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Democratic Senator Dick Durbin Holds Press Conference With Anti-Porn Crusading Group NCOSE

WASHINGTON — Democratic U.S. Senator for Illinois Dick Durbin participated in a joint press conference Wednesday with the CEO of crusading anti-porn crusading group NCOSE (formerly Morality in Media).

The press conference was organized by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham to marshall support for the controversial Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT) Act.

Leading free speech groups, including Free Speech Coalition, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation have expressed serious concerns about the EARN IT Act, which has been floated by anti-Section 230 lawmakers for several years.

Woodhull President and CEO Ricci Joy Levy called the 2022 version of the EARN IT Act “an attack on internet freedom, an attack on the First Amendment and an attack on human rights.”

A Woodhull rep explained that the EARN IT Act “would make internet platforms legally liable for any illegal sexual content posted to their platforms or service — even if they aggressively block and immediately remove such content.”

The rep added that the proposed law “incentivizes internet platforms to broadly censor legal speech under the pretense of pursuing illegal content.”

Wednesday’s press conference was posted on YouTube by Graham, although his account disabled comments or the option to share it.

Graham announced the conference through a post on X.com announcing that he was “holding a press conference on the need to pass legislation to protect kids online and hold Big Tech accountable.”

The post announced the presence of Durbin, and staff from NCOSE, Protect All Children from Trafficking (PACT) and International Justice Mission (IJM).

According to an IJM statement, speakers at the press conference included NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins, a conservative Mormon activist who was key in changing the branding of. Morality in Media to downplay its religiously-inspired pro-censorship core mission.

Under Hawkins’ leadership, NCOSE has found success sharing projects and podia with supposedly progressive legislators, usually in the name of bipartisanship, although the well-funded anti-porn and anti-sex work organization claims to be non-partisan.

As XBIZ reported, in March Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez issued a press statement prominently highlighting her involvement with NCOSE and Hawkins.

AOC’s office refused to answers questions about why the supposedly pro-sex work legislator chose to highlight an organization that seeks to criminalize all sex work and eradicate adult content, and that has an extensive, well-documented history of championing state censorship and opposing LGBTQ+ rights.

Durbin hailed Wednesday’s press conference featuring NCOSE, celebrating that although the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, “is not always known for bipartisanship. Yet, one year ago, all 21 members — every Democrat and every Republican on the committee — unanimously passed” five online speech regulation bills, which he claimed were designed to make minors “safer online.” 

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