A documentary about the life of a man who set up Hollywood stars with same-sex partners will remain in Lafayette Parish public libraries, but only patrons 17 years old and up will be able to check it out.
The Lafayette Parish Library Board of Control voted 6-0 Monday during a three-hour meeting to treat the documentary movie “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” the same as movies rated NC-17, the rating given to movies whose content is considered by a ratings board to be too adult for children.
“Scotty” is not rated. Three NC-17 DVDs are available at Lafayette Parish public libraries.
By treating “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” as an NC-17 movie, patrons using a self-checkout kiosk will be instructed by the computer to go to the circulation desk where a librarian will check the patron’s ID, Library Director Danny Gillane said.
Library patron Kathy Lafleur had asked that the DVD be removed from the library system. When a committee of two librarians and one board member reviewed and rejected the request in March, she appealed to the full library board.
Lafleur did not attend Monday’s meeting, but at least 50 other people did.
Five of the six board members present viewed the entire movie. Stephanie Armbruster said she watched parts of the movie but would not expose herself to the movie in its entirety, saying it contains pornography and is “evil.” The library has filters on computers to block pornography and does not subscribe to pornographic magazines, she said, so why would the library have on its shelves a movie containing pornography.
Children who see the film may conclude it’s OK when a neighbor asks them to sit on his lap and perform sex acts, Armbruster said. An adult may conclude they can sexually abuse a child and the child won’t really mind, she added.
The movie, Armbruster said, “sensationalizes and normalizes pedophilia.”
Board President Robert Judge agreed. The movie, he said, explains “the deviant decadence that is Hollywood.”
David Pitre, one of the newest board members, noted he was voting to keep the movie in the library but believes the board should be guided by existing library and state library association rules regarding age appropriateness.
There are things in the “Scotty” movie Pitre said he considers “repulsive.” Scotty Bowers, he said, was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and hooked up a female classmate with a female teacher for sex, never finding anything wrong with what he did.
As an adult, Bowers said he set up secretly gay Hollywood stars for same-gender sex and himself had sex with men and women.
The request to remove the DVD from the Lafayette Parish library system is the third request to remove materials since October. The library’s reconsideration committee reviewed requests to ban two books from the library system, rejecting both requests by Michael Lunsford, a St. Martin Parish resident who works in Lafayette as executive director of the dark-money conservative “government watchdog” group Citizens for a New Louisiana.
The library board voted not to ban “This Book is Gay” after Gillane said the book and the entire teen nonfiction section would be moved to the adult nonfiction section. Lunsford did not appeal to the full board after the committee rejected his request to ban “The V Word.” Only the person filing the reconsideration request is allowed to appeal reconsideration committee decisions to the full board.
Judge attempted to remove librarians from the reconsideration committee, but the board instead voted to keep one librarian on the committee and add a second board member.
I have placed the composition of the reconsideration committee on Monday’s meeting agenda, but it was tabled along with two other items after questions were raised about whether existing bylaws and proposed changes comply with the Louisiana Open Meetings law.