AVN – Meet The New Boss; Same as The Old Boss; Maybe Manwin Does Own AVN

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I’m hearing that Paul Fishbein is frantically texting people in the business calling me a liar over things I’ve been reporting today. Really? Fishbein’s still in denial after all these years. Here’s more.

Forget what I originally said about holding off on the AVN men of Action story until another day.

Today’s the day.

I met AVN’s current owner Theo Sapoutzis this past December. Fact.

We had a nice chat about the history of the magazine, and that was pretty much it. Fact. But I walked away thinking AVN was for the better under the new regime. Now I’m not so sure.

Theo explained that he was part of this Internet group that Paul Fishbein had subcontracted work to. When Fishbein and Darren Roberts couldn’t pay their bills [hard to imagine in this multi-billion dollar porn economy] Theo pretty much took over the magazine. Not making it up. That’s what I was told.

Friday afternoon I was on the Rob Black Internet show.

Rob has been talking about the “Men of Action” over at AVN, and in my phone stint I added a story of my own to clarify exactly why they’re known as that.

During a point in the conversation, I hastened all of Rob Black’s listeners to pay attention to what was being said on the show, now and forever.

“You [Black] are Radio Free Europe. This industry is controlled by the Communists. You [Black] are saying it’s the terrorists. No, it’s the Communists. It’s like the 1950’s. You’ve got Pravda. You’ve got Diane Duke. You’ve got Mark Kernes. You’ve got these spiels. Everything you read at AVN and XBiz is propaganda.

“But you’re like Radio Free Europe. You’re broadcasting to the huddled masses, the truth. That’s why I follow you day by day because I’ve been around long enough to know that what you’re saying isn’t bullshit- maybe a little bit embellished for humorous effect- but your listeners need to go and tell everybody out there about what you’re doing because you are telling the truth.”

Black was actually speechless. “I’m verklempt,” said Black.

I told Black I was highly amused by his rendition earlier in the week of my meeting with the Men of Action at AVN, and Black asked me to fill in the blanks of what happened.

“There’s so much back story to that story,” I told Black.

“Out of the story the most interesting character that emerges is this Raul Christian [pictured]. I met Theo Sapoutzis over the Christmas holidays. Theo and I were invitees to a dinner. I remember Theo smoking these electric cigarettes because he was trying to break a cigarette habit.”

As I’m relating the story to Black, it finally dawned on me that Theo reminds me of one of Black’s old in-house directors back at Extreme Associates- August Arkham.

“If you put those two guys side by side they’re like twins.”

Black explained who Arkham was.

“He’s a director I created,” said Black.

“He was this wacky mark who was out here for a year. He worked under that name for Armageddon Entertainment. He is the man who directed ‘A 1001 Ways to Eat My Jizz’ which is one of the movies that got me indicted.”

I explained that I had a nice conversation with Theo but that he didn’t strike me as the owner of AVN.

“We talked, and I gave him some stories and some tidbits about AVN which he admitted he didn’t know. The next time I run into him is at Fred Lincoln’s Memorial at The Sportsmen’s Lodge. I’m taking notes observing who’s there, and I get a tap on my shoulder. It’s attorney Michael Fattorosi telling me I’m invited over to Theo’s house for a barbecue. I’m like, whoa, that’s nice.”

“The house is nestled against the Foothills. It’s a nice place. [Decorated with French provincial furniture.]

“I’m seeing all these guys talking foreign language talk. I have no idea what they’re saying, but from what I can put together, they were business partners or something. One’s talking about how he has to get his passport because he’s going to Mexico. Another one’s going, we’re going to Greece.

“Everyone’s going somewhere. and I’m flipping a couple of Coronas and kicking back. Then I get this handsome looking guy who talks like Ricardo Montalban- exactly like Montalban- Raul Christian. He approaches me.

“’You’re Gene Ross, so pleased to meet you. I must apologize. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you.’

“I’m going to myself what’s there to recognize? I’m an old guy. But Raul’s very polite and very cordial. Next thing I know he’s talking about how AVN needs to go in this direction and that direction and that AVN doesn’t have its sense of history any more.

“It was nice having smoke blown up your ass, them acknowledging that under my tenure AVN was this and it was that. They were giving me the impression that they wanted to bring AVN back to its former glories.

“I’m sitting there and agreeing with them that it would be a good PR move, I would think. That would be a great story line, me coming back to AVN. That’s like [Hulk] Hogan coming back to WWE after he jumped ship and went over to WWC and became Hollywood Hogan. Now all of a sudden him and Vince [McMahon] mended fences and now they’re whatever. I’m just sitting there wondering what this is all about.

“They had great steaks- the best barbecued steaks going. There’s a great steak house here in the Valley called, Flemings. Even Flemings doesn’t have steaks like this. Next thing I’m being introduced to a director from Brazzers and I’m going, Brazzers, that’s interesting.

“I’m trying to take a note of who the players are and who’s doing what. The afternoon is me telling my AVN stories and them acknowledging that, yeah, mistakes were made and they want to turn this corner and bring a sense of history back. But there’s nothing specifically being said, like, we’re going to bring you back and make you run the magazine again and clean house. Nothing like that. I’m just wondering what’s on the back of their minds.

“A couple of days go by and I’m not hearing anything, thinking, well these men of action [Raul Christian actually called himself a “man of action”] they’re not acting.

“Another week goes by and I finally call Theo’s office. I’m told he’s not in. Okay. You want to leave a message. So I leave a message. Another few days go by. I’m talking to Fattorosi because I got the impression he was bringing parties together. I’m saying I haven’t heard anything from Theo.

“I’m told Theo’s been busy. Another week goes by and I’m told Theo’s been out of town. We’re in May, almost three months. So now I have to think the Men of Action, somebody talked to the men of Action, ‘Oh, you’re thinking of bringing Gene Ross here? You can’t do that.’”

Of course another rumor I heard was that Fishbein was back in the AVN picture, but I was told by a certain party that was nonsense. Really? AVN is sucking Fishbein’s dick with a lead story on its pages today so I got to figure my inside source is pretty good.

Black imagined that people are going to react to what I said on his show.

“Why would Theo have a meeting with you and listen to you?” Black asked.

“Because you helped create AVN. Why would Theo have you come to his house for a barbecue? Because he sat there and thought about the shit you told him and said fuck, everything that guy said is fucking right. And then he has me meet his partner which is his real boss, the guy he calls his ‘daddy’ which is Raul. Here’s the other thing, the fact that a Manwin guy’s there is proof pudding that Manwin owns AVN.”

“At the end of the day, Mike South, you talk to Theo, and you love a rumor where you say, ‘I’m going to call directly to the horse’s mouth. Theo, did you have two meetings with Gene Ross? Did you have a Christmas meeting with Gene Ross? Yes, you did? So he said something that was pertinent enough for you to invite him to your house?'”

Couple of other facts. Raul Christian talks like a Romanian Tony Robbins with all these life-affirming soundbites, so I should have smelled some bullshit.

The other fact, Sharan Street, AVN Media Network Managing Editor, was there that day at Theo’s house. I didn’t see Peter Warren, Steve Javors or Mark Kernes. Maybe they were there later.

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