Why is Amazon Prime promoting 70s porn films to viewers?

Why is Amazon Prime promoting 70s porn films to viewers? Feminist writer blasts streaming service for featuring ‘crass’ British movies that trivialise sexual harassment by presenting it as a ‘hilarious joke’

  • Feminist writer Kate Smurthwaite, of London, says 1970s softcore films are crass
  • Amazon Prime features dozens of 1970s softcore slapstick flicks to buy or rent
  • Kate argues films routinely present sexual harassment as a ‘hilarious’ joke
  • Listing films on recommended lists sends message about appropriate behaviour

A feminist writer and comedian has blasted Amazon Prime for its catalogue of ‘crass’ British sex comedy films, arguing they trivialise sexual harassment by presenting it as a ‘hilarious joke’.

The online platform features a number of 1970s softcore porn slapstick flicks, complete with suitably saucy descriptions, available to buy or rent.

One source told FEMAIL they’d recently been ‘recommended’ several of the films by Amazon, including Confessions Of A Pop Performer – one of four films from the Confessions sex comedy series, which coincided with the Carry On films becoming more mainstream in Britain.

London-born Kate Smurthwaite told FEMAIL: ‘I’m not offended by nudity or sexual scenes or references. The issue is that these films routinely present sexual harassment as a “hilarious” joke.

Amazon Prime features dozens of 1970s softcore slapstick flicks, complete with suitably saucy descriptions, available to buy or rent. Pictured: a scene from Confessions of a Window Cleaner

‘The same is true of some modern shows such as Keith Lemon’s output. Recommending them on mainstream platforms reinforces the message that this behaviour is normal and even funny.

‘For many women the experience of being harassed and then told to “take it as a joke” is all too familiar.’

According to the Amazon description, the Confessions series follows the ‘saucy antics of the hapless Timothy Lea’. In Pop Performer he begins managing a hopeless rock band after being ‘lured’ by the prospect of female groupies.

It was hardly a box office smash; Confessions of a Pop Performer was voted joint Worst British Film of 1975 by Sight & Sound magazine. 

According to the Amazon description, the Confessions… series follows the ‘saucy antics of the hapless Timothy Lea. Pictured: a scene from Confessions of a Window Cleaner

The entire collection – which also includes Confessions of a Window Cleaner, where ‘accident-prone Tim finds himself very much in demand with his female customers’, and Confessions of a Driving Instructor, in which Tim demonstrates ‘more interest in the female customers than in teaching them to drive’ – is also available to purchase on DVD from Amazon.

The ‘Adventures of…’ series, directed by Stanley Long, followed hot on the heels of Confessions, the third of which – available to watch on Amazon Prime – is Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate.

In one scene, a female character tells randy tradesman Sid South: ‘You are my master, I am your slave, be rough with me, quick, quickly.’

In the innuendo-packed The Ups and Downs of a Handyman [1976] – once described by the Radio Times as ‘one long smutty gag’ – Bob, played by Barry Stokes, sets himself up as a local odd jobs man, and quickly becomes entangled with the ‘sexually unfulfilled beauties’ (pictured) 


London-born feminist writer Kate Smurthwaite told FEMAIL: ‘I’m not offended by nudity or sexual scenes or references. The issue is that these films routinely present sexual harassment as a “hilarious” joke’. Pictured left: a scene from Confessions of a Driving Instructor and right: another sex scene from Confessions of a Window Cleaner

Other flicks available to rent include Au Pair Girls (pictured) from 1972. According to the Amazon description, the ‘delectable’ Gabrielle Drake ‘gets naked and naughty’ in a ‘saucy, sexy tale of four international au pair girls who come to London and find themselves embroiled in nudity, naughtiness and novel sexual situations!’

Amazon uses an algorithm called ‘item-based collaborative filtering’ to compose its list of recommendations for customers. It pairs a user’s purchased or rated items to similar products on its site, combining them into a list.

Kate argued: ‘Media streaming services should take the time to think about what they are putting on their platforms and recommending to their customers.

‘There are lots of great shows to choose from that don’t resort to this sort of cheap crass humour. Seeing these kinds of shows on recommended lists sends a message to young people about appropriate behaviour.

‘It can also be upsetting for women who have survived sexual harassment to see it trivialised.’ 

Seventies soft porn films available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime 

The Ups and Downs of A Handyman (1976)

Amazon description: The sexually unfulfilled beauties of Sodding Chipbury lead frustrated lives – until Bob, the handsome new handyman, arrives in their village equipped with just the right tool to do a perfect job!

Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate (1978)

Amazon description: Randy plumber, Sid South, enjoys a profession which offers him ample opportunity to bed sexy housewives. 

Confessions Of A Pop Performer (1975)

Amazon description: Timothy Lea (Robin Askwith) signs up with a hopeless rock group in this bawdy farce. Somehow, they manage to book their band for a Royal charity show at the London Palladium.

Au Pair Girls (1972)

Amazon description: The delectable Gabrielle Drake gets naked and naughty in this saucy, sexy tale of four international au pair girls who come to London and find themselves embroiled in nudity, naughtiness and novel sexual situations! The great Val Guest directs and Astrid Frank, Johnny Briggs and Richard O’Sullivan co-star. 

Adventures of a Taxi Driver (1976) 

Amazon description: The first in the hugely successful ADVENTURES series broke box office records in 1976. Barry Evans stars as Joe North, the over-sexed taxi driver looking for his next pick up! 

Kate (pictured) argued media streaming services should ‘take the time to think about what they are putting on their platforms and recommending to their customers’

She added: ‘This is not about banning things or censorship; real fans will always be able to download shows or order a DVD. But if streaming companies can’t find anything else to promote, maybe they should support the comedians who have been devastated by lockdown and commission some new shows that are fit for a post #MeToo world.’

One could argue that the sex comedy films’ presence on the platform jars with the ‘woke’ ethos of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Last week the richest man in the world threw his personal support, as well as the company’s, behind the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis.  

In February philanthropist Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, pledged $10 billion to help scientists and activists fight climate change – a new initiative he called the Bezos Earth Fund.

In the last couple of years has ramped up his giving; in September 2018 he announced that he, along with his then-wife MacKenzie, was donating $2 billion to help homeless families and build a network of Montessori preschools.  

FEMAIL has reached out to Amazon for comment. 

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