Censorship by Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Police Has Moviegoers Seeing Fifty Shades Of Red

fifty-shades-posterBy Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Idaho Liquor Licensees who show movies have been served with notice demanding that they not show the blockbuster Hollywood hit “Fifty Shades of Grey” while serving alcoholic beverages. The agency claims that doing so violates Idaho law prohibiting the display of sexually explicit movies while serving alcohol.

Many are wondering why the ABC singled out Fifty Shades of Grey and not various other R-Rated movies having sexual situations that dominate the movie industry.

We previously wrote of past prudishness by the Idaho ABC. In 2012 we covered how the ABC prohibited Utah based Ogden’s Own Distillery from selling their Five Wives Vodka in the state–alleging that it was “Offensive to Mormons” (Click HERE, HERE, and HERE. for further reading.) Note for full disclosure, in reaction to this censorship your author assisted Ogden’s Own move into Washington State and sold their products)

In an interview with the Idaho Statesman, Michele Williams stated:

I was not drinking or wanting to drink. I just found it odd that this movie was singled out. I just thought, ‘what year am I living in here? Women can’t control themselves when they drink during this movie’ I don’t know what the message was.

Last month the State Police’s Alcohol Beverage Control agency contacted the Village Cinema and informed them that if the theater shows Fifty Shades of Grey, they would be breaking state law if they also served alcohol.

Theresa Baker, the ABC’s spokeswoman said they began their investigation when they received a complaint of the showing of Fifty Shades by Village Cinema. Other theaters reportedly were then given notice to censor this movie if they intend to serve alcohol. One complaint and the entire state is affected. So much for discretion in the eyes of enforcement bureaucrats.

Here is the statute cited by the ABC:



23-614. Prohibited acts — Misdemeanors — Penalties. (1) No person, partnership, association or corporation shall conduct, permit, or encourage any of the following acts or activities in or upon premises licensed pursuant to title 23, Idaho Code:
(a) Employment or use of any person, including allowing any person on the premises, while such person is unclothed or in such attire, costume or clothing as to expose to view any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola or of any portion of the pubic hair, anus, cleft of the buttocks, vulva or genitals.

(b) Employment or use of any person who touches, caresses or fondles the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals of any other person, or who is so touched, caressed or fondled by another person.

(c) Employment or use of any person to wear or use any device or covering, exposed to view, which simulates the breast, genitals, anus, pubic hair or any portion thereof.

(d) Employment or use of any person to perform acts of or acts which simulate sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law.

(e) The showing of films, still pictures, electronic reproductions, or other visual reproductions depicting:

(i) Acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation or any sexual acts which are prohibited by law.

(ii) Any person being touched, caressed or fondled on the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.

(iii) Scenes wherein a person displays the vulva or the anus or the genitals.

(iv) Scenes wherein artificial devices or inanimate objects are employed to portray any of the prohibited activities described in this section.

(2) A violation of any of the provisions of this section by any agent, employee, or other person in any way acting on behalf of a licensee shall constitute a misdemeanor, and upon conviction such person shall be fined not less than the sum of one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than the sum of three hundred dollars ($300), or be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months, or both such fine and imprisonment. Any court in which a judgment of conviction is entered shall certify a copy thereof to the director, and the director shall thereupon commence administrative proceedings. The director shall review the circumstances and may take action he considers appropriate against the licensee including suspension of the license for not to exceed six (6) months, a fine, or both such suspension and fine or may revoke the license.

(3) In addition to misdemeanor violations or other criminal proceedings instituted under this section, upon sufficient proof to the director, the director shall take administrative action as provided in subsection (2) of this section against any licensee in the event any person is found to have committed any of the above proscribed acts. The proceedings shall be in accordance with provisions of the administrative procedure act.

One has to question why all PG-13 and above rated movies are not in violation of this statute or at least it is certainly odd that a seventeen-year-old may go into a theater and watch Fifty Shades of Grey but a senior citizen may not when shown this in a movie bar.

It probably goes that the state legislature wanted to curtail nude dancing and peep shows of XXX rated type of displays in furtherance of selling alcoholic beverages. British Columbia on Idaho’s northern border allows this and does not however seem to have descended into debauchery as a result. Nevertheless while the state can argue its ability to regulate explicit displays for commercial purposes. (as overseen by the courts) But, it could prove a difficult case to win in the case of Fifty Shades since this movie is ubiquitous in open society in general.

By Darren Smith


Idaho Statesman

Idaho Statues 23-614

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

139 thoughts on “Censorship by Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Police Has Moviegoers Seeing Fifty Shades Of Red”

  1. @markkernes

    “PS: ‘Linda Lovelace Generation’? In some alternate universe, possibly. I too was an adult in the ’70s, and I don’t remember everybody going around giving blowjobs to each other…”

    You don’t? Really? Did you live in Idaho or something?

