Candidate Hickenlooper: ‘I Took My Mother To See ‘Deep Throat”

John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who is running for president in 2020, appeared at a CNN town hall event Wednesday night. He was asked about an eyebrow-raising detail that he shared in his memoirs — that he once went to see the notorious pornographic film Deep Throat, along with his mother.

According to Hickenlooper’s telling of the story, as reported by New York magazine, he was home from college at the age of 18 when he had plans to see the X-rated movie. He had heard about the film, and planned to attend with a friend. Feeling guilty about blowing off dinner plans, and unaware of what exactly “X-rated” meant, he invited his mom along.

Hickenlooper said that he said “repeatedly” suggested leaving once he realized what was happening on screen, but they stayed until the end. His mother, on the way home, reportedly praised the film’s lighting.

A former mayor of Denver, Hickenlooper is running as a moderate, per Axios.

Deep Throat is a notorious film that came out in 1972, and starred the adult film star known as Linda Lovelace. At the time, it was seen as a groundbreaking film in the pornography genre, due to ambitious filmmaking and storytelling techniques. The film is said to have earned hundreds of millions of dollars, much of which remains unaccounted for — likely due to the involvement of organized crime organizations behind the film’s financing, per The New York Times.

Lovelace, the star of the film, later alleged that she had been forced into the film’s sex acts by her then-husband. She testified before Congress in the 1980s, saying that “virtually every time someone watches that movie, they’re watching me being raped.” Under her given name, Linda Boreman, the actress later became an anti-pornography activist. She would later perish in a car accident, in 2002.

The name “Deep Throat” is also commonly associated with politics, due to its use in connection with the Watergate scandal. A key secret source for journalist Bob Woodward was referred to in The Washington Post newsroom, and later in books and movies, as “Deep Throat.” Woodward’s source apparently garnered the nickname as he was speaking to Woodward on deep background.

The identity Woodward’s source remained a closely guarded secret for decades, until former FBI associate director Mark Felt admitted in 2005 that he had been Deep Throat. Hal Holbrook played Deep Throat in the 1976 movie All the President’s Men, while Liam Neeson played him in 2017’s Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.