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Contrary to the media reports of opinions of some of his peers, 18-year porn industry veteran Mr. Marcus sees Measure B, the new law that mandates condom use in porn industry film production and random inspection testing in LA County, as a positive opportunity for the industry.
“It’s not as bad as some are making it out to be,” he said.
“Sure, some businesses will leave to keep doing non-condom hardcore production but others won’t. The positive is that new companies and new talent might take the industry more seriously if they feel safer in a condom-only environment. We might get a wave of great new performers because so many people want to be in the industry and now would feel OK about being a part of it.”
Because of Measure B, in addition to developing film and music production projects, Marcus is working with SP Studios to develop programs that inform the public about the importance of regular testing.
“The message I want to pass on is whether you are a professional or just someone who is sexually active is test, test and test again,” he said.
“Get tested regularly, show people you care and be responsible, that’s my message.”
Marcus was recently at the center of a high-profile controversy over testing that generated national media attention because of his standing in the industry in combination with the November election vote in Los Angeles County on Measure B, which passed despite objections from many performers and producers in the industry who believe the new law will hurt their business and quickly drive production out of the County.
“It’s an expensive law for our industry to implement and it requires random tests so industry people are feeling like their privacy is being invaded, and some shoots are kept very private so the permit process is really a challenge. It also uses health standards of nurses and doctors, so the law could be over-reaching if it gets into full implementation,” Marcus said.
“That’s why the industry wants to work with the County to make implementation more industry and production- friendly.”
According to Marcus, the testing controversy stemmed from a false positive test result for STD of which he was initially unaware that was eventually misreported as a positive and occurred at the same time as the public’s attention was focused on Measure B and testing in the porn industry as a high-profile political issue.
“Measure B was already on the ballot before my situation so the timing worked against me in a way,” he said.
“But in another way, my situation becoming public became a call to arms for performers and the industry, so that was good. Even though it was too late to change things after all the money the Yes on B people had spent, more people are aware of the importance of testing in the industry and in general.”
Marcus feels his mistake has helped lead the industry to better testing protocols and given him a chance to advocate for the effective testing that is available today to others.
“I have seen the protocols evolve and have been a part of that,” he said.
“When I started there were no protocols and everyone was on their own. All the protocols that are in place now were not there when I started; now they are and I’m happy to have been part of that process of helping improve things. At the time, there were no protocols for the particular bacteria that infected me and now within our industry there are.”
According to Marcus, his case was unique. “I was an industry veteran, so it became a high profile case that caught the public’s attention and things really got blown out of proportion. Most important, there were no cases in the industry related to me,” he said.
“If I had to do it over again I would have handled it differently,” he said. “I made a mistake. I addressed it and am working hard to move forward.”
Marcus was motivated in part by what he had seen happen to other performers who had contracted STDs.
“The industry has a bad history of treatment of performers who have been diagnosed — they are usually ostracized. There is such a risk for everyone in this business and no matter whose fault it is or even what the truth is, I’ve seen it where public knowledge has had a terrible impact on people’s careers and lives. I have a right to my privacy and that’s why I kept it private,” he said. “I had it treated so tried to avoid making it public, but when it went public, it was the same for me and some people really overreacted.”
Marcus feels his mistake has helped lead the industry to better testing protocols.
“I have seen the protocols evolve and have been a part of that,” he said. “When I started there were no protocols and everyone was on their own. All the protocols that are in place now were not there when I started; now they are and I’m happy to have been part of that process of helping improve things. At the time, there were no protocols for the particular bacteria that infected me and now within our industry there are.”
A Southern California native and father of two, Marcus began his career in 1994 after working as a truck driver. He has won numerous industry awards including several for Best Actor, Performer and Scene and has been inducted into two adult film industry Halls of Fame. Marcus has also produced, directed and written numerous films and is the author of “The Porn Star Guide to Great Sex.”
“As a veteran of the industry people have high expectations of you, and you don’t like it when people say you don’t care about others, especially when, like in my case, you have always shown you care. There is a lot of responsibility in this business and it’s not a joke. Everybody makes mistakes and I made mine; I went through all this and now I can help others not make the same mistakes,” he said.
“As a “Lifer,” I know how brutal this industry can be, so I want to educate performers, help them take a professional approach to the business and improve the business and the performers too.”
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