Sending your friends disgusting porn. 2 Girls, 1 Cup. Mr. Hands. It’s all fun and games. Until someone gets arrested for watching tiger porn.

British obscenity laws are some of the strictest in the world. Understandably, criminal acts (paedophilia, bestiality, etc .) are banned from being shown in pornography, but now, many things that are perfectly legal in the bedroom are illegal to be shown on film. Consequently, sending your friend a weird but harmless porno can get them arrested.

Andrew Holland, a 51 year old bus driver from Wales checked his email one day to discover that one of his friends had sent him a video of a woman having sex with what was a man in a tiger costume, the big tip off being that the ‘tiger’ was talking. Laughing it off as a bit of a sick video, Andrew put it out of his mind, until he was arrested with possession of extreme pornography. The state eventually dropped the case but soon after arrested him the possession of a second video that his friend had sent him, this one containing genital piercing.

‘Man Arrested for Tiger Porn’ is a very catchy headline, and news of Andrew’s arrest and trial spread like wild fire through the UK. Although the charges were eventually dropped, they effectively ruined Andrew’s life. He lost his job (being arrested for possession of extreme pornography doesn’t look great on a resume) he was branded a paedophile (a cruel game of telephone led people to believe the chargers were related to child pornography), and suffered a heart attack due to stress. His name appeared on a number of name-and-shame websites, and people started distancing themselves from him. The charges may have been dropped but the damage was done.

The issue here is that while it’s understandable that things like bestiality or necrophilia are illegal to own and watch, a lot of British people are confused by the fact that things which are perfectly legal in the privacy of their bedroom can get them arrested the second they watch it on film. While there is definitely a need for the regulation of pornography in the digital age, most British people believe that it should not extend as far as it does.

Andrew is working to clear his name and to bring light to this issue. He believes it’s unfair for a harmless joke to have such horrendous consequences.

Natalie