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Porn film duplicity puts city on guard

St. Petersburg leaders are looking for ways to make sure the city doesn't do business with "any enterprise of that nature" again.

Published January 20, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - City leaders said Thursday they were shocked to learn that a pornographic movie was shot aboard the HMS Bounty at the Pier, a downtown spot treasured as a family-friendly location.

Now they plan to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"It's not just the fact that they gained access to the vessel under false pretenses; they gained access to a city facility under false pretenses," said City Council Chairman Bill Foster. "I just want to make sure that we don't do business with any enterprise of that nature."

Mayor Rick Baker said he asked his staff to suggest ways for "additional due diligence" to keep something like this from happening in the future.

"They did do due diligence," Baker said. "I think you can always do more."

Pirates debuted in September and already has sold more than 100,000 copies, making it one of the biggest adult movies of all time.

While the Pier is owned by the city, the Bounty is owned by a private group, Tall Ship Bounty Organization. The ship docks at the Pier several months each winter and spring and hosts about 10 film and TV shoots a year.

Producers told Bounty officials that Pirates was a PG-13 movie. They sold it as a comedy that involved a pirate searching for a magical scepter.

But rumors spread during the shooting that it included porn stars, prompting Bounty officials to ask producers not to mention St. Petersburg or the ship in the credits or other materials associated with the film. They didn't.

While most of the sex scenes were shot at a California studio, the fact that the Bounty was used in a porn film angered and embarrassed city officials.

Foster said he plans to discuss the issue further with the city's legal department. He wants to know what kind of language can be written into contracts, without violating First Amendment rights, to prevent a similar situation.

"I just hope it never comes up again," he said. "Is there a way to prevent it in a foolproof manner? No. The city is too big and we have too many facilities and too many people with access.

"But we can at least do something contractually to reduce the chances of it happening again."

[Last modified January 20, 2006, 01:46:11]

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