Why Elizabeth Smart Wants Nothing to Do With an Anti-Porn Bill Named After Her

The well-known victim of a 2002 kidnapping wants her name removed from a bill that would require people to pay money in order to view internet pornography.

Chris Sevier, a man known for unusual legislative and legal efforts, has proposed a bill called the Elizabeth Smart Law, which would force people to pay $20 in order to access pornography on the internet. He has been pushing such legislation, which he has also called the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, for at least a year. Versions of the bill are pending in all but six states, and in those states, "discussions" about the proposal are happening, claims a website for the legislation.

Smart was abducted in 2002 and held captive for nine months. She has since become an advocate for child safety legislation.

Sevier has claimed that he met with Smart's father. But Smart was not involved in the legislation, according to a spokesman, and her lawyer has sent Sevier a cease-and-desist letter calling for the removal of her name from the bill, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Chris Thomas, a spokesman for Smart, told the Associated Press, "Elizabeth is not connected with this organization…. There was absolutely no authorization to use her name."

Sevier told the Associated Press he chose to use Smart's name because she has spoken negatively about pornography. In a video interview that the anti-pornography group Fight the New Drug posted online in 2016, Smart said, "Pornography made my living hell worse."

"Obviously, we're not trying to hurt Elizabeth Smart," Sevier told the Associated Press. "We don't really care what it's called. We just want it to pass. And we're going to see to it that it passes, and the law is on our side."

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Through a lawyer, Elizabeth Smart, pictured here outside of federal court after the sentencing of her kidnapper Brian David Mitchell on May 25, 2011, has asked Chris Sevier to remove her name from proposed anti-pornography legislation. George Frey/Getty

Sevier, a former lawyer from Tennessee who sometimes goes by Mark Sevier, has made headlines for years for these types of efforts. In 2013, he sued Apple because its products were capable of displaying pornography. Starting in 2014, he filed legal actions in a handful of states claiming that if same-sex couples can get married, he should be able to marry his computer. Judges have dismissed the motions.

He was once arrested for stalking John Rich, the country music star, and later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. He was also arrested and convicted for assaulting his father-in-law during a child custody dispute.

Smart is not the first person to seek to distance herself from the latest bill Sevier is pushing. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama called a version of the bill that Sevier was proposing in that state "censorship, plain and simple."

Why Elizabeth Smart Wants Nothing to Do With an Anti-Porn Bill Named After Her | U.S.