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Free Speech Coalition Welcomes New Executive Director

Chatsworth, Calif. – The Free Speech Coalition is pleased to announce its selection of Diane C. Duke as its new Executive Director.

Ms. Duke will replace outgoing ED Michelle Freridge, who is leaving to pursue other goals. Ms. Freridge, who officially resigned on Oct. 31, has agreed to stay on to help Ms. Duke through the transition into the executive director position, which duties she will officially assume on November 27.

Ms. Duke, who holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Oregon, comes to Free Speech from her position as Senior Vice-President of Planned Parenthood Health Services of Southwestern Oregon (PPHSSO), and has worked in the nonprofit sector for 22 years. She has served on the Human Rights Commission, and was on the 2004 steering committee opposing Oregon’s ballot measure 36, which would have rewritten the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

"I am incensed by our government’s attack on, and blatant disregard for, the Bill of Rights," Ms. Duke stated. "What we view and read and what happens between consenting adults are fundamental freedoms. I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to lead an organization that has been so effective at protecting free speech and the right to privacy; an organization that insists upon government accountability."

"I’m delighted to turn over the helm to Diane," Freridge reflected, "because I have every confidence that she will be able to take Free Speech to the next level and serve the industry with vigor and integrity."

Ms. Duke has been involved in PPHSSO’s strategic planning for the past six years, and was responsible for developing the organization’s annual budget and overseeing its implementation.

"I believe in hiring good people and working with them to remove any barriers to success," she said. "My experiences with an outstanding board of directors, president and staff have taught me the importance of developing an atmosphere that encourages creativity and innovation, always tempered by a sound practice of fiscal responsibility."

Ms. Duke joins Free Speech at a heady time in its history. The organization has seen tremendous growth during the Freridge years, due in part to the government’s attempts to begin enforcement of its revamped §2257 recordkeeping and labeling regulations, which would create a huge financial burden on all sectors of the adult entertainment industry. The organization has also been tracking anti-industry state legislation around the country, and is currently involved in a lawsuit against Utah’s Child Protection Registry, in addition to its suit to remove the 2257 statute.

Ms. Duke will also oversee a number of programs begun under Ms. Freridge’s leadership, including lobbying at the federal level and the creation of more state Free Speech chapters.

"Diane Duke is the ideal person for this demanding position, particularly at this time," said FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas. "She has extensive management and financial experience in the mainstream nonprofit arena, and is an established champion for individual rights against inappropriate government intrusion. She will pilot the adult industry and its trade association to greater political and economic strength. We are fortunate to have such a leader at our helm."

Free Speech Coalition is a not-for-profit trade association serving the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to safeguard the industry from oppressive governmental regulation and to promote good business practices within the industry.

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