No Pr0n in Polk County.

From the Orlando Weekly’s Happytown

Our bud Christopher Wilson, the Lakeland Internet entrepreneur busted on obscenity charges last year, is out of jail and will soon be out of business. Wilson accepted a plea deal Jan. 13 that drops all felony charges against him and 295 of the 300 misdemeanor obscenity counts. He’ll get probation for the five remaining counts, and he has to close his website, www.nowthatsfuckedup.com, and turn over the domain name to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Wilson’s site is infamous for trading access to amateur porn for gory shots of war dead and wounded. Speculation on the site (and elsewhere) was rampant that the powers that be didn’t give a rip about the raunch, but wanted to put a stop to the images of carnage. Wilson’s lawyer, Larry Walters, told Orlando Weekly in October the case had the potential to be the next “Pentagon Papers” because of the freedom-of-speech issues it raised.

“What you’ve got here is, you’ve got the military getting upset about the fact that soldiers are sending in graphic images depicting the war in Iraq,” Walters said then. “This doesn’t comport with the Bush administration’s view of how the war should be reported and how it should be depicted. And then the next thing you have is Chris Wilson sitting in jail. I don’t know that the two are connected. Any reasonable person would say something sounds fishy here, and we intend to investigate it.”

After the plea deal, however, Walters was sounding much more pragmatic. He still believes the military wanted the site shut down, but short of someone breaking rank and saying as much, there’s no way to prove it. That and the fact that Polk County prosecutors were considering racketeering charges against Wilson made accepting the plea deal an easy decision. “We would have likely ended up with a conviction and arguing some of these issues on appeal,” says Walters.

Wilson must turn over his domain name to Polk County within 10 days of his formal sentencing. When the sheriff’s office gets their hands on the site, reports The Lakeland Ledger, they will post a notice for all who log on warning that Wilson was criminally prosecuted and that violation of Florida’s obscenity law is a punishable offense. In other words, if you use the Internet to look at naughty bits, the sheriff of Polk County is after you.

As for Wilson, he says he’s moving to Orange County. Wise move, Chris.

For those unfamiliar with the story click here, here, and here.

I agree that it is a good idea that Chris Wilson move to Orange county, though I doubt he will be able to get his site back up. Regardless of what you think of Wilson’s site this is an obvious infringement upon rights of free speech. The case against Wilson was so egregious and wrong that I am disgusted that he had to cop a plea just to stay get out of jail. It’s not like he is the first person to put naughty things on the Internet. Could it be perhaps because soldiers were sending in photos of the war, a war that the government wants to complete editorial control over? Me thinks so.

3 Comments so far

  1. Terry (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    I think this guy sounds like a 100% total asshole with little regard for intelligence or taste, but that is his god given right, and we should all protect it on his behalf and ours. On a side note, hasn’t he ever heard of hosting companies abroad?


  2. FryGuy (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

    Indeed.

    Actually in the interview with his lawyer he said that Wilson hosted with a company whose servers were in Amsterdam I believe and that it was a paid site. This makes the case even more outlandish and an infringement upon first amendment rights.

    You’re right, even if you don’t agree with Wilson’s site you still must recognize the rights violation.


  3. Mike (unregistered) on January 20th, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

    I think you may wish to reconsider your assessment of the guy, as well. His site was not put up specifically to post gory war pictures. As usual, the media missed about 99.99999999% of the useful details about the case, and focused on the .00000001% of useless information most likely to incite the reading/viewing public.

    The site was your average, run of the mill amateur porn site, except the amateurs really were amateur. To get access you could 1) submit amateur photos of yourself (mostly geared towards the females), or 2) pay money. The problem was that a lot of deployed soldiers wanted to get access to the site, but due to a lack of available wives, girlfriends, or credit cards, were unable to do so. So Mr. Wilson implemented a third option: 3) Supply photos of yourself to prove that you are a military personnel currently deployed, and get free access.

    At first there was a flurry of female soldiers sending in photos, but soon the guys began sending back whatever pictures they could find. And that included very real and very accurate depictions of what really goes on in war. The gory photos weren’t solicited or given preference or anything else — it was just one more photo from a deployed soldier.

    As much as I try to avoid conspiracy theories, I have to agree with FryGuy — for the first 5-6 months the site accepted military photos, no one cared. Within weeks of their first “dead civilian” picture, the guy was in jail. It’s hard to conclude this was anything other than an attempt to shut this guy up before us normal people saw how ugly war really was, cuz that worked out so well the last time we were at war.



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