Ferris Alexander and his “empire of smut”

Published March 10, 2015 by Kirsten Delegard

Between 1970 and 1990, local businessman Ferris Alexander confounded city leaders, enraged neighborhood activists and infuriated feminist anti-pornography activists in Minneapolis. Alexander built a chain of movie houses and bookstores that specialized in pornographic materials, profiting from a burgeoning desire for semi-public sexual explorations. For two decades he monopolized the sale of pornography in Minnesota, seizing the opportunity created by the loosening of obscenity regulations. In this hour-long podcast, Historyapolis blogger Kevin Ehrman-Solberg narrates the story of the man who ruled an “empire of smut” in Minnesota until the rise of home video recorders made these venues obsolete.┬áIt’s a rags to riches story with surprising twists and turns, unexpected alliances and lessons that policymakers and activists are still absorbing.

 

 

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