Al Goldstein, pioneering pornographer and publisher of Screw, dies

Dec. 19, 2013 at 2:50 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw magazine, which brought hard-core pornography into the cultural mainstream in the 1970s, died Thursday. He was 77.

The publisher of what he termed "the Consumer Reports of Sex" died in a nursing home in Cobble Hill section of New York City's Brooklyn. The cause was believed to be renal failure, Goldstein's lawyer Charles DeStefano said.

Goldstein's magazine, which debuted in 1968, deliberately lacked the sophistication other available men's publications and was the first to present sex without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety, the New York Times said Thursday, adding he lived to shock and offend.

Goldstein was arrested over a dozen times on obscenity charges. By the time Screw went bankrupt in 2003, overtaken by technology and social mores, he was no longer a force in the $10 billion industry he helped pioneer, but his influence was undeniable, the newspaper noted.

Alan Dershowitz, Goldstein's occasional lawyer, said in 2004, "He clearly coarsened America's sensibilities. Hefner (Hugh Hefner, Playboy publisher) did it with taste. Goldstein's contribution is to be utterly tasteless."

By 2003, Goldstein had lost his home and business and was employed in subsistence jobs and living in friends' apartments and Veterans Administration hospitals around New York, until he took up residence in the Brooklyn nursing home where he died.

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