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Why the Alt-Right Thinks Porn Is a Jewish Conspiracy

A few months ago, a user on a bodybuilding supplement forum asked if it was weird that he had a childhood crush on Lola Bunny from Space Jam.

“It’s not weird,” someone assured him. In fact, this someone added, there’s “a conspiracy from sinister guys at the top” to pornify popular culture, in order to get young boys so addicted to pornographic images that they develop “bad social skills” and are too weak and distracted to resist the elites in power. “Looks like it worked,” agreed another user, who then pressed ENTER 144 times and posted a gif of a fly rubbing its front legs together, with a hook-nosed, yarmulked Jewish caricature photoshopped on its head.

How did this bodybuilding forum go from Lola Bunny screenshots to anti-Semitic memes in less than 24 hours? Well, it turns out that despite the stereotype that alt-righters spend hours in their parents’ basements watching tentacle hentai, many of them are theoretically anti-porn. More specifically, they believe porn is a Jewish conspiracy to weaken white men and, if all goes according to plan, destroy Western civilization. (Honestly, this isn’t that different from how a lot of mainstream commentators talk about porn — but more on that later.)

I became aware of the alt-right theory of smut on February 11, 2018, the day after New York Times columnist Ross Douthat called for an outright ban on pornography. A conservative writer I follow on Twitter agreed with Douthat, and I replied with some practical concerns about what might happen if the porn industry became an unregulated black market. Then someone with the handle @SwiFT__1889 (a simultaneous tribute to alt-right icons Taylor Swift and Charles Lindbergh) wrote this:

Lindy TayTay’s impassioned stance took me aback. All of men? The well-being of the masses? What was going on here?

After some clicking around, I found they’d recently retweeted Paul Nehlen, the white nationalist running for Paul Ryan’s seat in Congress, and the tweet linked to a video titled “The Jewish Role in the Porn Industry.” That same day, February 11, Twitter suspended Nehlen’s account, and hundreds of his followers changed their avatar to Nehlen’s and used hashtags like #FreeNehlen and #JeSuisPaulNehlen.

The video in question was made by Mark Collett, former director of publicity for the British National Party (check out this 2002 video of baby Mark being interviewed by baby Russell Brand, featuring the line, “I just missed a call for you, ya Nazi!”). Since it was posted nine months ago the video’s garnered 80,000 views.

Collett’s argument is this: Jews have had a disproportionate presence in the porn industry since at least the 1970s. (There’s some truth to this, as we’ll see in a bit.) And they aren’t just motivated by profit — they actually mean to harm Western civilization, too. Young white men, Collett claims, become addicted to porn at an early age, to the point where they’re less and less interested in, or even capable of, actual sex. Furthermore, these young men’s addiction drives them to pursue ever greater highs, as the porn they used to watch no longer works for them. So they end up hooked on gay and trans porn, and interracial porn featuring black men and white women. This is why “cuck,” the porn trope of a white man forced to watch his wife have sex with a black man, became a popular alt-right term for anyone to their left.

The goal of this addictive material, supposedly, is to neuter and desexualize white men, and ultimately doom the white race. This is where the alt-right theory of porn ties into the larger theory of white genocide. The immigration of people of color into Europe and North America, coupled with the declining birth rate among white couples, will render white people a minority, if not altogether extinct, and then Jews will be the only high-IQ race left in the West, leaving them free to control the black and brown masses.

Collett is far from alone in his views. He’s joined by white nationalist and alt-right voices like David Duke, Kevin MacDonald, Identity Dixie, the Daily Stormer and this random YouTube commenter:

This was a response, by the way, to a video posted by The Golden One, a Swedish bodybuilder-fascist who frequently tweets out memes like this:

“It’s hard to find someone on the alt-right who doesn’t basically buy the ‘Jews created porn’ idea,” says Daniel E. Harper, who knows the ins and outs of the Alt-Right Extended Universe better than anyone who isn’t, you know, a Nazi. And according to Harper, the alt-right is generally in agreement that the purpose of porn is “to corrupt ‘the host society,’ i.e. white society.”

What’s the alt-right’s evidence? They like to point out that in 2016 Israel passed a law blocking all internet porn sites by default, requiring users to contact their ISP if they want access. In other words, the alt-right claims, Jews know porn is bad for you; they only want to spread the virus to other societies.

Another piece of evidence the alt-right cites over and over again is an article published in the Jewish Quarterly 14 years ago, written by Nathan Abrams (now a film studies professor at Bangor University in Wales with a new book out on Stanley Kubrick). Abrams argues that Jews have been, and continue to be, disproportionately influential in the American porn industry. He discusses such figures as Reuben Sturman, who built an adult-bookstore empire and became the nation’s largest smut distributor during the 1970s and 1980s; and Al Goldstein, the Screw magazine cofounder who first outed J. Edgar Hoover and gave Deep Throat (the film, not Hoover’s erstwhile deputy associate) its first signal boost. There’s also the gonzo porn pioneer Seymore Butts; Steven Hirsch, the founder of Vivid Entertainment, for years the largest porn studio in the world; and actors Ron Jeremy and Nina Hartley. (Collett would add to this pantheon Greg Lansky, CCO of the popular interracial site Blacked.com.)

