AT&T and Hilton Hotel slinking into the pornography business
AFA initiatives, Christian activism, news briefs

August 2000 – When a city’s sewer system backs up, it’s bad enough. But when the filth empties out on Main Street, it’s even worse. That appears to be the case with pornography, which has become a financial interest of such mainstream businesses as AT&T Corporation and the Hilton Hotel chain.

In June the news became public that AT&T had decided to carry a pay-per-view X-rated channel for its cable division. According to The Dallas Morning News, the company will carry “The Hot Network,” a hard-core porn channel that other cable operators – like Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp. – have refused to touch.

It was one more reason for consumers to look elsewhere for their long-distance business, said AFA Vice President Tim Wildmon. “AT&T has long been a major promoter of the homosexual lifestyle, and now it is promoting out-and-out hard-core pornography,” he said. “This is a company that has sold out families for the chance to make an illicit buck. It’s time for families to shop somewhere else.

“Pornography is not a victimless pastime, and thus AT&T is not an innocent provider of a normal consumer service. Porn is destructive to the viewer, to families, and to women and children who are often devastated by the men addicted to this filth. The company should be held accountable for its actions by the rest of us who have to live in a porn-drenched culture.”

Meanwhile, the charity work of Hilton and Hampton Inn company chairman Barron Hilton seems to be at odds with his company’s involvement with the “adult” sex industry. The Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel was the location for a recent conference of the world’s most prolific hard-core computer pornographers and webmasters.

AFA Director of Special Projects Randy Sharp said, “As an honorary director of the Boy Scouts of America, Mr. Hilton offers his valuable time to help boys be ‘morally straight.’ He also fights hard to make sure those who victimize children are duly punished while serving as a trustee for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. But when it comes down to what he does at the office, Hilton’s loyalty apparently lies with profits.”

Sharp said the New Orleans hotel hosted the Cybernet Expo Conference during the week of May 30-June 3, at which exhibitors shared their experiences and technology in helping Internet gurus produce more profits from hardcore pornography. At least two of the websites that sponsored the conference contain explicit sexual images including sodomy, group sex, and live sex.

Wildmon said Hilton should decide which master he wants to serve. “On one hand, Mr. Hilton offers to help children. On the other, he extends open arms to those who exploit them with hard-core sex,” he said. Wildmon said that a recent Time article revealed that 91% of teenagers have stumbled onto sites containing pornographic, hate-based or violent materials.

When questioned about the New Orleans Hilton’s openness toward pornographers holding a conference in their facilities, corporate communications vice-president Kathy Shepard said, “If they pay their bills and rent the space, Hilton doesn’t have a position. We don’t have an opinion on this stuff (hard-core pornography).”

In response to the apparent moral conflict of Barron Hilton’s personal involvement with a child victim organization while profiting from the sex industry, Shepard replied, “Mr. Hilton would not have an opinion on this either.”

Shepard added, “You (AFA) can do whatever you choose to do, it’s a free country. But we are not going to pull the business because you find it offensive. It is our prerogative to rent space to any organization.”

AFA’s New Orleans affiliate picketed the Hilton during the expo, said Director Kathleen Benfield. “Our goal is to make the community aware that the Internet is a very dangerous place,” she told the Clarion Herald, official publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. “We’re also outraged that the Hilton would allow its facilities to be used for this type of event.”

Paul Buckley, general manager for the New Orleans Hilton, denied there was anything pornographic about the conference, instead insisting that the Cybernet Expo group checked out to be "extremely honorable," according to the Clarion Herald.  undefined