Story of the Day: XXX Wasteland Interviews Diane Duke

Adam Wilcox posts on www.wasteland.wordpress.com – Since accepting the position of Executive Director for porn industry trade group Free Speech Coalition in 2006, Diane Duke has assumed a leadership role in opposition of many challenges facing adult entertainment, including piracy, ongoing 2257 record debates and lobbying for the rights of sex shop owners to sell adult products.

A graduate of the University of Oregon, Duke has spent much of the past year rallying against the recently launched .XXX top-level domain and overseeing the creation of Adult Production Health & Safety Services, a new performer testing body designed to replace AIM Medical Associates following the closure of the clinic in May.

Diane kindly spoke with XXX Wasteland at length to discuss .XXX, the recent HIV scare within the adult industry, plans moving forward with APHSS, her upcoming debate with ICM Registry CEO Stuart Lawley during the XBIZ EU convention later this month in London and much more.

You can follow Free Speech Coalition on Twitter under the handle @FSCArmy.

Q: You have been the Executive Director of Free Speech Coalition since Fall of 2006, is that right?

Yes.

Q: Can you give us some background on yourself and how you entered FSC?

(Laughs) That’s always interesting, to ask that question: How did you get into the industry?

I have been working in non-profit administration for over twenty-five years. I’ve worked for the YMCA, American Heart Association; the last place I worked before coming to Free Speech Coalition was Planned Parenthood and I was there for twelve years – Senior Vice President, out of Oregon. So, I had a lot of experience advocating for people’s sexual rights, a woman’s right to choose and also educating about sexuality, education. So, the issues of sexuality I dealt with quite a bit.

I have two kids who are now grown and I was ready to get out of the rain. So, I started thinking it was time for a change for me and this position popped up. I was intrigued, but at the beginning, to tell you the truth, didn’t really take it that seriously. But I thought, “Well, I’ll write a letter; we’ll just see what happens.”

I got a call and (FSC) asked me to do a telephone interview. When I spoke to the people from the Board, I realized that this was the front lines of fighting for people’s liberties. I have been a big advocate of civil liberties my entire life; it’s something I’m very passionate about.

It just clicked. They asked me to come out for an interview and again, that morning, I woke up thinking, “Oh, my gosh, what am I doing?” (Laughs) And to tell you the truth, a lot of the folks who were Planned Parenthood supporters were not thrilled about the idea of me doing this because a lot of people have misconceptions about our industry. I didn’t – I felt very good about the adult entertainment industry; I had written research papers on it in my Feminist Theory class earlier in my education. So, I was comfortable with the adult entertainment industry, but I didn’t know if I wanted to be one of the spokespeople for it and if it was where I wanted to have my career.

So, again, I woke up before flying down here thinking, “Oh, my gosh, what am I doing?” After sitting down with the board and spending a couple of hours talking about the issues that the industry constantly has to fight against, I knew it was going to be a good fit.

I have no regrets. I love my job; I feel very honored to be able to serve the adult entertainment industry.

Q: What does the adult industry represent to you personally and why do you feel it is important to have an entity such as FSC in place?

I think free expression is so very important to people’s lives and quality of life. From a feminist perspective, I see sexual expression for women as one of the final frontiers because we are so often put in a box there; I’m a big proponent for adult entertainment for women as well.

The industry itself is a million things to a million different people. It’s entertainment above and beyond; the purpose of the industry is that. But it’s also a way for people to express themselves, a way for people to be able to enjoy fantasy; there are a number of benefits that the adult entertainment industry brings into the quality of life for folks.

But it is also on the frontline. You’ve got John Stagliano, who just fought and won the obscenity case and day in, day out, we have people calling, whether it’s a store owner saying, “There are police sitting outside of my store; they’re taking pictures of the license plates of all my customers, they had the vice squad come in and raid my store because I’m selling lingerie in the same building as adult videos,” zoning issues, .XXX is an issue that is of concern to us. And then from a business standpoint, just things like piracy.

Q: I wanted to ask about the new APHSS (Adult Production Health & Safety Services) testing program. It is now open to performers, is that right?

Yes, it is open for performers. What happened is AIM – our adult industry medical association – closed down. It had been under attack – and this is the perfect example of what I mean about our industry being on the frontline of these issues – by an overzealous and misguided, I believe (Laughs), non-profit that had just launched complaint after complaint after complaint. They were all unfounded, and yet, it wears an organization down to the point where you have so many lawyers involved that you can’t afford to stay above ground.

