Pasadena City College closes planned guest lecture by porn star James Deen to public

  • Porn actor James Deen, left, and other adult film performers come out against Measure B last year during a news conference in Burbank.
Porn actor James Deen, left, and other adult film performers come out against… (Times Community News )
February 26, 2013

Plans to have a porn star give what was to be a public guest lecture at Pasadena City College on Wednesday prompted administrators to change and close the venue to only students enrolled in the class whose professor organized the event.

Pasadena City College alum James Deen -- a prolific porn star who recently starred with Lindsay Lohan in a non-adult film about people seeking sex and success in Los Angeles – was scheduled to give a talk at the Creveling Lounge on campus, but as word spread, administrators moved in.

College officials released a statement Tuesday saying the “unauthorized” event had not been scheduled according to campus rules and that they had offered to accommodate the lecture at a later date, citing concerns about planning for possibly security and insurance liability issues.

“We support the instructor’s academic freedom within the classroom,” Robert Bell, assistant superintendent of Academic and Student Affairs, said in a statement. “The college’s concern is to schedule all public events according to procedures so we can insure public safety and security.”

But the professor who organized the event, Hugo Schwyzer, said he had only received “a whopping three phone calls and five emails in the past 24 hours from protesters, which is not unusual." 

He also disputed assertions that he had not followed common practice procedures for reserving the venue ahead of time.

The event had been publicized on Twitter more than two weeks ago.

Schwyzer also noted that this wouldn’t be the first time a porn actor had addressed his students.

"My class takes an interdisciplinary look at America's great obsession: pornography," he said."I teach multiple perspectives -- those who are critical and celebratory."

Schwyzer argued that the event scheduled for Wednesday -- which he said was meant to analyze and discuss pornography in a safe, responsible and intellectually critical environment – is a rare occurrence these days.

Still, the college’s administration sought to distance themselves from the event and Schwyzer’s defense of its merits.

In the statement, the college said Schwyzer’s comments to the press regarding the event were made without the “advance knowledge or authorization” of the administration.

“I want to make clear that Schwyzer is expressing his own personal opinions,” said college Superintendent -President Mark Rocha. “In no way does he speak for the college or Board of Trustees."

-- Kristen Lepore, Times Community News

Follow Kristen Lepore on Twitter: @KristenLepore

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