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Pornography foes ask city to enforce obscenity law against rap group

By The Associated Press,
freedomforum.org staff

08.10.01

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PROVO, Utah — Pornography opponents have called for enforcement of the city's obscenity ordinance against 2 Live Crew when the rap group performs tomorrow night at a night club.

They presented about 100 petition signatures to the City Council Aug. 7.

"We need to speak out to raise standards of decency," said Arlaine Austin of Lindon.

Austin represents the Child Abuse Prevention Team of Utah County and has joined forces with a Salt Lake group, Women for Decency, as well as a new Brigham Young University club called STOP: Students That Oppose Pornography.

City spokesman Michael Mower says Provo doesn't approve of 2 Live Crew performing in the community.

"They're a disgusting, gross, rude group," Mower said. "They don't reflect the values of our community."

But City Attorney Gary McGinn says there's nothing officials can do unless the group breaks the law.

"We can't stop somebody from doing something because we think they are going to break the law," McGinn told The Daily Universe, BYU's student newspaper.

According to the Deseret News, Provo law prohibits "obscene performances," including those that involve "explicit verbal description or narrative accounts of obscene sexual conduct." The city code also bans the use of "profane language" or obscenities in public.

McGinn, however, told the News that city police will not stop 2 Live Crew's performance "unless there is nudity or someone is on stage performing live sex acts."

The group has vowed to put on a "clean" show.

"It's going to be a no-nudity, action-packed show," Dap Kent, the group's manager, told the News.

"We're going to do a clean show, but when I say clean — not the lyrics," Kent told The Daily Universe. "The lyrical content will still be there, but it's going to be a real high-power, high-energy show — fully entertainment."

Kent told the News he planned to visit the city attorney's office to discuss the concert once the group arrived in Provo.

McGinn said he would be willing to meet with the group but wouldn't want to tell them what to perform.

"Certainly, we would talk to them, but I'm hesitant to tell people what they can and can't do," McGinn told the News. "We would look at the ordinance and tell them what it says, but to go over their songs lyric by lyric we're not going to do that."

City officials say Provo police will be keeping tabs on the concert.

"It will be monitored. If they step over the line ..." said city chief administrative officer Bob Stockwell.

Michael Stewart, manager of Atchafalaya, the club where the group will perform, says he doesn't know why people are making such a big deal about 2 Live Crew.

"It's not really as bad as it sounds," Stewart said.

But not everyone agrees with Stewart.

"After they (the group) stop in Provo, they are on their way to hell," Mower, the city's spokesman, told the News. "Satan himself couldn't come up with more disgusting lyrics, but even the devil's speech is protected by the First Amendment."

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