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'Deep' difference in newpapers' NC-17 ads

The idea that newspapers don’t accept advertising for NC-17 films has been a myth for a while now, yet not all papers’ decency standards are equal, as demonstrated by the New York and Los Angeles Times’ approaches to Universal’s “Inside Deep Throat,” opening Friday.

The L.A. Times’ ad for the movie, which ran in the weekend Calendar section, was hard to miss. Spanning an entire page, the spot was more like a lascivious assault: a pair of glossy lips, opened in a suggestive invitation to do something more than just come hither.

Considering that the NC-17 documentary is about “Deep Throat,” the 1972 cult porn pic that added a whole new chapter on esophageal functions, the ad’s intent was not exactly ambiguous.

Meanwhile, the New York Times ran a much more subtle, almost self-effacing ad on Sunday: a quarter-page black square on which was written the film’s title and teaser (“It was filmed in 6 days for 25 thousand dollars. The government didn’t want you to see it,” etc.) in small, white print.

Because the film is first being released in select markets, it remains to be seen whether papers in the Red States will be willing to run ads for the movie, period.

Both the New York and L.A. Times issued statements to Daily Variety regarding their decisions to run the “Inside Deep Throat” spots. Both emphasized the papers’ willingness to run ads for NC-17 rated movies.

The New York Times added the disclaimer that the ads be “in acceptable taste.” The L.A. Times pointed out that it did not accept ads for X-rated or adult pics, and that, in the case of “Inside Deep Throat,” the pic “went through the normal review process and was considered a legitimate documentary. We ran the ad as submitted.”

Lest the FCC take any swipes at the L.A. Times’ decision to run the raunchier ad, the Times’ statement also pointed out that it was a “family newspaper.”

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