They went under. They weren’t able to financially shoulder the legal fees that were coming with the constant attack from – the organization I’m talking about is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – and it was really unfortunate because you would think that an organization that is in place for prevention and treatment of HIV would support the clinic that was founded on really trying to reduce the risk for adult entertainment industry professionals.

When they knocked AIM out, it really left a hole. Free Speech Coalition spoke to a number of folks in the industry and asked if they would like us to try and find a solution. We came up with Adult Production Health & Safety Services.

There is a broad goal for this organization. First is just to immediately address the issues of replacing what happened when AIM left. We found testing centers and clinics so not only would performers have a testing facility to go to, they would also have doctors associated with the facility. So, if somebody comes up with a positive chlamydia, gonorrhea, or whatever, they would have a physician to talk to and they would be able to find immediate treatment. And that was very important because not only do we want to identify if somebody is positive for a sexually transmitted infection, we want to make sure that if they are, they are well taken care of. So, that was a big priority for Adult Production Health & Safety Services and we have found some great partners to work with.

A lot of folks ask right off the bat, “Are you going to open another clinic?” Even though I did work for Planned Parenthood for twelve years and I did open a number of clinics when I was there, I also know the absolute responsibility around that. It’s a long and detailed process and it’s not something that’s done overnight. And I also know from my experiences working with Planned Parenthood that there are a number of entities out there that can serve our purposes; we just have to make sure that they have priorities in the right place: They are going to treat our performers with respect they deserve and make sure that they have quality treatment for our folks.

As we go down the road a little bit further, we’re also going to make sure that we are able to provide resources for the producers to make sure that they have the information and resources they need to provide a healthy work environment for performers. I think most of the producers had that, but things like a health and safety manual that Cal/OSHA requires for every type of business; to make sure that they have everything on hand for that; that they have the tools to educate performers about the set that they are on and we can do a bigger education of performers on risk factors associated with sexually transmitted infections and how to protect yourself. So, there’s a big range of that.

We also at AIM provided a database for producers to be able to go look to see if a performer was negative on all of their sexually transmitted infections. The problem with that is it provided medical records and that database got breached and a lot of that information ended up on a site called Porn Wikileaks. It has since been taken down, but it compromised a number of our performers. They were mortified to have all of that information (online). (Porn Wikileaks) took personal information; they also after getting that information did searches and these individuals put pictures of their kids up on the site. It was really horrible. So, we’re concerned about performer privacy.

On our database, all it says – it doesn’t have the medical records – all it says is the performer’s legal name and if they’re available to work. So, a producer can look up a performer and find out if a performer is tested and if the performer is available to work and when they are available until. It’s a good resource for producers. For performers, it gives them the safety net, too, when they show up to a set with their test, which is typically what performers do: They’ll show up with their STI test for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea and show that they are negative. But just to make sure nobody has tampered with those tests, they can go back, take a look at our database and go, “Yeah, this person’s available,” which means they have tested negative and they are available until this date.

So, it’s a nice backup; producers can print up that statement – that little chart that says when they are available until – so the producers will have that record available if they want the directors to make sure that they have followed up on all of the ways they need to make sure the performers are safe.

So, it’s a wonderful backup for performers bringing their test to the set and it relieves liability for producers so that they don’t have medical records for performers.

Q: The database is upcoming, is that right?

Yes. We’re in the midst of populating it. It’s actually up, but we’re in the midst of populating it because people have to go through the tests in services we’re doing for production companies. We’re getting the word out to more and more performers so that they can join that. A lot of the producers are curious and talking to us about the different options that they have. But we expect by the end of the year for it to be fully functional and everybody to be using it.

Q: When I heard of AIM’s closure, I considered the loss of the database to be one of its worst consequences.

And yet, the database was such a bit liability, too. There was two sides to that.

Q: Yes, there was.

I know our attorneys were talking to producers and saying … just from my experience at Planned Parenthood, if you have medical records, there are regulations around having medical records that our industry doesn’t even begin to know. I mean, when we look at our 2257 records, we have people who understand what that is, but there is a whole other learning curve if you are keeping somebody’s medical records, so you really have to make sure that you implement it. And I really don’t think that our producers are prepared to do that – nor, really, should they need to.

Q: Is there any concern from the APHSS administration that its database could be breached by an entity such as Porn Wikileaks even with only a performer’s legal name being entered?

