we want to explore in dialog with Chomsky how he and the Left can critique and expose the corporate pornography industry's politics.
It's shocking to feminist activists that the man who wrote Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies has never heard of what was once (and was for some time) the third top selling men's magazine in mainstream America. Chomsky's lack of initiative in actively combating the misogyny of the porn industry, is alarming. It's time to wake up.
We ask Noam Chomsky to understand that betrayals, however inadvertent, must be avoided and that trust must be repaired through meaningful dialog and to take more responsibility for where his work appears by being more deliberate.
We hope to hear more from him in the near future about his expanding understanding of pornography's harm. Further, we ask him to educate himself by reading serious feminist analysis of this harm together with a class analysis of the corporate power structure that grows ever richer and more powerful by profiting from the exploitation of women through the trafficking of women's lives.
We are counting on Chomsky to be the scholar and activist that he has always been. --Nikki Craft
Below, the text of my email exchanges with Noam Chomsky.
To: Noam Chomsky
To: Nikki Craft
From: Noam Chomsky
Subject: Re: Your interview in Hustler Magazine
I think you may be misled about interviews. I give 100s of them, but the idea of payment for them has never arisen, and their are no contracts or other arrangements.
I was asked by Znet whether there is an interview in Hustler, and if so, how it came about, and will simply send to you the response I wrote to them, which I presume they will post if there is indeed an interview.
[Noam Chomsky's explanation of how his article came to be published in the September issue of Hustler Magazine. This was cced in his first email [left] to Nikki Craft]
I give 100s of interviews. I received a letter from someone named Sinclair, requesting an interview for a journal that she described as "the most politically progressive, outspoken entertainment magazine today. We regularly feature exposés and articles from such writers as Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston; Greg Palast, the BBC reporter who broke the 2000 Election scandal in Florida; and Susie Bright, the famed feminist, author and activist. In the last year, we‚ve exposed war profiteers, the Bush/Saudi royal family connections, election fraud, a nuclear waste
I wrote the usual form response asking her to contact my office to see if she could arrange an interview. There apparently was an interview, routine I suppose. I don't remember anything about it. That's the last I heard. I never got a transcript to look at, as is the normal procedure, so I assumed they had dropped the plan.
When I was informed that Hustler was planning to publish something -- what, I do not know, since they never contacted me with their proposed version -- and was told what the journal was, I had a letter sent to Sinclair insisting that they withdraw whatever they are planning to publish because they had completely misrepresented themselves, and also making it clear that I never would have agreed if I had known what the journal was; and that aside, they were not authorized to publish anything. There was no response.
That completes the series of events.
Of course, it is inconceivable to carry out investigations of the innumerable journals, radio programs, documentary producers, etc., that ask for interviews. Sometimes that naturally leads to errors. For example, very recently, I had an interview with a leading neo-Nazi journal in Germany that I'd never heard of, and that had presented itself to me as a mainstream journal of political affairs. Neo-Nazism, needless to say, is no small matter, particularly in Germany. They did send me a transcript to edit, in the normal fashion. When the interview appeared, I received a number of letters from people in Germany who were quite surprised. I described the facts, and that ended the matter.
To: Noam Chomsky
From: Nikki Craft
[With his reply interspersed]
Subject: Re: Your interview in Hustler Magazine
Dear Professor Chomsky:
Thank you for your prompt response to my first email. I am certain that it will be a relief to many people to know that you attempted to stop the publication of your interview in Hustler. Just a couple quick clarifications: did the interviewer identify the Hustler name to you or did she use a fake name?
Could you explain why you did not want your interview to appear in Hustler? I have noticed that the trenchant class analysis utilized by many leftists seems to melt away when the object of concern is the multi-billion dollar pornography industry that profits from racist and violent sexual imagery. I hope you might comment on this.
Aura Bogado wrote an article entitled "Hustling the Left" that discusses the cooptation of the left by pornographers. For exercising her free speech rights, she was rewarded by having her name featured in Hustler next to images of women bound in rope and tied down on top of cars like hood ornaments or shot deer. Given that Hustler has recently declared a "war on feminists," I am quite concerned.
Thank you for your time,
P.S. I am not "misled" about Hustler paying for interviews. Larry Flynt has bragged publicly in his interview with Amy Goodman that he pays for interviews. The "follow the money" rule applies to Hustler, as it does elsewhere else in corporate America. It is good to hear that you did not take money from Hustler for the interview, nor do you get paid for your interviews elsewhere.
July 4, 2005
Dear Professor Chomsky:
1. After the fact, besides as you stated, Hustler representatives misrepresented themselves to you, what was it you found out about Hustler that caused you not to want your interview to appear in Hustler?
What standards do you employ regarding where you want your work not to appear, and where you will refuse to allow it to appear?
Reworded from my last letter:
2. In your opinion what is the effect when the trenchant class analysis utilized by many leftists seems to melt away when the object of concern is the multi-billion dollar pornography industry that profits from racist and violent sexual imagery, and especially when these people do interviews, work for and cooperate with the likes of Hustler Magazines and Larry Flynt?
July 5, 2005
I'll try to rephrase my question: I'm not attempting to misrepresent you, but I believe I can conclude from this exchange that you do employ a standard against publishing in pornographic publications that degrade women.
If that is the case, thank you. In your opinion what is the effect of leftists who are publishing in and cooperating with such publications. Do you think this is a political mistake? Do you see it damaging to our political movement in any way? Any other potential for harm that you could point out?
Sincerely, Nikki Craft
July 13, 2005
No one should be surprised that I never heard of the journal. I pay almost no attention at all to mass culture. When I'm asked for interviews, I quite commonly have never heard of the journal, or the people. If they present themselves as reasonable, I generally agree to go along. There's no conceivable way for me to research those who approach me, unless I want to sharply cut back interviews, almost entirely with activist organizations (most of which I've never heard of). True, it sometimes leads to wrong decisions, as in the case of the neo-Nazi journal shortly before, which I think I mentioned to you. Left activists who were upset by that handled the matter the proper way, I think. Describing the facts, and condemning the journal; story over. And I need not stress that neo-Nazism is no slight matter, particularly in Germany.
This cartoon [above] of Professor Noam Chomsky published in Hustler magazine is ugly. With its caption, Hustler reveals how badly it will distort the principles of free speech for its own ugly aggrandizement. The caption claims that the revered professor, high profile dissident, and most important intellectual alive chooses to converse with a reporter from a magazine that degrades and abuses women. It thereby attempts to clothe Hustler in the prestige of Chomsky's important political work. In fact, Chomsky never "sat down with Hustler" for this interview. Instead, the reporter lied to Chomsky about the publication in order to get him to talk. The conversation was, therefore, not "frank"*it was coerced through falsehoods. Nothing free about that speech.
[Above: In the September, 2005 issue of Hustler we see that Christopher Hitchen and Noam Chomsky are portrayed for their political views as intellectuals while nude photos of Sheryl Crow are published without her permission and expressly against her will.]
[Below: One of Hustler's Pedophilic Ads. Flynt also publishes "Barely Legal". The National Institute of Health has said Hustler regarding pedophilia contributes “a disservice to a serious social problem.”]
Comment about this page.