Ex-Porn Star, Now a Math Tutor, Appealing Legal Case to the Supreme Court

David Mech is a former porn star with an encyclopedic knowledge of First Amendment law. Ask him about, say, the differences between “government” and “private” speech, and he’ll rattle off legal statutes for ten straight minutes. Enduring multiple lawsuits will do that to a person.

“Lots of people will spend $300,000 to go to Georgetown and then never work in law again,” he says. “It’s not in my interest to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lawsuit, but I’ve actually learned a lot. It’s been a really fun experience.” Pretty soon, Mech may get to stand in front of the U.S. Supreme Court because of a string of lawsuits he’s filed. Get that: A former porn star may help shape the face of U.S. First Amendment law. That is, if the Court actually hears his case.

See, Mech used to work as a male adult film actor under the incredibly subtle name “Dave Pounder.” After getting into the business in 2001, he went on to work as a producer and directed more than 100 porn films himself. He says that while working in porn, he refused to act in any scenes that depicted violence against women. He also has a master’s degree and says he was accepted into a UCLA public health doctoral program. He’s an advocate for condoms, sexual health, and free speech.

But after retiring from porn, Mech became a Boca Raton math tutor. (He calls himself “The Happy Fun Math Tutor.”) He paid to run ads on a fence at Spanish River High School. The ads just advertised his tutoring business and made no reference to his days of lady-pounding. The banners were fine for a while, but eventually some parents found out about his past and complained. The school then took the banners down.

That, however, is when Mech blew up. “If I was advertising ‘Dave Pounder Productions’ at school, I’d be okay with people saying ‘What are you doing?’” he said. “But what I did was perfectly lawful. And they do no background checks. If you have a flower business and you’re a pedophile child molester, that’s fine.” So Mech sued the school, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated. He lost his initial suit in 2014, but he appealed, and lost again, after the courts ruled that because they were being displayed by a school, the ads constituted “government speech,” which isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

But Mech doesn’t think that argument holds weight. “If the ads are government speech, there are ads for churches there,” he says. “That means those ads then violate the Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment, which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and provides the basis for separation of church and state in American law. So Mech appealed again, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s asking the court to decide, once and for all, whether private ads can be deemed “government speech” and thus lose their designation as protected free speech. But Mech’s odds aren’t great: Experts estimate that the court declines to hear more than 95 percent of the cases presented to it.

Good thing his tutoring business is booming. “I still have a full schedule,” he says. “I have nine people today. If you’re a parent and it bothers you that I’m in the porn business, don’t hire me; I don’t care. I’m just suing as a matter of principle.”


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