Just as a precautionary warning, this report includes some pretty sensitive material.
Weird sexual fetishes exist, and there’s unquestionably no way around that fact. I’m not going to talk about a lot of them because some are pretty, well … vulgar. In Japan, watching Hentai, which is a sexually explicit cartoon, is pretty common. In other countries around the world, the practice is not quite so accepted.
A New Zealand man has apparently been convicted, and will spend three months in prison for his bizarre fetish which involves watching “elves, pixies, and other fantasy creatures” performing lewd acts.
According to a Fairfax New Zealand news site, the cartoon characters were “clearly young elves and pixies, which led to concerns the images were linked to child sexual abuse.” New Zealand anti-child pornography activists are all for the sentence because they believe that the images could encourage people “to migrate from there to the real thing.”
Whether or not the cartoon characters actually resemble children we probably won’t know, because I’m certainly not willing to go look and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment. Here in the United States, even the legality of “virtual child pornography” is questionable.
Child pornography is illegal and not protected under free speech because the children involved in such vile acts are harmed. Of course, it’s also quite a sinister and disgusting practice, but that’s beside the point. The question of legality in regards to “virtual” child porn was upheld in a US Supreme Court ruling that took place in 2002. The related case was Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition.
After the ruling, Congress passed a 2003 law called the PROTECT Act, that outlined in much greater detail what kind of images are, in fact, illegal. If an animated image is “indistinguishable from” actual child pornography, than those in possession can be prosecuted even if there was no child involved.
The New Zealand man’s lawyer argued that when looking at the characters in the cartoon “you knew at a glance [they] weren’t human.” He also said that the fact that his client was prosecuted for digitally created content is an example of “the law gone mad.”
It is said that sometimes activists can go overboard, and I truly wonder if that’s the case here. Sending a man to jail for watching what is essentially animations of fantasy creatures that could resemble children and might help people migrate to the real thing? I’m not pro-child abuse or pro-child porn, obviously, but I don’t know… this sounds a bit too harsh. I’m sure we’ll see all manner of colorful comments  about this one.