Well, we have significant security on the site, but there is no address information; all we have is the E-mail, the phone number – and those are not available to everybody. They are only available to the performer. You can only access your own information. So, if a producer pulls up the information, you can only get the information as to whether they are available or not.

So, it’s limited information on what people can access. And even if you were able to go in and hack everything … “Cindy Smith” – do you really know who that is? Most people do not know the legal names of the performers and it’s when you tie the legal name with the performing name that you get that. There are no pictures, so people aren’t going to know. Just the laypeople will not know who it is.

Q: Are you optimistic overall that the APHSS program will successfully replace AIM at an equal or better level?

Well, it was our hope as we were designing it. We were able to learn a lot of lessons. AIM had a great deal of success and we’ve built on that. We replicated the protocols that they had. We are pulling in medical professionals; we are going to have a medical consultant – we have a temporary medical consultant right now – and we are pulling in medical professionals to oversee the entire program. So, we want to make sure that the protocols in place are the best possible ones out there. We are going to be constantly reviewing and revising those as technology changes. New tests are coming out every day around HIV and different STIs, so we want to make sure that we are on the cutting edge and the frontlines of providing the best testing services for our performers.

I think what we are also going to be able to do is make sure that we tie it in with workplace safety and with the industry’s protocols to make sure that it’s an even transition; so that performers understand what producers are going to want from them as far as making sure the workplace is safe and that they are going to be able to – on their side – provide that. And then the producers are also going to be able to understand the needs of the performers. We have an Advisory Council which consists of two producers, four or five performers, a medical consultant and a workplace safety attorney. That Advisory Council will constantly review and revise the protocols as needed and just make sure that we are serving the industry.

Q: I saw the list of members on the Advisory Board and it appears to be a strong group, including performers like Jessica Drake and Danny Wylde. I remember Danny Wylde in particular during the Cal/OSHA meeting in June …

(Laughs) He was great during that meeting.

Q: He made a lot of great points during the meeting itself and on his blog at that time.

And all of the folks that we have have been engaged. The workplace safety attorney that we have is somebody who has worked on a lot of Cal/OSHA issues, she has volunteered a lot of her time into the industry; she is extremely good at what she does. We’ve got producers from the gay side and the straight side, which is really important to make sure that we’re serving the entire industry and that we’re able to look at how both sides of the industry work – because they are very different – and make sure that we are providing the services that they need in order to support both sides.

Actually, for a long, long time, we’ve been working on the bloodborne pathogen plan. We submitted our proposal to Cal/OSHA and … it’s difficult to do a lot with government, to tell you the truth. (Laughs) And there are a lot of preconceived ideas, but we’ve moved forward with industry standards and that’s how they are made: When an industry does adopt self-regulation and standards that we can show have been successful. We had a study that we commissioned from an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins (University) taking a look at the data that we had from AIM and comparing it to data from similar populations. Our population has done much better than populations that are sexually active or get tested as often as ours do. So, we’ve got a lot to be proud of; we’ve been very successful in curbing sexually transmitted infections and HIV within the industry. Unfortunately, there are those outside the industry who instead of working with us, are trying to push the industry underground. We are going to try and keep that from happening.

The thing I know about the industry is that folks really do want to and do provide a healthy work environment for the performers, and unfortunately, government likes to get in the way and start dictating rules and regulations to something and they have no idea what they are talking about.

It was really interesting at that Cal/OSHA meeting when they were saying, “We’re speaking for the performers,” as if FSC or anybody else there were vicious, evil mongers who didn’t care about the industry at all. But when the performers came to that last meeting – I think we had 70 performers there; we really asked folks to show up and it was in Southern California, so it was easier for folks to show up – and they did. We asked folks to show up and they showed up in groves. So, when Cal/OSHA started saying all of this stuff about “What we’re doing for the performers,” I thought there was going to be a riot. (Laughs) It was just an amazing thing to see. I was so proud to be part of the industry that day because the performers stood up and really were telling the truth. It was a very hard thing for OSHA to hear and they almost stopped the meeting halfway through, but luckily we were able to get through the rest of the meeting.

I don’t know … for me, in dealing with some of these government entities, I just feel like putting my forehead through a wall because it doesn’t really matter what you say or what you show or what you prove. There have been a lot of agendas that we have had to deal with. It’s been really interesting that the level-headed group – the ones that have been the most databased, the ones that have been the least radical and the least hysterical – have been the folks who are involved in the adult entertainment industry.

