- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Anti-pornography groups are applauding a video made by comedic actor Russell Brand where he talks — seriously — about his past use of pornography and why he is worried about its social and personal harms.

“You have helped countless people,” Jill C. Manning, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and psychologist Gary R. Brooks said in an open letter to Mr. Brand on Wednesday.

“Too many people, and especially high-profile individuals, are ashamed to openly acknowledge how pornography has negatively impacted them,” the mental health professionals wrote, noting that Mr. Brand referred to their research in his nearly 9-minute video on his video series, “The Trews,” which stands for “true news.”

“Ironically, your spontaneous and authentic style may be the very antidote needed to help others honestly examine pornography’s destructive influence in their lives and ultimately share that wisdom with others,” they wrote, signing themselves as “your new fans.”

The letter was also signed by Girls Against Porn and Human Trafficking, Fight the New Drug, Enough is Enough and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Mr. Brand, a stand-up comedian, actor and ex-husband of songstress Katy Perry, says in his video — “50 Shades — Has Porn Ruined My Chance of a Happy Marriage?” — that he has not read or seen the blockbuster “Fifty Shades of Grey” book or movie.

But he recognized the mass “commodification” of pornography, which didn’t sit well with him, given his own past as a sex addict who pursued “hanky-panky like it was a job,” as he wrote in his 2007 book, “My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Stand-Up.”

While sitting shirtless on a bed with his dark hair tied back, Mr. Brand showed studies to the camera. He ran through several science-based side effects of pornography — like objectification of women, diminished trust between partners and fear of true intimacy — and commented on them, often personally.

“I was obsessed with porn as a teen,” he said, joking about how back then, boys had to scramble and hunt for magazines under people’s beds.

Now, there are “icebergs of filth floating through every house on WiFi,” he said.

Online porn and advertising and marketing displays of soft-pornography have caused many people’s views of sex to become “warped and perverted” and “deviated from its true function as an expression of love and a means for procreation,” said Mr. Brand, who intentionally closes his laptop at the end of his video as an authentic way to find happiness.

Mr. Brand’s video is on YouTube. With more than 2 million views of several versions of the video, “clearly people are interested in this issue,” the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said Wednesday.

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