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Author of The Pornographer's Daughter providing commentary on pornography, life and much more.

Filtering by Category: Deep Throat

The FBI and Me

Kristin Battista-Frazee

A large manilla envelope finally arrived on my doorstep from the FBI in response to my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about my father 18 months ago. I had always heard the comical stories about the surveillance of my family. Like when our neighbors mentioned to my mother how nice it was “our friends” picked up our weekly trash. Alarmed by the discovery, my mother staked out the front of our house in Plantation, Florida coyly peaking though the living room window on garbage day. As soon as she saw the dark sedan pull up and a man jump out to throw our bags into the trunk of the car, she hit the carpet.

Also the clicking sounds my parents heard while talking on the phone and FBI agent, Bill Kelly, mentioning to my father in court, “the agents said your wife was very pretty.”  We were like the early pioneers of the Bush administration’s terrorist surveillance program. I asked my mother what she thought about the FBI’s intense interest. She said, “they (the FBI) just found out I had a very boring life.”

Now here in my home more than 35 years later was proof that our movements were monitored by the federal government. As I read the more than 300 pages the package contained it seemed like an endless query. It described FBI agents that traveled all over the country to interrogate every movie theater owner from Montana to Maine in person. They flashed pictures of my father and asked if they knew unsub “Anthony Michael Battista” AKA Tony B and if he had provided them copies of Deep Throat.  Most people answered they didn’t know my father and a handful of others acknowledging they did.

The purpose of the FBI query seemed consistent with the prosecutors’ relentless effort to compile evidence to build a national conspiracy case. The vast information gathering was a terrible waste of tax dollars and in the end we know it never stopped pornography.

For $19.35 the FBI will release another 300 pages to me they have on record about my father. When I get it, I’ll let you know what I find.

FBI tried in vain to stop 'Deep Throat' film

Is Pornography the Chicken or the Egg to Broken Relationships?

Kristin Battista-Frazee

A study, The Effects of Pornography published last month by the Family Research Council claims that pornography “is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness.” Studies like this often claim pornography is addictive and the cause of failed relationships but rarely does it mention that treating addiction to would curb ones abuse of pornography. I don’t doubt that if someone spends long periods of time away from their family watching pornography it will have a negative impact on relationships. But the mere existence of pornography doesn’t explain why relationships fall apart. Relationships also deteriorate if someone is addicted to drugs, alcohol, shopping, work, gambling, and food. Should we ban these things from society? Addictions are tricky, elusive and not easily defined. It is puzzling why one person can have a glass a wine and someone else needs to drink an entire bottle. Or why some can recreationally or therapeutically use pornography without a problem and others can not. The degrees of addiction are still being discovered. A person’s inability to have insight about their problems or access to appropriate treatment services here in lies our greatest challenge.

Addiction is a serious undertreated problem in this country.  Addiction to drugs alone afflicts more that 25 million people [1]. Although free self-help groups are a critical resources to help people with addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, overeating and pornography, access to professional treatment for addictions is difficult for the under insured and uninsured. These services are also chronically underfunded.

So instead of blaming the destruction of marriage and relationships on the existence of pornography we should take a harder look at the addiction aspect of this debate. Let’s raise awareness and not stigmatize those who seek help, assist people to get access to treatment and stop blaming the “IT” and start recognizing the totality of the problem in failed and unhealthy relationships.


