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Al Goldstein, who published the pioneering pornographic Screw magazine, has died. He was 77.
His lawyer, Charles C. DeStefano, told the New York Times that the cause of death was renal failure.
Goldstein was not one for subtlety, stripping pornography of any class or pretense that had preceded his Screw magazine, which debuted in 1968. In that first issue, its manifesto claimed that it would never clean anything up, noting, “We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.”
The Associated Press notes that Goldstein became a reluctant defender of the First Amendment, noting that when he grew up, sex was considered dirty and his magazine frequently included editorials slamming religious leaders. Still, he was arrested 19 times during Screw’s early years for obscenity and finally scored a legal victory when a judge threw out an obscenity case in 1974.
“I really need the attention of being arrested, because that means I'm still bugging the establishment, that I'm still gadfly to the state,” he once said in a Playboy interview. “"Acceptance of me and Screw would be the kiss of death.”
However, other magazines like Hustler became more popular than Screw, which finally folded in 2003 and he declared bankruptcy.
Goldstein married five times and is survived by his estranged fifth wife, Christine, and his son.