Mary Whitehouse  

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

Mary Whitehouse CBE (13 June 191023 November 2001) was a British moral crusader and anti-pornography activist. Her values of morality and decency, derived principally from her Christian religious beliefs, focused her efforts in particular on the broadcast media where she felt these values were lacking.

In 1984, she mounted a decisive campaign in the UK about "video nasties", which led to the Video Recordings Act of that year.

In addition to her campaigns regarding television, Whitehouse brought a number of notable legal actions, including a private prosecution for blasphemous libel against Gay News in 1977 (Whitehouse v. Lemon), the first such prosecution since 1922. The private prosecution concerned a poem, The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name by James Kirkup, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. It resulted in a nine-month suspended jail sentence for the editor of Gay News

In 1990, Whitehouse claimed, on BBC radio, that Dennis Potter had been influenced by witnessing his mother engaged in adulterous sex. Potter's mother won substantial damages from the BBC and The Listener, who were reportedly unimpressed by Whitehouse's claim to have had a blackout on air and subsequently to have had no recollection of her words.

English noise music band Whitehouse's name was inspired by this British moral campaigner.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mary Whitehouse" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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