  2. My, my. Late to the party here but- Let’s make a few things clear about Idaho. @Buckaroo- wondering if you’ve ever been to Idaho. Should I assume from your nom de plume that you live in some western state or did you just find the hat? There are as many rich Hollywood Republicans as Dems in Sun Valley: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis come to mind, although Bruce may have sold his place.

    @Karen S.- We thank the Idaho legislature for keeping its monopoly on liquor and keeping it cheap. There’s not much else to do in Idaho. It may be a great place for huntin’ and fishing’, but there is a constant tension between making policy to protect the lands (where the fish need clean water to live and the game needs lots and lots of wild land to survive) and development, mining and…I can’t really say logging because a lot of the accessible forests have been logged. Well, it’s still there, but just barely. As for the esteemed Senator Nuxoll: It’s just breathtaking that she stated in the same paragraph that we have freedom to not have a state religion but that she didn’t want any more non-Christian prayers said at the Idaho Statehouse. I would be in favor of leaving all prayer out, but just in case you missed it: The Hindu leader was invited to give the prayer that day to give the Idaho’s Christian majority (that includes Mormons in case anyone thinks Mormons aren’t Christian) cover so its chaplain can say Christian prayers nearly every other day they’re in session. See? Technically, by inviting a Hindu to give a prayer, they’re not in violation of the Constitution. Otherwise the long-suffering atheist members of the legislature would have cause to get prayer removed. Most of the atheists really don’t care and aren’t offended by any form of prayer offered up. If they are, they remember that being elected to office requires a certain dignity and a respect for others. Now, one could make the argument that Senator Nuxoll has no constituents practicing Hinduism in her district and walking out certainly cements her cred with a lot of the folks up there taking advantage of cheap Idaho alcohol. Her actions, however, didn’t do the rest of Idaho any favors. It is a state that has not recovered from the recession. I’ve been involved in executive recruiting in Idaho. It’s not easy because a lot of people really do have the notion that it is populated by Troglodytes. It’s not. As for winter sports, not as good as a few decades ago. Idaho, among many other western states, has been subject to periodic droughts for the last 20 years. It is taking its toll on forests, streams, wildlife and winter recreation. Add wildfires to the mix during the summer months and it affects tourism along with local, state and federal budgets hit by firefighting costs.

    @Chinggis Khan- there may not be yaks in Idaho, but all the University students have YikYak- so there are plenty of Yaks going on . (Google YikYak, download it and then prepare to be surprised by what the youngers are saying these days. It’s not deep and it’s not safe for work.) You also mentioned the book Big Trouble. Another glimpse into certain Idaho mindsets can be found in Boys of Boise, the true story of a witch hunt for homosexuals sometime in the 1950s. Today, Boise is a right nice little city…quirky, nice living…and home to a lot of activists working hard to insure equal rights for all Idahoans.

    As for the initial law in question: to my knowledge, there is only one film house in the state that serves alcohol (may be more than one)..but the one I know of would never show a moronic little film like 50 Shades. Secondly, Idaho has always had an uneasy relationship with alcohol. The population in southern Idaho is somewhere around 30% LDS– much heavier concentration in southeast. Until the 1980s, there were many, many cities and counties where you couldn’t buy even a bottle of beer on a Sunday. In Rexburg (home of BYU Idaho) good luck finding a drink with dinner at any restaurant. It’s part of the culture. Mormons, however, are practical people. They’ve been willing to relax the laws to enable businesses serving tourists to continue to be competitive. They’ve been pragmatic on a number of levels whenever it’s clear that draconian laws involving spirits might cut into the bottom line. I’m confident they’ll arrive at the same conclusion regarding equal rights for gay Idahoans if it appears to affect business opportunities. After all, they advanced their thinking when it came to black Americans and holding priesthood status. One has to live in Idaho a few decades to begin to understand this.

    1. @iconoclast

      “I’ve been involved in executive recruiting in Idaho. It’s not easy because a lot of people really do have the notion that it is populated by Troglodytes. It’s not.”

      Based on the evidence I’ve seen, it would be much more defensible to claim that Idaho isn’t populated *exclusively* by Troglodytes.

      I’d provide additional edifying examples, but WordPress allows only two links per post:



  3. Ken, I can’t go back to exotic dancing, my arthritis precludes me from using all those veils, I’d trip.

    1. Every little thing helps. 🙂 Now get back in that kitchen and get cracking before Martha Stewart drops by and finds you wanton, er, I mean, wantin’.

  4. @Inga (Annie)

    “Eh, multitasking. I’m baking cookies, I bet Mata Hari didn’t bake cookies….lol.”

    I *knew* you’d get into wholesome things once you quit Idaho’an around.

    There’s no sense in risking a relapse by taking rehab too far, too fast, though, so
    I suggest sticking to lemon tarts and sugar cookies until you’re *completely* out from under the spell of that wanton temptress, What’s Her Name.

