Pamela Anderson and 'Kosher Sex' Guru's Anti-porn Message Draws Mixed Response

Baywatch star joined hands with Rabbi Boteach to warn of porn's dangers, but only some agree.

Shmuley Boteach and Pamela Anderson warn of what they call the dangers of pornography in Wall Street Journal' Op-Ed.
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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and former Playboy model Pamela Anderson's joint op-ed  on what they called the “devastation” caused by ubiquitous online pornography has inspired criticism alongside some praise.

Boteach, an Orthodox rabbi, and Anderson, a sex symbol also known for her role in the ’90s television series “Baywatch,” said that “from our respective positions of rabbi-counselor and former Playboy model and actress, we have often warned about pornography’s corrosive effects on a man’s soul and on his ability to function as husband and, by extension, as father,” the pair wrote in the article, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

“This is a public hazard of unprecedented seriousness given how freely available, anonymously accessible and easily disseminated pornography is nowadays,” the op-ed continued.

"Simply put, we must educate ourselves and our children to understand that porn is for losers," they wrote.

The Daily Beast's Amy Zimmerman lambasted the piece, saying it "feels like the outdated moralizing of a former sex icon who's just a little bit out of touch."

"Pamela Anderson is an icon of sex and screen - which makes her backward, unsubstantiated opinions on pornography even more disappointing," Zimmerman wrote.

Others took issue with the assumption that porn was at fault for societal ill, "It's a classic example of the fact that many things are laid at porn's door, that should be laid instead at society's," Cindy Gallop wrote in The Independent. "The issue isn't porn. The issue is the complete absence in our society of an open, healthy, honest conversation around sex in the real world."

"Pamela Anderson's op-ed urging people not to watch porn is so utterly ridiculous that I hardly know where to start (including the assumption that only men are interested in and consume porn)," wrote Gallop.

The article was praised by the Catholic Herald: "Well done to Ms. Anderson and Rabbi Boteach. We need to hear more on this subject from religious leaders and from the stars of the entertainment world If more religious leaders and entertainment stars spoke out on the subject the government might be pushed to take action."

The two linked their piece to the latest Anthony Weiner scandal. Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin announced Monday that she was separating from him after reports uncovered a suggestive photo indicating that the former congressman was continuing to engage in the “sexting” activities that forced him to resign in disgrace in 2011.

The pair did not distinguish between the commercial production and consumption of explicit videos and websites, said to be a $10-$12 billion industry in the United States, and the personal sex messaging that Weiner indulged in with women on the internet. But they do assert that Weiner had a “porn addiction” and “personal psycho-pathologies” that led him to share images of himself.

“Yet his behavior squares with what we have observed with all too many men, especially in the U.S. or other Western countries that enjoy liberal values and material prosperity,” they write.

Boteach, 49, a onetime TV reality show host and Republican congressional candidate, is the author of “Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy,” a guide to how modesty and restraint can enhance sexuality within marriage. In 2001, he participated in a public debate on pornography with Lindsey Vuolo, Playboy’s first Jewish model.

Anderson, also 49, was involved in a sex tape with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee, her then husband, which was stolen and leaked to the internet in 1995.