On November 26 1992, a Paris Catholic group called Avenir de la Culture (The Future Of Culture) filed 2 lawsuits against Madonna and her publisher for corrupting the French youth with pornography and to have all copies of the SEX book destroyed.
The lawyer representing the group had this to say about SEX:
“The book is part of a destructive trend which shocks the morals of young people.”
On November 21 1992, Madonna’s SEX book was banned in Ireland (a month after it went on sale). The Censorship Board decided that any future shipments of the book should not be sold. Booksellers and fans voiced their opposition, but an appeal of the decision never occurred. Additional copies of the book were never made available, making the ban a silly waste of time.
On October 23 1992, one day after Madonna’s Sex book was released, it was confirmed that in Europe more than 100,000 copies had been sold, another 100,000 in England, 25,000 in France and the book was completely sold-out in Australia, not to mention North America where sales were topping 150,000 after a single day.
On April 20 1992, Madonna signed a deal with Time Warner to set up her own multimedia entertainment company called Maverick.
The 7-year arrangement (with an option to extend to 11 years) allowed Madonna to run Maverick with her then long-time manager, Freddy DeMann, and have its headquarters based in Los Angeles.
Madonna was advanced as much as $60 million for the deal that included music publishing, television, film, merchandising and book-publishing.
David Geffen said this of the deal:
“Madonna’s deal is certainly extraordinary, but I think she’s a great talent with a great will, and if she wants to do something she’ll do it. She works very hard, takes big risks and stays at the cutting edge of what’s happening.”
Charles Koppelman, the chief operating officer of EMI Records North America, had this to day:
“If anyone is going to get a deal of this magnitude, she is the kind of artist to give it to, she’s the exception: someone who taps into artists and musical genres before the rest of the world does. In other deals where artists get their own labels, such perks are usually window dressing to satisfy their egos. Madonna’s different. I would bet on her to make something more of it.”
The first two projects released under Maverick included Madonna’s own Erotica album and her coffee table SEX book, in October of 1992.
On November 1 1992, Madonna’s Sex book hit #1 on the Washington Post non-fiction bestseller list.
Here’s a snippet of Zoe Heller’s article on the Sex book in The Independent:
It starts out black and white, S & M, down and dirty. In various urban crypts and dungeons, we see Madonna bound up by multi-pierced lesbians (they point knives at her throat and crotch); Madonna biting at a male arsehole; Madonna whipping a large PVC-clad woman. There is Madonna as Weimar-style decadent, cavorting with gay strippers, and as cutie schoolgirl, being raped by skinheads in a school gym. You get the picture.
As Sex proceeds, colour photography is introduced – a washed-out, Fifties sort of pastel – and Madonna emerges from subterranea to expose herself on roadsides and in pizza parlours. Interspersed throughout are scraps of Madonna-think: a tribute to her vagina (‘It smells like a baby to me, fresh and full of life’), a horrifyingly cutesy account of masturbating for the first time (‘honey poured from my 14-year-old gash and I wept’). You get the prose.
On October 30 1992, the public libraries in Mesa, Arizona, cancelled their orders for Madonna’s Sex book after local residents protested its purchase.
Here’s a snippet from Vicki Goldberg’s New York Times article on the book:
Madonna’s new book, as even your butcher knows by now, is simply, classically titled Sex. It comes sealed in a Mylar bag (much as condoms do) with a label reading “Warning! Adults Only!” and a price tag of $49.95. Reportedly she does not want it open in bookstores, but HMV Records at Lexington and 86th Street will let anyone who gives a donation to Lifebeat AIDS see one page, for one minute, in a mock confession booth.
Warner Books, a Time Warner company, is the publisher (Ice-T must not have been enough trouble for one year). A million copies went on sale in five countries and five languages on Wednesday, attended by a good deal of deliberately decadent hoopla. The profit on the first printing could reach $26 million. Any questions?
On October 26 1992, Madonna’s SEX book was banned in Japan due to its controversial photos which violated the country’s censorship laws.
Here is Madonna’s perspective on pornography:
I don’t see how a guy looking at a naked girl in a magazine is degrading to women. Everyone has their sexuality. It’s how you treat people in everyday life that counts, not what turns you on in your fantasy. If all a person ever did was get off on porno movies I would say they are probably dysfunctional sexually, but I don’t think it’s unhealthy to be interested in that or get off on that. I’m not interested in porno movies because everybody is ugly and faking it and it’s just silly. They make me laugh, they don’t turn me on. A movie like In the Realm of the Senses turns me on because it’s real. I’ve been told there are some good Traci Lords movies but I’ve never seen them. I wouldn’t want to watch a snuff movie. I wouldn’t want to watch anyone get really hurt, male or female. But generally I don’t think pornography degrades women. The women who are doing it want to do it. No one is holding a gun to their head. I don’t get that whole thing. I love looking at Playboy magazine because women look great naked.