  5. Eh, multitasking. I’m baking cookies, I bet Mata Hari didn’t bake cookies….lol.

  6. No, it’s not wrong to pint out her faults Karen, but you’ve been going on and on about it. Seems like it’s quite important to you to make a point of it, which seems a bit questionable, like you’re trying to prove some point pr another. Whatever, no skin off my nose, her liestyle has nothing whatsoever to do with mine, just to reiterate.

  7. mark – what saddens me is that she did not choose that lifestyle. She did it out of desperation. I have no problem with whatever consenting adults do that doesn’t hurt anyone else. One child died, the other was taken from her, she had to engage in prostitution, then exotic dance until the younger copies eroded her clientele, then it was back to prostitution until she was shot for a spy, the biggest evidence of which appears to be merely that she was sleeping with everyone, on all sides of the war, for enormous sums of cash. As she got older she became more desperate. What does an aging exotic dancer used to a luxurious lifestyle DO for a living in the early 1900s? Must have been grim. Definitely not an empowering, happy story.

    Happy – apparently we’re prudes. Who knew? It’s OK for one poster to point out her problems, but we’re prudes if we do. 🙂

    1. Karen,

      Just got back to the thread

      This has nothing to do with Inga or Mata Hari – It has to do with that Malignant Narcissistic Book 50 Shades of Gray that was made into a Romantic Thriller and Released on Valentines day because of the Depravity of our Culture.

      Nothing to do with prudery mind you but the subjugation of one Human Will to another by humiliation and pain is evil.

      Just my opinion

      To keep people off of alcholol while watching something like that in public is not a bad thing. Wait until it comes out on a CD or something you know?

      1. Hey, Happy: You wrote: “It has to do with that Malignant Narcissistic Book 50 Shades of Gray that was made into a Romantic Thriller and Released on Valentines day because of the Depravity of our Culture.

        “Nothing to do with prudery mind you but the subjugation of one Human Will to another by humiliation and pain is evil.”

        So it’s inconceivable to you that one person might enjoy being dominated by another, while that other person might like to play the submissive to the dominant? If that’s the case, better take a close look at U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who enjoyed being dominated by prostitutes and made to crawl around the room in a diaper. Moreover, over the past couple of decades, there have been various news stories about politicians visiting dominatrixes (dominatrices?) for relief of the stress of governing. Plus, of course, since I work in the adult entertainment industry, I know dozens of doms, and many have a thriving business of men who come to them seeking to be ordered around, as well as being gagged and in other ways restrained and/or whipped. Hell, they PAY for the “pleasure” (which I tried once and didn’t feel pleasure, so I never did it again—but to each his own!)

        So just because Fifty Shades (apparently) reviles you, don’t read it—but don’t try to tell other people they can’t enjoy it (or support a state agency telling them they can’t)—and even take a few drinks as they do.

        1. markkerns

          Are you going to try and tell me that the male in this book is about a masochist. ??????? This is Ana She is the masochist. Christian, disgusting play on words and I am highly offended. Is the sadist.

          “Because of these feelings, Ana runs away from Christian and does not see him again until her college graduation, where he is a guest speaker. During this time, Ana agrees to sign the dominant/submissive contract. Ana and Christian once again meet up to further discuss the contract, and they go over Ana’s hard and soft limits. Ana is spanked for the first time by Christian; the experience leaves her both enticed and slightly confused. This confusion is exacerbated by Christian’s lavish gifts, and the fact that he brings her to meet his family. The two continue with the arrangement without Ana having yet signed the contract. After successfully landing a job with Seattle Independent Publishing (SIP), Ana further bristles under the restrictions of the non-disclosure agreement and her complex relationship with Christian. The tension between Ana and Christian eventually comes to a head after Ana asks Christian to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Christian fulfills Ana’s request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible. Devastated, Ana leaves Christian and returns to the apartment she shares with Kate.”

          You can go ahead and spout about free speech on the slippery slope all you want. I was around during the Linda Lovelace Generation and I know how full of Sh!t you are

          1. Oh, Happy—How Sad. Guess you need new reading glasses, for nowhere in my post do I refer to either protagonist in Fifty Shades, much less attempt to parse out which is the Dom and which the sub. Lots of people experiment with BDSM, and not everyone likes it. That’s life. So sorry if other people’s sexual proclivities and experiments don’t measure up to your standards.

