Judith Reisman

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Judith Ann Reisman (April 11, 1935 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American conservative academic and author, best known for her criticism and condemnation of the work and legacy of Alfred Kinsey. She has been referred to as the "founder of the modern anti-Kinsey movement".[1] Her commentary is currently featured by the conservative WorldNetDaily and the Christian Salvo (magazine).[2][3] She holds a Ph.D. in Communications from Case Western Reserve University, and is a visiting Professor of Law at Liberty University.[4]

Advocating for children

Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal has documented how Reisman's daughter's molestation set Reisman on the path of researching Kinsey's activities. Following the sexual assault, the accused boy and his family slipped out of the country, while her daughter lapsed into a deep depression. Fifteen years later, she died from a brain aneurysm, which Reisman suspected was linked to the earlier trauma.[5]

Children in the Kinsey reports

Over the following years, her accusations against Kinsey became increasingly serious. She said that he was a fraud who had employed and relied on pedophiles for his research,[6] and she went on to claim that Kinsey himself sexually abused children. This allegation drew a response from Kinsey biographer James H. Jones, who wrote that unless new evidence to the contrary becomes available, Reisman's claims that Kinsey may have witnessed or personally participated in child molestation under the guise of scientific research must be considered groundless.[7]

Prior to the release of the 2004 film Kinsey, Reisman and Laura Schlessinger attempted to place an advertisement "alleging Kinsey was a pervert and a pedophile".[8]

Images of children, crime and violence

In 1983, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) was headed by social conservatives, including Alfred S. Regnery in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Reisman had given a talk on a Washington, D.C. radio program and on CNN's Crossfire about the "connections between sex education, sex educators, and the pornography industry" which was heard by a member of the DOJ, and Reisman was asked to discuss her views in person, which "struck a common chord [...] especially those opposed to sex education in the schools." She was then invited to apply for a grant, which was approved without competition for the amount of $798,531 (though later reduced to $734,371), to undertake a "study at American University to determine whether Playboy, Hustler and other more explicit materials are linked to violence by juveniles."[6][9][10] The allocation came under criticism as the grant was approved despite a staff memo from Pamela Swain, a director of research, evaluation and program development, in which she claimed that the study could be accomplished for $60,000.[9]

By 1986, Reisman concluded her investigation of "372 issues of Playboy, 184 issues of Penthouse and 125 issues of Hustler" that found "2,016 cartoons that included children apparently under the age of 17 and 3,988 other pictures, photographs and drawings that depict infants or youths," the details of which were collected into "a three-volume report running to 1,600 pages" titled "Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler."[11] The report drew contemporary criticism in regards to its cost and quality.[10][12] Sex crime researcher Avedon Carol commented that the report was a "scientific disaster, riddled with researcher bias and baseless assumptions."[13] The American University (AU), where Reisman's study had been academically based, refused to publish the completed work, citing concerns by an independent academic auditor. Criminologist Robert Figlio of the University of Pennsylvania[14] stated "The term child used in the aggregate sense in this report is so inclusive and general as to be meaningless."[11]

Author Susan Trento chronicled additional complexities surrounding the episode. Initially, Reisman was targeted by some as a proxy to attack Regnery. The nature of Reisman's grant work and the concurrent Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, which would author the Meese Report in 1986, caused anxiety in the pornography industry. Fears began to come to fruition when 7-Eleven stores stopped selling Playboy and Penthouse, in part citing Reisman's work. Trento writes that the public relations firm headed by Robert Keith Gray was hired by Playboy and Penthouse "to discredit Meese's Pornography Commission" specifically as well as others that threatened their business, presumably including Reisman.[6][15] "Whatever the merits of her research," Trento wrote, when support from the OJJDP was needed most, its leadership backed away from Reisman leaving her project to fail and leaving Reisman feeling "bitter" and "helpless" after "spending years developing an expertise and doing what she thought was an excellent job in the public interest."[6]

