LOS ANGELES -- First it was the banking industry, then the automakers. Will the adult entertainment industry be next?
Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" chief Joe Francis announced Wednesday that they have sent a joint request to Congress asking for a $5 billion federal bailout to help the adult entertainment industry weather difficult financial times.
The duo contend that while the industry is still viable, the sagging economy has had an impact.
"People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flynt said. "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex."
According to Flynt and Francis, adult DVD sales and rentals have decreased by 22 percent in the past year, and viewers are increasingly turning to the Internet for adult entertainment.
Francis said the money for the $13 billion industry would be "just to see us through hard times."
"Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses," he said. "We feel we deserve the same consideration. In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment."
Francis and Flynt claim that about half of all Internet users visit adult-entertainment sites.
"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt said. "It's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."