The Persecution of Pee-Wee Herman

| January 29, 2003

When an L.A. teenager filed a complaint against actor Paul Reubens, whose Pee-Wee Herman character delighted retro-culture fans?and kids?in the ?90s, police found kitsch collections of ?classic food,? E.T. memorabilia, and vintage gay pornography in his home. Charges against the actor were eventually dropped, but Reubens was arrested for possession of child pornography; including a few dozen photos of adolescent boys that are today contraband, but were perfectly legal when published in the ?50s and ?60s, and mere minutes of gay film footage featuring teenage boys from the same era. At the center of this case, writes Richard Goldstein in The Village Voice, is the question of whether Reubens knowingly purchased these items when amassing his 100,000-piece collection.
-Erin Ferdinand

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