Smut Peddler, Guv Hopeful Meg Whitman Waffles on Porn Subsidies

Categories: Politics
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Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who as eBay CEO proved her mettle as a hardcore fetish pornography entrepreneur, did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday about whether as governor she would seek to continue a California program that, until recently, subsidized the production of smut.

Next week's SF Weekly includes an exclusive report about a California economic development program that has routed tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies to an Internet pornography producer. Continuing -- or even bolstering -- this practice would seem a tailor-made campaign issue for Whitman, who bills herself as a business whiz ready to revive the California economy. She backs her economic talk with real chops: In 1998, just as eBay was preparing an initial stock offering, Whitman oversaw the creation of a special eBay site exclusively for the sale of pornography. The move was prescient -- though much porn consumption has shifted to streaming Internet video, there's still a market for specialized fetish material best sold in DVD -- or otherwise physically-shippable form.

In this spirit, Whitman's "eBay Adults Only" brainchild is a place where, on April 15, $5.94 got one into the bidding for a DVD titled Redneck Trailer Torture. With $12 one could vie for "porn star Brianna Ryder's personal g-string," and $7.99 put one in the running for the DVD Grandma Has Sex With Everybody! Anal, Oral, Group!
By mid-day on April 15,  Whitman's adults-only Web-auction brainchild had more than 87,000 items for sale, with prices the $5-$20 range. If this is typical, a back-of-the-used-thong calculation suggests an eBay porno-based income of several million dollars per year, potentially funding dozens of California jobs.

On Wednesday SF Weekly asked Whitman spokesman Mitch Zak whether, given Whitman's smut-peddling success, the porn-industry could count on her support as governor. Zak had not responded by press time.
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