Bonzo Absent, But James Deen Goes to College

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PASADENA – from – A classroom talk with award-winning adult film star James Deen at Pasadena City College came and went without incident Wednesday, a day after college administrators forced the event to be closed to the public due to safety concerns.

Deen, who took classes at PCC before his porn career took off, spoke in Hugo Schwyzer’s Humanities 3 “Navigating Pornography” class for a little over an hour. The 27-year-old answered questions about the adult film industry and his own views on sex, relationships and political issues, including the recent law mandating condom use in porn movies.

Schwyzer originally planned to open Deen’s talk up to the public, but after press coverage of the event administrators told him he had to limit it to his students because he had not filed the proper paperwork.

Schwyzer said he was “grateful” the event went smoothly despite all the controversy.

“I think they made the wise decision to not interfere with the class today. I kept expecting the door to open and the campus police to come in,” Schwyzer said. “I think the college was blindsided by the media attention and if they had had police on camera it would have been an embarrassment for the college.”

There was no visible campus police presence at Deen’s lecture, and there was no one at the door to control who came in. Five campus police who walked by a post-lecture press conference did not stop or talk to anyone.

Media were allowed into the event after Schwyzer made a request to the college administration, said PCC spokesman Juan Gutierrez, though a statement released by the college Tuesday said press would not be allowed inside the classroom.

Gutierrez stressed that the college did not have a problem with the lecture’s content, but requested the event be moved because the proper paperwork was not filed to host a public event safely.

“To be honest, it just goes back to procedures,” Gutierrez said. “We’ve had in the past controversial speakers at public events and what we have is a process that is pretty cut and dried.”

He said administrators gave Schwyzer an opportunity to reschedule the event and make it public, but Schwyzer said Deen was only available to speak on Wednesday.

In his talk, Deen spoke candidly to a group of about 50 students about his relationships outside his porn work, public perceptions of sexuality and the issue of whether porn is demeaning to women.

He stressed that porn is meant to be entertainment, just like regular movies, and that it should not be used as a form of sex education.

“The mechanics of sex is a lot different than the discussion of sexuality,” Deen said. “I think it’s very important that people take this sex awareness that the Internet has created and allow themselves to learn about all the details behind it. It’s a whole subject that needs to be discussed.”

After the talk, Deen said he was surprised by the administration’s request to make his lecture private, and said he supports everyone’s right to protest his opinions, choices and profession and express their own views.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Deen said.

“I think the fact (the lecture) got shut down and made into a private thing was a little strange because I didn’t feel like we were doing anything wrong.”

The 5-foot 7-inch Deen has become a wildly popular adult film star over the past nine years and recently starred in a mainstream movie with Lindsay Lohan. He wore jeans, a T-shirt and blazer as he talked a mile a minute to the class, often laughing awkwardly and shuffling his feet.

“I’ve gotten where I am by just being myself and being honest and transparent,” Deen said. “I’m just going to keep being me.”

Seeing Deen act like a regular person, student Mila MacFarlane said, was exactly why she came to the lecture.

“I would encourage people to come to see the speakers in Schwyzer’s class because they are intelligent people. They are not just bodies and faces like many people think,” said MacFarlane, 24, referring to Deen and to three previous speakers from the porn industry she heard in last year’s class.

Student Samantha Wickersham, 20, agreed, saying talks like Deen’s are what she signed up for when she enrolled at PCC.

“The point of higher education is to teach us about things we wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to,” Wickersham said.


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