Porn ‘n Pizzelles

Kristin Battista-Frazee

The topics pornography and pizzelles are not connected but in my mind inextricably linked and remind me of my Grandma Maria. I know sounds strange, right? Let me explain. My grandmother is NOT in the porn industry but she is an indelible part of my family’s story during the Deep Throat days. She went to see the movie Deep Throat and visited my dad’s strip club the Golden 33. She was on a relentless pursuit to protect her family and do her own investigation and understand first hand what her son-in-law was up to. She is tough, smart and any son-in-law’s worst nightmare.  I still marvel at my grandmother’s progressive and even eccentric ways. A perfect example of her eccentricity was her pet ocelot Kitty. This South American jungle cat lived with her in the heart of the city. I feel fortunate to have this larger than life character in my family. Grandma Maria is also intertwined with all my Christmas memories. Even after we moved to Florida we always spent the holidays at Grandma Maria’s house in South Philadelphia. Every year my Grandpa Frank was in charge of making her Italian pizzelle cookie recipe. Grandpa Frank would lock Kitty in a cabinet (no joke) so I could come into the kitchen to watch him labor with the hand blender to combine the dough and patiently press individual cookies in the pizzelle iron. It took forever to make the hundreds of cookies my family would devour within a couple of hours on Christmas day. I still make these cookies every Christmas and the smell of anise takes me back to the many holidays spent in Grandma Maria’s kitchen watching my grandfather make these cookies.  So in honor of my grandparents I am sharing Grandma Maria’s pizzelle recipe with all of you. You need a pizzelle iron to make them and can find this tool in any department store. Mangia! 

Makes 70-75 pizzelles

1 ¼ cups of sugar

6 eggs

4 teaspoons of baking powder

2 tablespoons of anise oil or extract (World Market carries this)

2 sticks of butter or margarine

3 cups of flour

Melt butter and set aside to cool

Beat the eggs with hand blender or standing mixer and add sugar gradually

Add cooled butter

Add Anise

Add flour and baking soda

Coat the inside of the pizzelle iron with cooking spray.

On a pre-heated pizzelle iron place a tablespoon in the center and press.

You will have to experiment with the heat of the iron as to how long to cook.

To remove use a fork to peal the cookie off and place flat on a counter to cool.

Happy Holidays!

The Other Side of the Memphis Heat

Kristin Battista-Frazee

As I piece together the details of the Deep Throat trials, the lawyers involved in this case are essential to my family’s story. After all their actions are the reason I have a story to tell. I recently contacted Brett Stein who was one of the attorneys that represented my father in the 1976 Deep Throat trial.  It was easy to find him.  A Google search revealed he was a practicing attorney in Memphis. I dialed the number I found and a gentleman answered, “Brett Stein’s office.” 

I said, “Is Brett Stein in?”

“This is. How can I help you?” Brett said with a charming southern drawl.

I was surprised it was him. I went from slightly distracted checking emails to immediately trying to snap back in to focus. I stammered to speak and said, “Hi, you don’t know me but…um… did you represent Anthony Battista in the Deep Throat trial in 1976?” It was quiet on the other end so I just kept talking. “It was the trial with Harry Reems, the pornographic movie, do you remember? Was this your case?”

I sounded like an idiot.

“Who may I ask are you?” said Brett. 

A fair question I thought.

“I’m Anthony Battista’s daughter…..Kristin Battista. I think you may have represented my dad in this trial?”

I realized I should have said my name first.

Brett responded, “Well, I’ll be…,” he said. “I just can’t believe it after all this time. I certainly remember that trial. I did represent your father. How did you find me?”

I was relieved I found the right person and he sounded friendly. I replied, “The Internet. You can find anything on the Internet these days.”

Brett asked, “Is your dad still alive?”

I chuckled and said happily, “Yes, he is still alive. He had heart surgery this year but doing well.”

We spent the next 15 minutes talking about what a kick it was, more than 30 years after this case, to get a call from me. Brett was gracious and wanted to know what my dad was up to. He was surprised he was still in the pornography business. I told him about the family memoir I am writing and we agreed to talk another time at greater length.

We spoke about eight weeks later. He eloquently described that just because this case was highly publicized didn’t make it more important than any of his other cases.  He viewed all of his cases as big cases not just the ones that got media attention. 

He said, “You can’t let that sort of thing [media] bother you when you are trying to do your job. I understand the media has their job to do but so do I.”

