How And Where To Shoot Public Bondage

Back in early September when I first posted happily about Kink.com’s new public bondage site, I speculated (wrongly) that Public Disgrace was being shot in San Francisco. Although some shoots are indeed being done there, it turns out that most shooting will be done in more permissive European cities. On September 24, The SF Bay Guardian reported (as part of a larger piece about Kink.com) the following:

WiredPussy.com creator Princess Donna is launching her new pet product, PublicDisgrace.com, next month. The site will feature blatant public bondage, punishment, erotic humiliation, and explicit sex between models and, potentially, passersby.

The veteran domme is filming most scenes in Europe, where attitudes (and therefore laws) about sex are more lax. In fact, while shooting a scene on a public street in Berlin, the crew was stopped by a couple of motorcycle cops who said only, “If you cause an accident, you’ll be liable,” before going on their way. In the shoot, a half-naked girl is tied to a park bench, made to carry a dog bowl while on a leash, fondled by her female master, and fucked by a man.

“It’s the adrenaline rush of potentially getting caught,” says Acworth, explaining the site’s appeal and recipe for success.

In the comments on this Bondage Blog post and at many other places, people have been wondering how they get away with the public filming, and how they avoid offending innocent bystanders. Peter Acworth, the creative genius and head honcho at Kink.com, has responded to some of those questions in several places, but the most concise compilation is probably here:

The most important point is that we have crews of people on walkie-talkies who are on the constant lookout for minors. The site is shot in such a way that nudity can be covered very quickly.

You will notice that any extreme activity, such as penetrative sex, always happens in relative seclusion so that the crew has the time to stop the activity if necessary. Activities that take place in a situation which is impossible to completely control (such as in front of moving traffic or a boat on a river) either happen at a very long distance, or the activity is toned down and will include less nudity.

lea lexis in steel shackles and spanked on a wall overlooking the city

Some scenes look impossible to control and people do seem concerned with how we are shooting this, but the fact is that they are not in a position to be able to tell which of the participants are actual bystanders and which are paid extras. For obvious reasons, I don’t want to go into details here. However, please let me reassure you that all individuals who exchange fluids have been tested and our producer has gathered paperwork which verifies the age of all performers.

More generally, if we were offending people, this site would be impossible to shoot. The fact is that we make many people’s day, and complaints are very rare indeed. Many people are curious to see the play in an obviously consensual context (i.e. in front of a video crew), and this results in dialog and a lot of interest and joy from those who choose to watch. I.e. there are also positive repercussions from our activities.

This site would indeed be impossible to shoot without causing offense in most parts of the US, and this is just because of the American view of sex in general. However, please let me reiterate how different life is in the areas of continental Europe we are shooting. For instance, virtually all beaches in continental Europe embrace nudity to some extent or another (in full view of minors); nudity, and in some cases actual pornography, plays on public TV stations during daylight hours in many countries.

The city our producer is next planning on shooting has only one law on the subject: “no lewd act in front of a minor” and we intend to obey that law. I think its potentially hard for many Americans to imagine it being legal to be nude on any beach, or indeed to have sex in a public place as long as it is shielded from minors.

Lastly, just to help put this in context, people see things they don’t completely consent to all the time. For instance, if you go to 6th street in San Francisco, you can regularly see homeless people shooting up, pissing, or shitting on the sidewalk. Many people (including minors) are habitually exposed to drug use and violence on the streets in some neighborhoods in many American cities. Such is the American gun culture, it is hard to avoid being exposed to violence on American TV or movies, much of which is aimed at an audience which includes minors.

Don’t get me wrong — I am certainly no in favor of censorship! I’m just making the point that different communities find different things offensive. This is not because we’re fundamentally any different, I think its just a question of socialization and conditioning.

Thanks to everyone who expressed concerns about this, and I hope some of the notes in this letter have helped allay some concerns.

Respectfully yours.

