Concerned Citizens Target National Video Store
AFA Journal, March 2001 Edition
The nation's third largest video store chain remains defiant in its practice of renting pornographic videos from its "adult" back rooms, leading AFA to consider calling for a boycott against the company.
Movie Gallery is the third largest video retailer in the country behind Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment. Headquartered in Dothan, Alabama, the chain has over 1,020 stores in 31 states. A survey of 466 of those stores discovered that 45% (209) were distributing hard-core pornography from back rooms. All but a handful also rent pornographic Playboy and Penthouse videos in the front section, in plain view of children.
AFA state directors have joined together in a 12-state alliance that includes the Christian Coalition, Family Policy Network, Kids Hurt Too, and Florida Family Association. The members of the informal alliance have already declared a boycott against Movie Gallery in an attempt to convince the company to change its policy.
Movie Gallery sends high-level employees to small towns to research local ordinances that might pertain to the sale or rental of pornography. If there are no applicable laws, Movie Gallery often adds a room to their stores and begins the distribution of "adult videos."
AFA Special Projects Director Randy Sharp has been in contact with Movie Gallery executives, who defended the company's "adult" video policy in terms that echo First Amendment concerns. Sharp, however, said the bottom line for Movie Gallery is clearly rooted in more mundane principles. He was told that pornography was "a big enough percentage of our product" that the company would never stop distributing porn.
"The only concern for Movie Gallery is money," Sharp said. "Not families, not the effects of porn on communities, not the welfare of children or women."
Sharp cited an incident in Montgomery, Alabama, when a father sent his two daughters to the rear of the store to use the bathroom. Unknown to the dad, the two children had to pass a hard-core video porn display, which was actually standing outside the back room where the pornography was supposed to be kept. A subsequent police investigation substantiated the father's angry claim that the display was in full view of anyone going to use the restrooms.
In a letter to AFA, an employee in management with a Movie Gallery store said she and other workers often experienced sexual harassment from customers who were renting sexually explicit videos from the back room.
"When men, and sometimes women, rent the adult videos, they more often than not [make] remarks to the check-out person as they leave the store," said the woman, who did not want to be named for this article. "It is not unusual for them to say things like, ‘Come home with me and be my b---h.'"
The woman also said she has been propositioned by customers, who ask her to return home to be paid for sex.
"It is automatically assumed that we are willing participants in the sexual content of the videos," she said.
Mr. Harrison Parrish, President
900 Main St.
Dothan, AL 36301