Speakers to debate hard facts on pornography

Kyle Almond

For 10 cans or $10, one can witness “The Great Porn Debate” between former sex addict Michael Leahy and porn star Ron Jeremy 7 p.m. today in White Concert Hall, Garvey Fine Arts Center. Those who bring an additional five cans will receive an autographed photograph of either speaker.

Leahy, a self-described recovering sex addict and member of the National Speakers Association, founded BraveHearts, an organization dedicated to the 20-40 million Americans suffering from what he calls Sexually Compulsivity Syndrome. Leahy says pornography cost him a 15-year marriage. Starting next year his ex-wife, Patty Onorato, will tour with him. Leahy speaks on the $57-billion-a-year adult-film industry and the way sex-saturation effects our culture and relationships. Leahy has been feature on TV shows “20/20,” “The View” and “Oprah.”

While Jeremy might be best known for his more than 1,800 adult film appearances, people who’ve attended “The Great Porn Debate” elsewhere have said that he is (often surprisingly) informed and articulate, defending pornography and, at the same time, calling for the industry to be kept well regulated, safe and responsible. Jeremy is a former high school special education teacher and possesses a master’s degree from Queens College in New York.

The program, moderated by John Paul of Washburn University’s sociology department, will center on a discussion of issues relating to pornography. Specifically, how pornography effects women, relationships and society. After the program, there will be a question-and-answer session.

However, this won’t be the typical great porn debate. Usually “Porn Pastor” Craig Gross, who runs the largest anti-pornography Web site in the world, www.XXXchurch.com, is opposite Jeremy while Leahy tours with his own program, “Porn Nation – The Naked Truth.”

Hosted by the Washburn Student Government Association, Washburn Finance Society, Campus Activities Board, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Chi, the debate’s ticket cost goes toward the CAN Emporia drive. Students who don’t already have their tickets may get them in the Student Activities and Greek Life, WSGA or CAB offices.