You’ve probably heard stories about people who left their childhood treasures at their parents’ house, hoping to one day revisit their beloved baseball cards or Barbies, or maybe sell them to a collector. You know what happens next: inevitably, they discover that Mom and Dad threw them away years ago. This story is kind of like that, except more X-rated, and a lot more weird.
This week, “Charlie”–not his real name–filed a civil suit against his own parents in the Southern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The reason? They threw out his vast collection of adult movies and magazines, which he valued at about $29,000.
Unfortunately, no photo of the entire collection seems to exist, so we’ll have to use our imaginations. But it was apparently enough to fill 14 boxes.
The dispute started back in 2016 when Charlie, 40, moved in with his parents in Michigan after his divorce, and brought his adult movies with him. Charlie didn’t pay rent, but says he did contribute to the household chores. The relationship with his parents eventually became strained. In October of 2017 the police came to Charlie’s parents house to respond to a “domestic situation.” As a result, Charlie’s parents asked him to move out.
By November 2017, Charlie had moved to Muncy, Indiana, and his parents brought him his possessions. To Charlie’s dismay, the erotica was gone. As Charlie’s father later wrote in an email to his son, “We counted twelve moving boxes full of pornography plus two boxes of ‘sex toys’ as you call them. We began that day the process of destroying them and it took quite a while to do so.”
At this point you probably have a lot of questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
First up, how could a bunch of VHS tapes possibly be worth $29,000? Glad you asked. According to Charlie, the collection included many titles that are out of print, and some from studios that are no longer in business. The collection included such classics as “Frisky Business,” “Big Bad Grannies,” “Lesbians in Tight Shorts,” “1001 Erotic Nights,” and “University Co-Eds 25.” (Don’t bother watching unless you’ve seen the first 24, otherwise you won’t be able to follow the plot.)
Next, did Charlie really expect his parents to schlep 14 boxes of porn from Michigan to Indiana, even after they kicked him out of their house? Yes, yes he did.
Next, does Charlie know you can get all the adult content you want on the Internet for free? Apparently not!
Finally, how did Charlie manage to get married in the first place? I dunno, man. It’s a mystery to me too.
When Charlie learned what his parents had done, he first reported the incident to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. Despite repeated attempts to get his parents charged–Charlie sent one detective 44 separate emails listing the titles in his collection–police declined to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence.
Charlie then turned to civil court. This month, he filed a lawsuit against his parents demanding $86,822.16–about triple the value of his collection.
Charlie’s lawsuit includes several emails between him and his parents. In one, Charlie’s father explained why they threw out the collection, comparing it to a drug addiction: “I would have done the same if I had found a kilo of crack cocaine. Someday, I hope you will understand.”
Charlie claims he had no idea his parents felt this way. “If you had a problem with my belongings, you should have stated that at the time and I would have gone elsewhere,” Charlie wrote. “Instead you choose to keep quiet and behave vindictively.”
But Charlie’s father isn’t buying it. In another email, he mentioned that Charlie had previously been kicked out of both high school and college for selling pornography to other students. “I also warned you at that time if I ever found pornography in my house again, I would destroy it,” he wrote.
We’ll have to wait and see what the court decides in this landmark case that could affect all of our lives. In the meantime Charlie and his parents remain at odds, but one group has offered to play peacemaker: the world’s biggest adult website, Pornhub.
To help offset his loss, Pornhub has offered Charlie a free lifetime membership. As they told Insider, “We’re very serious about lending a helping hand and helping this family patch things up.”
Folks, if you were looking for a hero in this story, I think you just found one.