Why the disproportionate Jewish presence in porn? Abrams suggests it was the same reason Jews dominated Hollywood from early on — it was an industry with a low barrier of entry and little respect from polite society. Plus, unlike in other industries, Abrams writes, “in porn there was no discrimination against Jews.” Abrams even speculates there’s a subversive element to Jewish involvement in porn, a middle finger “to the entire WASP establishment.” Indeed, Al Goldstein once claimed “the only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks.”

As you can imagine, Abrams has been getting crazy emails about this article for more than a decade. The alt-right takes advantage of Abrams’s legitimacy as a scholar, always making sure to mention he’s a professor, not a crank. But at the same time, they hold his scholarship in contempt; they say it’s evidence the Jews aren’t just undermining Western civilization — they’re bragging about it.

But Abrams says this alt-right conspiracy theory of porn is nothing new; it’s just the latest incarnation of a longstanding association of Jews with prostitution, STDs and sexual perversion. Hitler spent several pages of Mein Kampf bemoaning the spread of syphilis via Jewish pimps and prostitutes, which he feared could jeopardize the continuation of the Aryan race. The Nazis even had an umbrella term for prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, abortion and other forms of sexual degeneracy — “sexual Bolshevism,” which, like the “cultural Marxism” the alt-right blames everything on, is just a short hop away from blaming the Jews.

Even when they haven’t been anti-Semitic, critics of so-called sexual degeneracy have long been motivated by a desire to preserve the white race. As this ContraPoints video explains, the modern concept of degeneracy developed in the same post-Enlightenment stew as scientific racism. European and North American elites fretted that industrialization, urbanization and cosmopolitanism would transform vigorous white men into, well, beta cucks. Their societies would then weaken and decay until they were overpowered by more robust outsiders, just as the Huns and Visigoths supposedly conquered Rome because it was too busy having genderqueer orgies. “Impotent, decadent manhood,” writes historian Gail Bederman, would bring about “race suicide.”

For example, look at this British cartoon from the 1870s. An older man walks upon a newlywed couple and finds they’re pouting:

The young man is disappointed in the size of his new bride’s waist and the shape of her nose, which pale in comparison to the classical sculptures he’s obsessed with. His bride is similarly disappointed in his chin and lack of facial hair. They’re so educated and sophisticated that they’re more into erotic art than each other.

Furthermore, we know from this cartoonist’s other work that he feared the men in his society were becoming feeble soyboys indistinguishable from women:

So what was the solution to this epidemic of weak, over-civilized men? Boys and young men were encouraged to lift weights and go camping (this is where we get the Boy Scouts) and to stop playing with themselves. Americans who weren’t Jewish started circumcising their infant boys for the first time in significant numbers, in part because the sensitive foreskin was thought to be too great a temptation. The U.S. government cracked down on pornography, abortion and contraceptives, which were all seen as aiding and abetting race suicide.

But the truth is, when modern commentators criticize porn, they’re often using the same basic framework. For one thing, they don’t really care about porn’s impact on women. As the British lad-mag-editor-turned-anti-porn-advocate Martin Daubney puts it, “Porn is more of a problem for men than women.” He explains this by way of brain science, but the real thrust (or lack thereof) of his argument is that he cares more about what porn might do to men’s sexual prowess, “turning increasing numbers of men in their sexual prime into flops.”

The other telltale is when people fret over porn’s “threat to virility” and “collapsing birth rates.” I assure you they’re not worried about birth rates in Nigeria or Indonesia. Just as with the opioid epidemic or the old tire factory closing down, these commentators’ main concern is what porn will do to white men. When Douthat called for a ban on porn, he lamented that American society is “trending Japan-ward,” invoking the stereotype of an effeminate man more interested in furry manga than raising a family. This isn’t that different from the NoFap redditor who says, “White people are being outbred by Muhamed, Jamal, Chang and Enrique,” and then issues the clarion call of “don’t fap, breed.”

Are there serious problems with porn? Sure. But we can’t have that conversation if we’re narrowly focused on poor men degenerating into antisocial incels. The biggest problem with porn, after all, is that people have stopped paying for it! Pirated content powers free tube sites that promise bottomless wells of dopamine blasts, making porn both more addictive and more accessible to children.

If we started consuming porn ethically, we’d give a boost to better, more creative porn, and young folks could be exposed to sex that didn’t follow the pattern of bored kissing, bored blowjob, bored pussy-eating, bored missionary position, bored doggy-style, a little more bored blowjob, money shot. Paying for porn would also encourage productions with a more diverse array of bodies, skin tones and gender identities.

But we don’t want to have that conversation. If we think there’s a problem with porn, we’d rather blame “modern society,” the “elites” or “cultural Marxism,” and before you know it, you’re only a YouTube rabbit hole away from blaming the Jews for white genocide. We need to grapple with how the modern porn industry is shaped by neoliberalism, patriarchy and white supremacy, or else all we’re left with is the same tired story of white dudes suffering from death grip.