Opponents of Utah’s new anti-pornography law have a new ally: rapper Cardi B.
Referring to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), the popular entertainer tweeted Tuesday: “I will understand if they restrict porn because the state is very religious however they allow soo [sic] much disgusting things out there that they claim is part of their religion and that’s MOLESTING CHILDREN. … Look it up!”
In an earlier tweet that she began by saying “I respect everyone’s religion,” she had described the polygamist FLDS group as a “cult.”
HB72 was signed into law last week by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. It requires new cellphones and tablets sold in Utah to block pornographic content as a default setting, but only if five other states pass a similar law.
The bill generated controversy over concerns from some lawmakers about its constitutionality. Also, porn actress Cherie DeVille wrote to Cox in an open letter posted on the Daily Beast that the measure would infringe on free speech rights and wouldn’t do much to keep children from seeing explicit content.
“If your kid still manages to watch porn, here’s an idea: Take away their phone,” DeVille wrote. “Why does any child need a cellphone anyway? They certainly don’t need the state to parent them.”
As the creator of the 2020 adults-only earworm megahit “WAP,” Cardi B is no stranger to controversy herself.
In the song’s music video, Cardi B and rapper Megan Thee Stallion twerk and gyrate as they praise female sexuality, draped in large snakes. The video also involves two white tigers.
Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro was ridiculed when he read the song’s lyrics on his podcast. Republican James P. Bradley, who’s running for Senate in California, said the lyrics of “WAP” made him want to wash out his ears with holy water. Even advocate Carole Baskin, featured on the Netflix series “Tiger King,” weighed in, saying the scenes with big cats were “abusive.”
But the song has also been praised for promoting body positivity and destigmatizing female anatomy, and has racked up millions of streams.
Cardi B’s tweets on Tuesday got mixed reactions. Many were quick to point out that the FLDS is not connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which a supermajority of Utah’s legislators belong to. Others, including a woman who said she’d left the FLDS, agreed with the rapper.
In a tweet earlier this week, Cardi B said she is a person of faith. “Don’t confuse and compare my sexual confidence with anything that has to do with religion. … I have very strong faith in God and I don’t play with him neither.”
HB72 is the latest move from Utah lawmakers to crack down on pornography, which they declared a “public health crisis” in a 2016 resolution that also recognized the need for education, prevention, research and policy changes to control a “pornography epidemic.” Last year, legislators approved a bill to require that all pornography in Utah come with a warning label.