We’ve had very high-browed discussions about what is going on in our industry: Let us tell you about the industry. It’s almost like they are putting their hands over their ears going, “No, no, no; I don’t want to hear you.” But the good news is that there is a standards board that will be looking after this and there is also other things that we are looking into, including if we can actually have the status of “independent contractor” applied to performers, which is something that happens in a lot of entertainment fields. When you have somebody who works for 25 different companies a month, who are they an employee of? There are a lot of questions as to whether or not we are eligible for that. So, we’re looking into that.

Q: You mentioned the government imposing themselves on the industry without wanting to listen. On that note, I wanted to ask your opinion on something: AIM began operation in 1998 and I believe there were two documented cases of HIV within the industry during that time?

There were two, yes, and Darren James was the last one.

Q: And while people accuse the industry of not policing itself, it seems to me that two cases in thirteen years is a pretty good track record considering the number of adult shoots filmed.

Well, and that’s the numbers. The thing about the Darren James case is that there was transmission within the industry.

Q: Yes, absolutely.

He came from outside the country back into the country and brought HIV with him there. And that’s how that happened. After that situation happened, new regulations came into place about working in another country and coming back in. Since then, we have been very successful. And for the number of people in our industry, it’s only a matter of time before somebody gets an STI or gets HIV. If you have a population that is not the adult entertainment industry, it’s the same thing.

The question was, though – and the question with the last two incidents: “Did you obtain this within the industry?” The answer was, “No.” And were we able to contain it so that there was no transmission in the industry? And the answer is, “Yes.” That’s the important piece there because we have the safeguards in place to really reduce the risk. Eliminating the risk means people don’t have sex, right?

Q: Yes.

Reducing the risks is what we have been focusing on and our industry has regulated itself. Obviously, in the past couple of weeks (Laughs), it got a little busy, but I’ve never been so proud of an industry in all my life. The results were inconclusive and we asked the industry to stop production until we were able to get better information – they did. What other multi-billion dollar industry is going to stop production based on a “maybe?” We had a “maybe,” but AIM wasn’t in place, we wanted to make sure that we were careful and that we were able to curb the possibility (of transmission) if there was a positive infection within the industry. And everybody took it seriously and stopped. So, I was very proud of our industry.

It was a week-long moratorium and I got calls on a daily basis going, “Well, what do you think? Tomorrow? Maybe next week? I want to schedule.” And I was like, “I don’t know yet. Hold on. As soon as we know, I’ll let you know.” But nobody – nobody – called us up screaming at us and telling us we shouldn’t be doing this. They were all very supportive and they all thanked me before they hung up and they thanked FSC and the folks who were working with us.

Q: I’d also like to ask – (Laughs) well, I don’t want to bring it up, but I will because it’s important – about the Porn Wikileaks website and FSC’s involvement in taking it down. I read the release that you wrote and sent to various adult sites afterward and there seemed to be some initial online speculation that you and FSC were trying to take full credit for having the website taken down.

No, we didn’t take it down. We were actually working with the authorities – and still are – to make sure that the people who put it up are properly investigated and charged. We were in the process of getting it taken down, but it was taken down by another group of folks who were working kind of grassroots, which was fabulous. And I publicly thanked them in every press release that we had.

There are folks out there who feel that they need to (attack) for whatever reason. I know Michael Whiteacre was one of (those responsible for having Porn Wikileaks taken down) and we publicly thanked him. There were a number of folks out there that we wanted to recognize and did.

We had a bunch of people call us because we sent out an E-mail saying, “Folks, if you are one of the victims of Porn Wikileaks, let us know.” And we shared a lot of that information with the authorities. You know the government: It doesn’t work at lightning speed (Laughs) and they also work very quietly, so it made it really difficult for us during that time. We couldn’t publicly say what was going on because we didn’t want (those running Porn Wikileaks) to cover their tracks at that point when the authorities were looking into figuring out who was behind what and how they can go about prosecuting.

But then, we also wanted to make sure we could do as much as we could to get it taken down. We had a path to do so, but before we had to, the grassroots group took it down, which I was happy about because the sooner it went down, the better.

Q: Yes. Personally, when I read the release, I didn’t at all get the impression that FSC was attempting to take all of the credit for having Porn Wikileaks taken down.

No. There is a person who has a forum who loves to attack FSC because I think he believes that we are going to … well, he gets traffic every time he attacks us. And so, that’s great. That’s what does it for him. (Laughs) What’s really true is we just do what we can do to help the industry and there are always going to be people out there who are going to be criticizing us. I guess it just comes with the job description.

