Elizabeth Smart demands her name be taken off anti-porn bill
© Getty Images

A Utah woman who was kidnapped from her home as a teenager in 2002 is demanding a controversial bill targeting online pornography stop using her name.

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online, The Associated Press reported Monday.

It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children by making porn and human trafficking sites harder to access.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill because she spoke about the negative effects of pornography during her nine months in captivity.

In 2016, Smart described how her kidnapper’s use of pornography “made my living hell worse.”

After being told by the AP that Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, Sevier said the “Elizabeth Smart Law” nickname had been given to the legislation by lawmakers.

“Obviously, we’re not trying to hurt Elizabeth Smart, for god’s sake,” Sevier said. “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.”

A spokesman for Smart said she has nothing to do with Sevier and “there was absolutely no authorization to use her name.”

Sevier declined to tell AP if he would take her name off his website, HumanTraffickingPreventionAct.com which specifically refers to his legislation as “the Elizabeth Smart law.”

“It’s not that we will take it down or won’t take it down,” he said. “It’s irrelevant.”

Her name is still on the website as of Tuesday.

Many states have pushed similar bipartisan bills that would require internet service providers to install filters on obscene material or sites that facilitate prostitution, AP reported.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union both say the idea is unconstitutional because a state cannot filter everyone’s computers.

Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation slammed Sevier for mischaracterizing human trafficking in his fight to block pornography. 

“Unfortunately he’s exploiting the tragedy of human trafficking for what seems to be a crusade against pornography,” Maass said.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming their anti-pornography advocacy group supported his work.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier's lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop, AP reported.