Skip to content

#111 – Sam Roth

#111 – Sam Roth published on No Comments on #111 – Sam Roth

“Jewish Self-Styled Prophet ‘Pirate’ and Pornographer Brought Ulysses to America” – HuffPost; October 30, 2013

Samuel Roth is the final influential Jewish mind we’ll be taking a look at in our Hannukah dive into the Jewish influencers behind adult entertainment!

Roth opened the doors for all other contributors to adult entertainment, as he was the victorious plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalized pornography in the United States.

Samuel, known by his Hebrew name as Mshillim, was born in Ukraine in 1893 and immigrated to New York with his family in 1897. He started his literary life as a poet in the 1920s, but turned to the then-unknown world of adult entertainment distribution via magazines in the 1930s as he found himself in need of work. He was arrested multiple times throughout the 1930s for breaching then-enforced obscenity laws.

By 1957, Roth brought a case to the Supreme Court in which he successfully argued that obscene materials such as pornography should be protected by the First Amendment, allowing for the continuation of his magazines on the grounds that the women weren’t performing lustful acts.

Roth truly paved the way for pornography’s growth in the United States, and for that we salute him!