Q: I’m sure you also wanted people in the industry to know that FSC cared about the Porn Wikileaks situation and were making an effort to do something about it.

Oh, yeah. And I also want other people who are thinking about doing something like this to understand that the industry is not going to tolerate it. Just because we are a renegade industry and love to be rebels doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to press charges when somebody attacks us – and not just attacks us, but our performers, who are the lifeblood of the industry.

What they did … and interestingly enough, Free Speech Coalition, right? (Laughs) But it’s not free expression. It was getting into people’s medical records and it was definitely invasion of privacy that was illegalization of privacy. Porn Wikileaks and Wikileaks could not be any further apart.

Q: As well as endangering people and their family members.

Oh, yeah. There was nothing noble about that.

Q: Do you worry that another version of Porn Wikileaks will surface in the near future?

(Sighs) Yes, I do – just because it was so vicious and so damaging and so horrible. I mean, it was also ridiculous. Just the stuff they were saying – it was all lies. But how do people know that?

I knew once we put that out that they were going to come after me, so I took everything off of my Facebook page except for my gender. And they had found an old paper I wrote on lesbian pornography. I was speaking on a panel once and they took a picture of me sitting next to a gentleman who is head of an arts council. And they put this picture up: “There’s Diane with her lesbian lover!” (Laughs) This guy! And I thought, “Oh, my gosh, this is really interesting.” (Laughs)

For me, it was humorous because it was so absurd. But the thing is, that’s what happened to me and that was nothing compared to what happened to the performers. We had people calling up going, “My neighbor showed me this,” and, “My son’s picture or my daughter’s picture is up there.” It was mean-spirited; it was illegal.

So, yeah, I’m concerned for the performers; I don’t ever want them to have to go through that again. That’s one of the reasons why we were so careful as we were developing our database. We wanted to make sure that if somebody did breach this, there wasn’t anything there that they could use. There is really nothing there that they can use.

Because anybody can change their phone number or their E-mail address. That’s why the physical addresses are not available there: Because we don’t want people’s homes to be invaded. (Porn Wikileaks) had pictures of people’s houses up there and their parents’ houses and their grandparents’ houses.

So, yeah, that’s a concern for me. I’m hoping that the scum-of-the-Earth individuals who put Porn Wikileaks up … that there are not an abundance of them to go out there and do that. I get E-mails from some interesting characters – threats – on a pretty regular basis. (Laughs) But I’m not too worried about it; it’s just people who want to attack the industry and my name is out there, so they see me as one of the ways to do that.

Q: Obviously, the big news story over the past couple of weeks has been the recent HIV scare within the industry. To the best of your knowledge, has the performer in question been cleared of any infection?

The last report that we put out – the last test, which is a PCR/RNA test, the grandfather of tests – was negative, all the Western Blots and ELISAs had come out negative and then the PCR/RNA before that came out negative. We’re still guarded and the performer knows that we are encouraging the performer to take another Western Blot in three months, but the performer isn’t planning on continuing in the industry from what I understand. But everything that we know points to the last test that “Patient Alpha” had, (which was) negative.

Q: Which is great news.

It is great news. It was great news to that performer, who had been jerked around like crazy. The rumors that were flying were ridiculous. It put a burden on the industry performers who had nothing to do with it or associated in another way; their names were flown out there.

It was horribly irresponsible. AIDS Healthcare Foundation took rumors off of the board, held a press conference and reported those rumors as true. They now are looking like absolute idiots – they are. But we were precluded from saying anything because we believe in patient privacy and we understand the regulations around this. In speaking with Patient Alpha, we were very clear that we will respect the patient’s right to privacy. So, we were not about to start spreading rumors and give them this information and we didn’t want to put any information out there until we had better information because it would just perpetuate that.

And it’s difficult: I spent an entire week on the phone saying nothing because there was nothing I could say until we had more details. The fact that we had a bunch of different testing sites that we were working with simultaneously … I mean, these were a bunch of different sites that people had tested and it wasn’t coordinated. It made the situation much more difficult. I think it prolonged it much longer than it needed to be. But again, the industry was willing to shut down for a week, which was really wonderful. I’m hoping that in the future we will be able to isolate things much quicker. And that’s what we are hoping to do with APHSS; that is another thing that program will provide.

Q: The performer received their negative test from an APHSS facility …

The final one, yes.

