Verizon defends FiOS VOD against group's pornography charges

FiOS on-demand provides an opportunity for viewers to selectively choose what suits their tastes--even if that selection includes programming that organizations like Morality in Media (MIM) find offensive and pornographic, a Verizon (NYSE: VZ) executive wrote in response to an ongoing demand from the anti-pornography organization.

"The explosion in choice is a tremendous benefit to consumers, but not all consumers want to have access to all content for themselves and their families all of the time," John McArtney, Verizon's director of global corporate citizenship wrote in a letter released by MIM. "Not all content is desirable to or appropriate for all consumers, however, and Verizon is proud to provide our customers with myriad tools to control the types of content that they and their families have access to through our service."

McArtney's letter was a response to a missive from MIM informing Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam that the organization felt "Verizon has become a major distributor of child-themed pornography through(its) FiOS service" and that Verizon would be named to MIM's 2014 "Dirty Dozen List" of what it called "major porn facilitators."

In a subsequent letter to Verizon board members, MIM President-CEO Patrick Trueman dismissed McArtney's stance, asking, "How could anyone or any company assert that child sex fantasy pornography or pseudo child pornography is a benefit to anyone in a decent society?"

Trueman hinted at legal action, noting it is "violation of federal obscenity law, 18 U.S.C. Section 1468, to distribute obscene (hardcore) pornography" and that "no doubt the material that you distribute fits into that category."

Barring legal intervention, though, Trueman asked the board members to "be moved to get Verizon to stop selling pornography, any pornography."

In a Fox News story, Jenn Hoffman, identified as a pop culture expert, defended Verizon's stance, noting that "It would be pretty impossible for Verizon to satisfy every different view of morality while actually serving consumer needs." And Leo Terrell of said Verizon was "handling this matter appropriately for its shareholders because it is making them a lot of money."

Financially, Investor's Daily noted, "Verizon Communications stood by its decision to continue carrying on-demand porn with incest and child themes on its FiOS video service, saying it's up to viewers to choose what they want to watch. Shares rose 1.8%."

For more:
- see MIM's original letter
- see this story
- and this story

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