Off the shelves at OutVideo
Authorities have cracked down on imported gay and lesbian films being sold without classification at a Melbourne video store this week.
OutVideo was ordered to remove all unclassified films from its shelves during a routine inspection by community liaison officers from the Attorney-General’s Department.
“I personally have not told them to stop distributing the material but I would expect that law enforcement agencies or liaison services would, as it is against the law,” Philip Ruddock said.
The gay-owned retail and online outlet carries gay and lesbian titles released locally and already classified, as well as imported titles.
OutVideo manager Todd Buttery said the cost to have a film classified – usually $700 to $840 per film – was prohibitive.
He said OutVideo imported titles that weren’t commercially viable for general release but were of value to the community, adding the store only stocked films that would be considered up to R-rated.
“We are doing everything we can to get an exemption to allow us to continue to supply the community with these titles,” Buttery said.
“If this stands it looks like all the gay and lesbian outlets would have to stop, which is going to greatly affect our community as a whole.”
QueerScreen manager Lex Lindsay said gay and lesbian films that were new or not commercial enough for general release could still be shown at festivals.
“When it comes to purchasing and owning something, it’s perfectly justified to put films through a classification process in order to make sure they are genuinely fit for general consumption,” Lindsay said.
He agreed the cost of classification was “bloody expensive” but that was a part of a commercial undertaking.
At this stage no other gay and lesbian outlet carrying imported films has reported receiving a similar warning, but those contacted by SSO were reluctant to speak out and draw attention.
See www.outvideo.com.au or www.outdvd.com.au.