Peter Acworth
Founder/CEO, kink.com

From my viewpoint, Peter’s just explaining the obvious. Kink.com picks tolerant jurisdictions, they use scouts to protect the shoot and control the level and extent of public interaction, and they sometimes use extras to create the illusion that the barrier between the shoot and “the public” is leakier than it actually is. Obviously the illusion is a runaway success, if people are concerned about the lack of a barrier!

I am not, ultimately, moved by the argument that there’s a visual consent issue. Some folks are worried that “people shouldn’t have to see” the nudity and bondage that actually does get exposed to public view, and that the bystanders “haven’t consented” to seeing this. I think talking about consent with respect to visual stimulus is very nearly nonsense, even in the abstract; in most cases, it’s possible to avert one’s eyes and go on about one’s business.

And that’s in the abstract. In the specific context of our advertising-driven commercial world, most of the global economy is structured around intrusive, even abusive, non-consensual visual stimulus in the form of advertising. It’s taken for granted that there’s no need to obtain consent from any of us before we are bombarded, for every minute of our waking day, with powerful visual messages, right there in the street, from every billboard and bus stop wall. If the notion of consent had any meaning in the context of what we are “allowed” to see, we’d live in a very different world. But it doesn’t. As a society, as a commercial culture, we have conclusively determined that we don’t need consent from people before exposing them to things they might prefer not to see in public.

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10 comments on “How And Where To Shoot Public Bondage”:

Mia commented on October 13th, 2008 at 10:56 am:

I’m such a prude in public that I’d be one of those who walked by all wide-eyed and say to my neighbor, “They should get a room!” But in my head, I’d be thinking, “Oh how I wish that was me.”

lucas commented on October 14th, 2008 at 10:01 am:

i think advertising is more offensive than a porn shoot.. hell, real life couples fighting, children being snot nosed brats, hip hip/rap blasting out of every car in my neighborhood is more offensive than that.

and “but think of the children”… i do. and children should be locked up in a padded room and segregated from the rest of us because that would work so well…

nymph commented on October 15th, 2008 at 6:54 am:

everything is taken to extreme….just like parents should turn off the tv or computer on their child…hey look away. I’d be the one observer definately getting into it and watching and probably getting off on it !!! I think this site in particular “Kink” does everything tastefully and as an art. If you are not a fan of this type of sexual interest…then don’t go there….it’s that simple.
If you see it on the street…then look away.

John Doe commented on October 15th, 2008 at 3:24 pm:

Mia: Heh, and I’d be one of those people asking where I can get a copy of the film. =)

Tzimisce commented on October 16th, 2008 at 6:47 am:

It is not Berlin :P As I said it is Budapest. Princess Donna lied :P

Rope Guy commented on October 16th, 2008 at 8:19 am:

It is MUCH more likely that the SF Bay Guardian reporter got things wrong. This is the classic sort of “wrote things down wrong in my notes” mistake that reporters often make.

Tzimisce commented on October 17th, 2008 at 7:18 am:

Yeah possibly true. :P
However I really like your blog and often visit it, so I do not want to offend you :)
I hope I meet them when the next shooting is done, so I can send you some Exclusive photos :)

Rope Guy commented on October 17th, 2008 at 8:35 am:

You don’t need to worry about offending me, I’ve got a pretty thick skin. I just like to be charitable. “Somebody lied” just seems like a harsh conclusion when “somebody screwed up” explains the facts just as well. ;-)

Tzimisce commented on October 22nd, 2008 at 2:18 pm:

Now I am sure that I was misinformed and made a mistake. There is a German shooting in Public Disgrace, but a hungarisan company is cooperating, maybe that is the reason for many hungarian shoots :)

ww commented on May 17th, 2009 at 12:09 pm:

I was really enjoying your site until I read this. I’m sorry, but in America, sex is a private act and you shouldn’t be recruiting innocent bystanders into your sex life, commercial or no.

We do have laws about visual consent, public nudity is discouraged, cigarette ads are banned from certain jurisdictions, many offensive ads and acts are discouraged in public.

Even if it shouldn’t be illegal, it is very rude and they deserve any negative comments that come their way. I enjoy public disgrace, but mostly the shoots which take place indoors or in enclosed areas.

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