            PS: “Linda Lovelace Generation”? In some alternate universe, possibly. I too was an adult in the ’70s, and I don’t remember everybody going around giving blowjobs to each other…

            1. In a 1980 article in Ms. magazine, “The Real Linda Lovelace”, Gloria Steinem discussed Traynor and Lovelace’s relationship.[2] Steinem stated that “the myth that Lovelace loved to be sexually used and humiliated was created by her husband” and that he kept her as his prisoner.[2] Lovelace claimed that Traynor forced her into prostitution by threatening her with a gun,[2] repeatedly beat her,[2] forced her to make pornography, and allowed men to rape her repeatedly. Lovelace tried to escape from Traynor three times before she was successful.[2] She said that during Deep Throat one can see visible scars and bruises left on her legs from a beating by Traynor. According to Steinem, Traynor once stated, “When I first dated [Linda] she was so shy, it shocked her to be seen nude by a man… I created Linda Lovelace.”[2]

              In 1979 Lovelace underwent a polygraph examination in which she repeated allegations she made against Traynor. During the session the test results supported the following allegations:[3]

              In 1971 Traynor forced Lovelace to have sex with five men for money in the Coral Gables Holiday Inn. He pointed a gun at Lovelace and threatened to kill her if she refused.
              During her relationship with Traynor, Lovelace feared for her life if she tried to leave him.
              He would hypnotize her.
              He asked her to help him run the prostitution business, and when she refused he hit her. He used to beat her occasionally, which seemed to sexually excite him. He beat her the night before their wedding and during the filming of Deep Throat.
              After she left him, Traynor threatened to shoot her sister’s son if she did not return.
              When out with other people, he would tell her not to speak, and she had to ask his permission to go to the toilet.
              The movie Deep Throat made approximately $600 million but Lovelace only saw $1,250 since Traynor kept control of the money.

              In a Vanity Fair article on Marilyn Chambers, whom Traynor married after Boreman left him, Traynor said he considered himself a country boy in that he could live away from civilization and that if his woman said something he didn’t like, he thought nothing of hitting her for it.

              Boreman’s allegations against Traynor have been disputed since she alleged them. But in the second commentary on the DVD of “Inside Deep Throat”, one member of the production crew of Deep Throat backed up Boreman’s allegation of a brutal beating that she claimed left bruises that are visible in the film. The man said his motel room was next to Boreman’s and Traynor’s and emphatically said that Traynor beat Boreman viciously at night. Marilyn Chambers later claimed that Linda’s allegations “hurt Chuck”, but Deep Throat, Part 2 actress Andrea True said that most people did not like Chuck Traynor and sided with Boreman as to her allegations.

              Traynor was portrayed by actor Peter Sarsgaard in the 2013 film Lovelace.[4]

  8. “Rest”. I’m sure she would’ve tested well too, she was no dummy.

  9. Mark, the prudes must put their bullet in her too. She used what resources she had and that were allowed to a woman of her day to make a name for herself and she certainly did, because we’re still talking about her. May she test in peace.

  10. Karen, not one of my comments were directed at you. Why you would think they were is beyond me. Guilty conscience…or something?

  11. Happy:

    “I am expressing an opinion. Okay?”

    No need to explain. I completely agree with you. Mata Hari’s life story was very tragic, indeed. And her life was not one of liberation but the old story of a woman using her body to make money. I definitely did not think of her story as romantic or one of independence.

    I didn’t even know at first that the topic was raised because of Inga, so quite obviously I wasn’t talking about her. Why the heck Inga thinks she’s on trial is beyond me.

    1. Hey, Karen: You said “And her life was not one of liberation but the old story of a woman using her body to make money.”

      I think pretty much all of us use our bodies to make money, not to mention our minds. And if you don’t think Mata Hari used her mind as well as her body, you’ve never been a high-priced callgirl. (I do know a few.)

  12. @Inga (Annie)

    “Ken, I’m always on trial here at Le Turley Blog, lol.”

    Well, that’s hardly surprising, given your lascivious lifestyle.

    Not to worry, though. Stick with us and we’ll make you an honorary Idahoan before you can say, ” Look at me, Idahoan who gave it up so you didn’t have to.”

  13. Annie I think she was beautiful and that is what her cross was. I don’t think she was as free as you thought she was. In fact, I know she wasn’t. I used to be a lot like that. I was not rich and famous of course but I was like that. I thought I was free but I was never more in chains……..

  14. No, Happy, you were stating that Karen and I found her life to be romantic in some sense of the word. If that’s your opinion its a wrong one. That is a leap. When one finds someone’s life to have been fascinating does not mean they find her life one that they would’ve wanted to live. She was a free spirit, and as I said imperfect, yet she had traits that were admirable at the same time. That’s how people are, multifaceted.

    1. marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized
      b often capitalized : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of romanticism

      1. Happy, I am well aware of the word “romantic” and it different uses. Also it was not known what her son died of. Of course saying her son died of congenital syphillis is far more titillating. Her life was fascinating, having said that doesn’t mean one needs to emulate her. She’s a bit of history, don’t make more of her as my avatar beyond her being a beautiful woman in a very cool vintage photo.

  15. “Flirting With Danger”, an excellent documentary short film on her life.

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