Jeffrey Handy, the guy promoting Exxxotica porn conventions under the name J Handy, says in a new court filing that Dallas knew exactly what it was getting into when it allowed the porn convention to come to the city's convention center last summer. Nevertheless, the City Council banned Handy and the porn convention from using the convention center in 2016 because, the city says in its own court filings, they thought the porn convention would feature more clothing and less lewdness than the porn convention actually did.
The Observer is just trying to be clear here in case readers, like city officials apparently did in 2015, miss the fact that Exxxotica (note the three "X's") is, in fact, a porn convention. For those unfamiliar with the genre, pornography is known for being light on the clothing, heavy on the lewd. Some might argue that's the whole point.
Exxxotica's parent company, Three Expo events, has sued the city, claiming that the ban amounts to a prior restraint on Handy's and Exxxotica's First Amendment right to free speech.
According to Handy, he discussed what the porn stars at the show would be wearing with convention center officials before the conference and fixed the city's issues as they arose during — something that's at least somewhat documented in a series of text messages between Handy and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center compliance director John Johnson during Exxxotica 2015.
Johnson declined a chance to comment for this story, but he was at a meeting on August 5, 2015, recorded by Handy, during which, Handy says, the city neglected tell him that G-strings and pasties were not acceptable attire. Johnson, Handy says, even asked what would happen if a "Super Bowl incident" took place — referring to Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" nipple-slip in 2004. Police said that any pasty that fell off would simply have to be replaced immediately.
Once the event started on August 7, Handy says he worked with the city to make sure everything went off — and stayed on — without a hitch.
"The Exxxotica event took place as scheduled ... beginning on Friday, August 7, 2015. On Friday evening, I walked the exhibit space after the convention was underway and when some exhibitors or participants were only wearing G-strings and pasties on at least two different occasions with city officials; once with John Johnson and once with Officer Jamie Keough. Neither Mr. Johnson nor Officer Keough objected to or complained that only pasties and G-strings were being worn. Neither Johnson nor Keough nor anyone else with the city raised any issues about how we were checking IDs. We knew this was an issue for the city, so Expo hired two additional individuals from D & L Entertainment, our third party security company, specifically to check IDs," Handy says in court documents.
Throughout the convention, the city only raised two issues, Handy says. One came on the expo's first day when a city attorney objected to a poster of a topless woman. Expo covered the breasts and all was well. The second, also on the first night, was when convention officials said the stage show needed to end by 10:30 p.m. Three Expo complied.
"Both of these actions are referred to in the attached text messages between me and John Johnson," Handy says. "At no time during the walk-throughs by the Convention Center staff or by DPD /Vice Lt. Jamie Keough or DPD Major Melissa McGee was there any issue raised regarding women wearing only pasties or tape covering their nipples and areolas but otherwise exposing their breasts. There was no issue raised about any portion of a buttock being exposed."
Handy and Johnson exchanged texts — which you can see on pages 35-38 of the included PDF — throughout the run-up to Exxxotica, the conference and it's aftermath. This year, they've texted about potential dates for Exxxotica 2016. When the council's decision came down to ban Exxxotica, Johnson texted Handy: "I'm shocked. But what can you do..." Handy replied, basically, that the only thing he could do was sue, and that's just what he did.
The first hearing in the lawsuit is set for April 18.