Townshend Confronted On Kiddie Porn ‘Concerns’

For the first and hopefully last time, consumption of child pornography was one of the topics at an official NFL Super Bowl press conference. Yesterday The Who, along with Carrie Underwood and Queen Latifah, met the media to take questions about their Super Bowl halftime performance on Sunday.

Pete Townshend Protested By Child Abuse Groups For Super Bowl Appearance

As documented previously, Who guitarist Pete Townshend is a previously registered sex offender in England who has admitted to visiting a kiddie porn website in 2003. Townshend’s defense for the visit to police at the time was that he was doing “research.” In a plea bargain with authorities, Townshend later agreed to have his name added to the country’s official list of sex offenders.

Child advocacy groups have protested Townshend’s appearance at the Super Bowl since it was announced that he’d be playing the event. Yesterday Townshend was asked at his official NFL Super Bowl press conference about his “issue in England” and the“concerns” over him playing Super Bowl halftime.

As you might expect, Townshend wasn’t exactly thrilled with the question.

“I’ve been really saddened by it, and concerned about it. It’s an issue that’s very difficult to deal with in sound bites. I kind of feel like we’re all on the same side, I guess that’s all I can really say.


“For a family that has suffered the issue of childhood abuse or anything of that sort, vigilance, common sense vigilance is the most important thing, not vigilantism.

“Anybody that has any doubts about whether I should be here or not should investigate a little bit further.”

Thankfully, TheSmokingGun.com did just that:

Townshend admitted using his credit card to visit a web site offering child porn, but told cops he was just conducting research. Along with being placed on the sex offender registry, the performer had to submit a DNA sample to police and have his fingerprints and mug shot taken.

As part of his “research project,” Townshend drafted the below six-page treatise on the easy availability of child pornography on the Internet. So easy, in fact, that Townshend, 57, wrote that he accidentally discovered a photo of a two-year-old boy being raped when he typed the words “Russia,” “orphanages,” and “boys” into a search engine.

Townshend claimed that he reached for his telephone and “intended to call the police and take them through the process I had stumbled upon–and bring the pornographers involved to [jail],” but that he decided not to contact authorities after discussing the issue with an attorney.

Townshend’s paper, which he once posted on his official web site, also notes that the “pathway to ‘free’ paedophilic imagery is–as it were–laid out like a free line of cocaine at a decadent cocktail party: only the strong willed or terminally uncurious can resist.”

In the January 2002 porn treatise, Townshend notes that since 1997 he has been working on “some kind of document” relating to Internet porn, but that he feared being arrested by police who were on a “witch hunt” to catch anyone who visited illicit web pages: “Those vigilantes who research these pathways open themselves up to internet ’snoops.’”

He’s right, any doubts about Townshend misrepresenting himself yesterday have now officially been removed.