Sources of child sexual abuse

When Playboy and Penthouse printed nude photos of Madonna in 1985, Reisman warned that because of the entertainer's idolization by youth, their publication would destigmatize and "encourage voluntary display by youngsters," leading to an increase in child pornography.[16]

Allegations of homosexual recruitment of children

Reisman has claimed that the homosexuals employ recruitment techniques that rival those of the United States Marine Corps.[1] Reisman cited "a clear avenue for the recruitment of children" by homosexuals in her public support of Oregon Ballot Measure 9 (1992).[17] In 1994, Reisman spoke at a conference of Christian leaders in Colorado Springs, saying that homosexual "recruitment is loud; it is clear; it is everywhere." She estimated the homosexual population at the time to be 1-2%, but she predicted at least 20% (and possibly over 30%) "of the young population will be moving into homosexual activity" as a result of recruitment.[5]


Reisman has postulated a physical mechanism to account for the dangers she ascribes to pornography: when viewed, an addictive mixture of chemicals which she has dubbed "erototoxins", floods the brain, causing harmful influences to it. Reisman hopes that MRI studies will prove porn-induced physical brain damage and predicts lawsuits against publishers and distributors of pornography similar to those against Big Tobacco, which resulted in the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Further, if pornography can "subvert cognition," then "these toxic media should be legally outlawed, as is all other toxic waste, and eliminated from our societal structure." Finally, individuals who have suffered brain damage from "pornography are no longer expressing 'free speech' and, for their own good, shouldn't be protected under the First Amendment".[18][19][20][21][22]

Endorphins are substances produced by the brain as a result various things including sexual arousal, physical exercise, strong pain, laughter, etc. They cause pleasurable sensations and are somewhat addictive; drugs like morphine attach to the same receptors as endorphins. However, endorphins do not fit Reisman's definition of erototoxins, as many things cause them to be released, not only pornography.

Homosexuals and Nazism

Reisman has said that she believes that a homosexual movement in Germany gave rise to the Nazi Party and the Holocaust. She endorses The Pink Swastika, which elaborates on this view and has compared modern youth groups for homosexuals to the Hitler Youth.[1]

Mapplethorpe exhibition obscenity trial

During the 1990 obscenity trial of Dennis Barrie, then director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, for displaying controversial photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Reisman was called as the only expert witness for the prosecution.[23] In the previous year, Reisman had authored an editorial in The Washington Times entitled "Promoting Child Abuse as Art"[24] which "accused Mapplethorpe of being both a Nazi and a child molester".[25][26] The defense argued that she was not qualified as an art expert, but the judge allowed her to testify as a rebuttal witness.[23] Among her credentials as a media specialist she listed: "preparation of educational videotapes and slide presentations for the Smithsonian Institution as well as having worked for Scholastic magazine, created audio-visual segments for television's Captain Kangaroo show, and did research for Attorney General Edwin Meese's commission on pornography and for the conservative American Family Association."[23][27] During her testimony, Reisman did not discuss the sexually explicit content of Mapplethorpe's work, but rather she argued that the five photographs were not works of art because they either did not display a human face, or, in the case of Self-Portrait, the face "...displayed no discernible emotion" and absent emotion, the placement of the photographs in a museum implied that the activities displayed were appropriate.[28][29] During cross-examination by the defense on her views of homosexuality, Reisman testified that "anal sodomy is traumatically dysfunctional and is definitely associated with AIDS."[29] She also claimed that the pictures of nude children legitimized pedophilia.[28] The defense emphasized that Reisman's experience with art was limited to her work as a songwriter.[28]

Barrie and the Center were acquitted of all charges by the jury.[30]

