in order to prevent on the ground of public morals, the appearance of the film unlessthe producers are ready to submit to censorship.”144Visual representations of persecution on the screen explicitly linked the chargeof indecency with religion and empire. One scene particularly bothered authorities:“It appears that among the ‘horrors’ which it is proposed to exhibit indiscriminatelyto the public on this propaganda film is ‘a long line of crosses displaying the crucifiedbodies of stark naked young girls.’ ” (See Figure 5.) Eventually, the Ministry ofHealth was brought in to address concerns about sexual content. Officials cited theactresses’ state of undress and claimed that although the crucifixions were “true tofact,” it “was none the less distressing to look upon on that account,” particularlybecause “the originals of this picture were not dead Armenians but live Americangirls.”145This blurring of the lines between suffering “oriental” women as victims andwhat one reviewer described as “beautiful white-skinned American models” as sexsymbols would corrupt the uneducated viewer more interested in naked actressesthan in the lesson to be drawn from the scene itself.146The crucifixions troubled theForeign Office for another reason. The image of young women nailed to crossesindicated that the persecution was religiously motived, which overshadowed themoral and political argument against state-sponsored terror. Though it was not pos-sible to prove that the actresses were truly naked, the mere suggestion of nakednessproved powerful enough to justify censoring the film on the grounds of indecency.147As a government tool in the service of imperial policy, the postwar controversyoverAuction of Soulsproblematized the notion that the British Empire had a specialmandate to prosecute crimes against humanity by making it impossible to frame thegenocide as Bryce and others had earlier done as a non-sectarian humanitarian issue.The indecency charge, used to cover up concerns about a fading imperial mandatechallenged by the fallout from the massacre at Amritsar, cast a long shadow over the144Letter sent on behalf of Lord Curzon to Under Secretary of State, India Office, January 5, 1920,TNA, HO 45/10955/312971/92.145Mr. Shortt to Mr. Harris (Prosecutions Department), TNA, HO 45/10955/312971/89 (n.d.). Thepornographic quality of what Karen Halttunen calls “the spectacle of suffering” was condemned as“popular sensationalism” in the nineteenth century. The shocking visual representation of crucifixiononscreen increased the power of such charges, further undermining the humanitarian argument. Halt-tunen, “Humanitarianism and the Pornography of Pain in Anglo-American Culture,”American His-torical Review100, no. 2 (April 1995): 303–334, here 317.