Al Goldstein  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Alvin Goldstein (January 10, 1936 – December 19, 2013) was an American publisher and pornographer. His company, Milky Way Productions - owner of Screw and the long-running cable TV show Midnight Blue - was started in 1968 and went into bankruptcy in 2004.

In 1989, Goldstein ran an advertisement offering $1 million for the assassination of the Ayatollah Khomeini, in response to Khomeini's fatwa against novelist Salman Rushdie.

In 2002, Goldstein was found guilty of harassing a former employee, having published her telephone number in Screw and encouraging readers to call her. Goldstein was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Goldstein served six days in prison before the charges were overturned on appeal. Goldstein apologised as part of a plea bargain.

In his 2011 book Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! - of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers, an American Tale of Sex and Wonder, former Screw writer and editor Mike Edison documents Goldstein's rise and fall against the successes of his peers Larry Flynt of Hustler, Bob Guccione of Penthouse, and Hugh Hefner of Playboy who had featured Goldstein in a Playboy Interview. Edison also champions Goldstein as a staunch fighter for the First Amendment, quoting author Gay Talese who wrote about Goldstein in his book Thy Neighbor's Wife as saying, "We need a free society, and freedom is not won by literary tea parties and well-meaning, virtuous publishers, it is won by disreputable people like Al Goldstein." Edison also quotes the New York reporter Jimmy Breslin as saying, "Al Goldstein is one of four people in the last 35 years who has effectively protected the First Amendment rights of reporters who bring the news to you. The others are Ralph Ginzburg, Larry Flynt, and Lenny Bruce. I know you don’t want to meet them, but you owe them.”

Goldstein died on December 19, 2013, of renal failure at a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

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