He seemed so different from the assistant US attorney, Larry Parrish that prosecuted the case.  I had a stack of clips on my desk about Larry. He was known as good Christian and dedicated to getting rid of pornography. He had many monikers; the Memphis Heat, Mr. Clean and the Smut Raker and described as giving fiery speeches to juries. He was  written about like a modern day John Cochran.

Brett is quite the opposite from Larry the “Memphis Heat.” He seemed unassuming and did not seek the spotlight. He was unfazed by the national media attention around this case and reflected a devotion to the cause of first amendment rights.

My dad found Brett Stein and his partner Phillip Kuhn (more on him later, I talked to him too) in the yellow pages. My father described Brett as a southern Jewish gentleman, short with red hair and he always wore his cowboy boots to court. He was a young, single guy in his thirties at the time of the trial and he and Phillip spent many more hours on the case then they charged my dad in fees.  

This will be one of many conversations I’ll have with Brett. My father spoke highly of him and his partner Phillip and so far I can see why.

Let’s Talk About Pornography Again

Kristin Battista-Frazee

The latest headline about pornography jumped off the page in the style section of the Washington Post, Publicly a Whole New Lewdness — an article about watching porn in public. Now this was a compelling story in an otherwise boring news day. The pornography industry today is a far cry from when people lined up around the block to watch Deep Throat in a movie theater and when my father was federally indicted for distributing that film in the 1970s. It has transformed over time; from VCRs bringing adult material into people’s homes to porn content made available in the palm of our hands. IPhones, laptops and Internet on planes makes it possible for everyone to have immediate access to porn.  So the same conversation about what is decent and appropriate happens again 30 years later. With all this new technology, didn’t we know this day would come? Even the people who publicly protest it have dabbled in the obscene.

Several states have passed legislation on what they are calling “drive-by porn”. Could the obscenity trials in the 1970s happen again? Community standard laws that give local communities the right to determine what is obscene is still on the books but enforced haphazardly. If you’re on a plane going from DC to Alabama, what locality determines what we watch at 27,000 feet? Could this issue fall under indecent exposure laws? Or should viewing porn in public be left to decorum? These are vexing questions.

It is unacceptable for a child to be subjected to this material. My father, who has been in the pornography business for 30 years never exposed me to adult material when I was a child. It was even hard to find it around the house. Trust me I looked. I would also be uncomfortable if the guy or girl next to me on a plane started up the latest Jenna Jameson DVD.  She’s a beautiful woman…just not my thing. I would watch something in the John Hughes genre.  Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles is more my speed.

The retail pornography business has declined from 12 billion dollar in the US in 2007 to 6 billion dollars in 2009.[1] But this doesn’t mean that the interest in pornography is decreasing just accessed differently. Based on the Experian Hitwise sample of 10 million U.S. Internet visitors porn is one of the most popular categories of online content.[2]

So as these questions danced around in my head. I needed an expert opinion…my dad. 

He said, “those people [who play porn in public] are indiscreet. It’s wrong, they shouldn’t do things like that.” 

I wasn’t surprise with his take on this.  He’s a reserved guy. But I was surprised at his following remarks.

“I would be a lot happier if they outlawed playing porn in public. It would help the retail business. If porn was less accessible my business would be better. Now that you can get free porn anywhere it is not as big of a deal to go into a store. When I was one of the few guys that sold pornography, business was good. I knew the Internet was the information superhighway but this is ridiculous.”

Could I be hearing this right? From the man that fought the early legal battles for the first amendment rights. I was a little taken a back and questioned his stance. It’s because of him and others that fought those battles that there is even ready access to pornography today.

As I reflected on our conversation, his reaction made more sense. My father understands, and so should everyone else, pornography is a business and he is an entrepreneur. He always viewed it in this way. When law enforcement authorities tried to shut down his business he did what he had to do to protect his livelihood.

So where ever the pornography industry might go next we can only speculate but one thing is certain it will be sure to make headlines.