Litigation against the Kinsey Institute

In 1991, Reisman, with an attorney from the Rutherford Institute, sued the Kinsey Institute, its then director June Reinisch and Indiana University for defamation as well as intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress regarding alleged attempts to censor her book Kinsey, Sex and Fraud.[31] The case was ultimately dismissed with prejudice in 1994.[32]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Daniel Radosh (6 December 2004). "The Culture Wars: Why Know?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  2. "Judith Reisman WorldNetDaily Commentary Archive". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  3. "Salvo Magazine". Salvo (magazine). Retrieved 20 December 2010.  "Columnists"
  4. Biography-Reisman, Judith
  5. 5.0 5.1 Max Blumenthal (15 December 2004). "Her Kinsey Obsession". AlterNet. Retrieved 17 November 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Trento, Susan (1992). The Power House. St. Martin's Press. pp. 193–200. ISBN 978-0-312-08319-9.  Relevant excerpt: [1]
  7. "American Experience - Kinsey - Online Forum - Questions and Answers: Day 2". PBS. 15 February 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2010.  Quoting Jones: "For more than a decade rumors and accusations have circulated that Kinsey was a pedophile. I have not seen any credible evidence to support these rumors and accusations, and I do not believe that such evidence exists. Moreover, reliable people who knew Kinsey's sexual history have testified that he was not a pedophile. I believe them."
  8. Christina Larson (8 December 2004). "The Joy of Sexology". AlterNet. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Associated Press (5 March 1984). "Memo: $798,000 Porn Study Could Be Made for $60,000". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Larry Margasak (Associated Press) (3 May 1985). "New study will determine how adult magazines affect children". The Gettysburg Times. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 James J. Kilpatrick (26 September 1986). "Nude Women, Mud Pies, And The Deficit". The Blade. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  12. Associated Press (8 May 1985). "'Kiddie porn' study called waste of money". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  13. Carol, Avedon 1994, Nudes, Prudes and Attitudes: Pornography and Censorship, New Clarion Press, Gloucester. p. 116. [2][3]
  14. "Footnotes--July–August 2008 Issue--Obituaries". ASA Footnotes. American Sociological Association. July–August 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  15. Watts, Steven (2009). Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream. Wiley. p. 375. ISBN 978-0-470-52167-0. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  16. Russ Kazal (United Press International) (12 July 1985). "Expert links nude Madonna, more child pornography". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  17. Associated Press (15 October 1992). "Ex-gay minister backs Oregon Measure 9". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  18. Jacob Sullum (8 December 2004). "From Donuts To Heroin". AlterNet. Retrieved 29 December 2010. 
  19. Mark Pilkington (14 July 2005). "Sex on the brain". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  20. Ryan Singel (19 November 2004). "Internet Porn: Worse Than Crack?". Wired (magazine). Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  21. Cristian Bodo (18 December 2008). "Does Sex Addiction Have Any Basis in Science?". AlterNet. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  22. Annalee Newitz (30 November 2004). "Your Brain on Porn". AlterNet. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Associated Press (5 October 1990). "Prosecution expert degrades 'art' photos". The Vindicator. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  24. Strickland, Ronald (2002). Growing Up Postmodern: Neoliberalism and the War on the Young. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7425-1651-9. Retrieved 1 January 2011.  quotes Reisman from "Promoting Child Abuse as Art" in the 7 July 1989 edition of The Washington Times.
  25. Bolton, Robert (1989). "The cultural contradictions of conservatism". New Art Examiner. 17. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  26. Debbie Nathan (18 April 2002). "The Taboos of Touch". AlterNet. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  27. Masters, Kim (1990-10-06). "Art Gallery Not Guilty of Obscenity;Cincinnati Jury Clears Mapplethorpe Exhibitors of All Charges". The Washington Post. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Wilkerson, Isabel (1990-10-05). "Witness in Obscenity Trial Calls Explicit Photographs 'Destructive'". The New York Times. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Meyer, Richard (2002). Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art. Beacon Press. pp. 216–218. ISBN 0-8070-7935-9. 
  30. Steven Litt (5 October 2010). "Dennis Barrie looks back on his Cincinnati obscenity trial 20 years after his acquittal". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  31. "Kinsey institute sued by thwarted critic". The Bulletin (Bend). Associated Press. 9 May 1991. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  32. "Anti-LGBT Conspiracy Theorist Judith Reisman Tapped as Expert Witness in Jamaica". Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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