Rap group 2 Live Crew's "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" album remains available at most record stores in Southern California despite a Florida retailer's conviction on obscenity charges Wednesday for selling the album.
Representatives of three of the area's major retail record chains--Wherehouse Entertainment, Music Plus and Tower Records--said their outlets will continue stocking and selling the sexually explicit album to adults. The album is sold with an advisory label warning parents that the record contains explicit lyrics.
Sam Goody's, the 164-store, Burbank-based chain, is the only major retailer in California to ban sales of the "Nasty" album, but the decision not to stock the album was made shortly after Florida Gov. Bob Martinez called for an investigation of the Miami rap group's record company on obscenity and racketeering charges. The investigation was dropped in March.
Bob Delanoy, vice president for retail operations for the 58-store Tower chain, said the conviction of Charles Freeman, owner of E.C. Records in Ft. Lauderdale, will have no effect on the way Tower does business.
"We're against what happened to the retailer out in Florida," Delanoy said in a phone interview from the company's headquarters in Sacramento. "If you ask me, adults should have the right to buy what they want. I think the moralists in this country are getting way out of line regarding their attitude toward the First Amendment."
CD Unlimited manager Paul Turney, who oversees two independent record stores in Costa Mesa, decided to stop carrying the album at the first of the year because he considered it "inappropriate."
"Our decision to stop carrying the 2 Live Crew had nothing to do with censorship," Turney said. "We just felt that we didn't want something like that in our store."
E.C. Records Store owner Freeman was convicted by a jury Wednesday for selling obscene material--marking the first time a retailer in the United States has ever been convicted for selling an obscene musical recording. The ruling has no legal force on retailers outside Southern Florida.
Freeman drew national attention after he defied Broward County police warnings to stop selling "Nasty," which was declared obscene on June 6 by a federal judge in Ft. Lauderdale. Arrested on June 8 for selling a copy of the album to an undercover adult police officer, Freeman now faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2.
Three members of 2 Live Crew are scheduled to go on trial in Florida on Tuesday.