The New York Times reports that Al Goldstein, a pornographer and magazine publisher, passed today at the age of 77 due to renal failure. Here’s 5 Fast Facts.
1. Al Goldstein Published Screw Magazine
Screw magazine was started in 1968 in a world where pornography was sold under the guise of being classy or refined. Screw, however, brought edgy grit and realism to the industry. In its debut issue, Al wrote:
“We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ. We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.”
The magazine led Al to be charged with obscenity multiple times, including a $5 million slander lawsuit due to the magazine reporting that Alabama governor, George Wallace, had learned sex acts from the publication. Al and George ended up settling for $12,500.
2. Goldstein Notoriously Owned a Massive Middle Finger
Goldstein’s massive middle finger stood in his waterfront mansion’s backyard, a not-so-subtle gesture to passing boaters. He reportedly parted with the estate for some $1.7 million in 2004.
Apparently, however, he took the finger with him. Pompano Beach Mayor, John Rayson, said upon his sale of the estate, “I didn’t like the finger. I know it’s a free speech issue, but it was embarrassing. Every time I went out on my boat I’d see it.”
He erected the finger in 1998 after buying it from ABC show, Spin City, where it was used as a prop.
3. Goldstein’s Mark on Pornography Was His Brash, Tasteless Approach
“He clearly coarsened American sensibilities, Hefner did it with taste, Goldstein’s contribution is to be utterly tasteless.”
said his ex-lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, in 2004. He told Playboy in a 1974 interview, “”We [at Screw magazine] lead the league in tastelessness. Our photographs are filthier and our stories are more disgusting. We make no effort to be artistic. Our photos are so explicit that the readers can see the come running from the girl’s mouth. Our stock in trade is raw, flailing sex.”
Rotten.com reports of Al that he “once offered $10,000 to anyone who could locate an actual snuff film (snuff created for sexual purposes.) Nobody has ever claimed this reward.”
Screw was not without its progressive edge, publishing two men engaging in sexual intercourse in 1969.
4. Al Claims to Have Been Arrested 17 Times
While many of the cases were obscenity charges, Al has gotten into recent trouble with authorities. He was reportedly taken off a plane in Fort Lauderdale after making lewd comments to a security screener.
5. Al is Survived by His Son and 5 Ex-Wives
He was reportedly long estranged from his 5th wife, Christine.