back to top
Politics

We Went To The Mass Face-Sitting Protest Outside Parliament

Dozens of protesters sat on each other's faces while singing Monty Python in protest at new restrictions on what porn can be sold in the UK. NSFW.

Posted on

On Friday afternoon, dozens of protesters met outside parliament to demand the repeal of new regulations restricting the sale of UK pornography. By sitting on each other's faces.

The protest was organised by Charlotte Rose, former sex worker of the year and friend of ex-Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik.

Here's organiser Charlotte Rose. She is talking about spanking to this bashful man. #pornprotest

Jamie Ross@JamieRoss7Follow

Here's organiser Charlotte Rose. She is talking about spanking to this bashful man. #pornprotest

11:55 AM - 12 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Beforehand she pledged to break the record for the "biggest face-sitting event of all time" and hoped to have hundreds of people taking part.

The new restrictions, which came into effect on 1 December, ban certain extreme acts from being sold online by UK porn companies, including:

Sex Censorship / Via sexandcensorship.org

Essentially, if it can't be legally sold in a sex shop with an R18 rating, a film cannot be sold online in the UK.

To fans and creators of such porn, this is an affront to freedom of expression and the right of consenting adults to create what they want. They argue it will simply shift production overseas.

And then – without warning – the face-sitting began, yards away from parliament.

vine.co

Miss Absolute, a professional dominatrix, kept shouting at reporters to keep away from her cup of tea.

This man wore a snorkel before being sat on, in an attempt to mock the supposedly life-threatening danger posed by face-sitting.

Man wears snorkle outside parliament to keep breathing during #pornprotest

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Man wears snorkle outside parliament to keep breathing during #pornprotest

12:19 PM - 12 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And this man started a chant while being sat on.

vine.co

"What do we want?"

"FACE-SITTING!"

"When do we want it?"

"NOW!"

(You might want to turn the sound on for this one.)

This is Boom Boom, who dressed up as Santa and implored people to sit on his face.

You're alright mate. #pornprotest

(Eventually he succeeded in finding a willing participant.)

vine.co

The Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), the regulator of online paid-for video, came in for a lot of stick.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

The little-known regulator has pushed for the new rules, which were introduced with little debate or attention.

Many of the protesters complained that the banned acts affected women more than men.

Jim Waterson / BF

A common complaint was that a woman can be filmed choking on a man's penis but a woman can not be filmed while sitting on a man's face.

The protesters were split roughly 50/50 between men and women.

Some people made powerful speeches while face-sitting.

vine.co

Porn performer and producer Ashley Ryder complained that the new regulations were restricting the number of jobs in the UK.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

He said the UK was missing out on tax revenue and new jobs due to the new rules, "I was going to set up my own studio specialising in fisting and employed four people plus performers," he said.

As fisting is one of the acts banned by the new rules, Ryder is unable to sell his videos while based in the UK.

"Now I have to fly the crew to Berlin and Canada. I've been fisting myself for 13 years and now I have no job. You wouldn't cut off the employment of someone who went to medical school for 13 years. My case is not that different."

There were scenes such as this.

Even actor Rupert Everett had sent words of support.

Powerful words from Rupert Everett. #pornprotest

Jamie Ross@JamieRoss7Follow

Powerful words from Rupert Everett. #pornprotest

12:29 PM - 12 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

During the speeches one common complaint was that the laws favour traditional, heteronormative porn.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

"People shouldn't get hung up about particular acts being banned – this is about free speech," said one speaker. "The state is trying to take control of the internet. We need to stop that happening."

And then the climax: All the protesters came together for the finale as they attempted to break the record for the biggest face-sitting event ever.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

Some knew each other, some were newly acquainted, and some lay on the floor begging for people to sit on them. In total there were 21 pairs of face-sitters.

Everyone was handed this song sheet of a slightly modified version of "Sit on My Face" by Monty Python.

Well good heavens. This song sheet is being handed out to everyone. #pornprotest

Jamie Ross@JamieRoss7Follow

Well good heavens. This song sheet is being handed out to everyone. #pornprotest

12:25 PM - 12 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And then organiser Charlotte Rose led the crowd in a singalong.

vine.co

The protesters joined in, although some voices were a bit muffled for some reason.

Guinness World Records declined to adjudicate on the event. But we can confidently say this was the largest mass face-sitting in UK history.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

The entire event was polite, well-policed, and – in a strange way – very, very British.

Lawyer Myles Jackman, a specialist in obscenity cases, told the crowd that it was up to them to fight against internet censorship: "Consenting adults should be able to view and do what they want in the privacy of their own homes, with consent."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.