Q: Yes. I realize you obviously have to respect a certain level of confidentiality for Patient Alpha and I don’t know if you can answer this question, but did the performer approach APHSS (following their initial tests indicating exposure to HIV)?

The performer called me.

Q: Okay. You mentioned AIDS Healthcare Foundation – and really the entire media circus surrounding the whole situation – but there were some accusations from AHF directed toward FSC and you’s actually sought out legal action in the form of an official retraction from them. Did you ever receive that?

That wasn’t us who asked for the legal retraction; that was Manwin, actually – Brazzers, I think, who wrote the letter. And I don’t know if they received it or not.

We have publicly said that they should retract it. It’s ridiculous and that was irresponsible. Coming from somebody (who) worked at Planned Parenthood, that organization would never, ever do what AIDS Healthcare Foundation did as far as speculation. They understand that is the most disrespectful thing – not only for Patient Alpha, but also for other patients affected. I don’t see how people can trust AIDS Healthcare Foundation with their privacy if they’re willing to spread rumors like that. For an organization where you are doing HIV testing and privacy and trust is such a critical part of what the organization provides … for them to go out and to grandstand like that and to use this for political gain, I was so disappointed and so appalled by that. I was in disbelief that they would do that.

Q: I would like to ask your opinion of anti-porn activists because although I have only been writing about the adult industry for a year, in that time I have noticed that anti-porn advocates – while operating under the guise of “concern for the performers” – always seem to have some sort of personal agenda.

Well, you really can’t just say “anti-porn activists” and put them all in one (category). You’ve got your ultra-conservative fundamentalist Christian-type or fundamentalist religious extremists; they are terrified of sex in any way, shape or form. So, that’s one group.

One of my favorites are the feminist ones who believe that women are victims in this. And I love this, especially since these are the ones who will be the biggest supporters of a woman’s right to choose. How do you support a woman’s right to choose and not support her choices about whether or not she wants to work in this industry? So, a woman is intelligent enough to choose whether or not she has an abortion, but her brains go out the window when she’s looking at what she wants to do for a living? It’s the respect of the woman completely that is lacking in that feminist viewpoint of adult entertainment.

Women are not victims any more than men are victims. Men and women are victims in any possible venue, whether it’s adult entertainment or tax reform. (Laughs) You can look at that.

In general, people who are against our industry believe they should have the right to tell other people what to do. When I first came into the industry, I was going to meet with “The Guy” – Larry Flynt. I was really excited about it and I wanted to watch the Woody Harrelson movie, The People vs. Larry Flynt, the night before because I was just trying to inspire myself for my meeting with Larry. (Laughs) This was back in 2006.

I remember one of the lines from that movie that has just stuck with me and it was really inspiring for me was, “I want the right to be left alone.” And that’s it. And the thing is about Larry Flynt and the John Staglianos of the world and all of those people who own retail stores who are fighting to be able to sell vibrators to people that want them … they all firmly believe in people’s right to make their own decisions. And as our government comes in and as these anti-industry folks come in and more and more try to push their agenda on other people, for me that’s where the rubber meets the road: Fighting for people’s right to make their own choices, to make their own decisions and having the right to be left alone.

I don’t think fundamentalist extremists should be making decisions about my life and I’m not going to be making decisions about theirs. That’s the great thing about our country and I just hope … as we are looking at 9/11 ten years later and how much we lost in that ten years of trust and how much we’ve let the government come in and start taking over our lives. The thing that makes America great is our freedom and if we lose the freedom to the religious extremists, if we lose the freedom to the ultra-radical feminists and we let other people tell us what to do, then we are going to be losing what’s so special and what’s so great about the United States of America.

Q: Yes – if people allow a ban on pornography, then where do things go from there?

Yeah. Well, you’ve got the fringe, right? We’re the fringe. So, you cut the fringe of our fringe. You cut off the border – “Well, I do this.” And this is the argument I hate in our industry: “Well, we do this, but we don’t do that.” It’s like, “No, it doesn’t work that way.“ You can’t be half-pregnant, folks.

But if you cut off that fringe, you get a new fringe that comes in a little bit closer. Then you get a new fringe and you cut off that fringe and it comes in a little bit closer. And pretty soon, it’s nothing but fringe.

So, when we work to protect the rights of the businesses of the adult entertainment industry and the consumers of the adult entertainment industry, we’re also working to protect the rights of everyday citizens who want to be able to continue to make choices.

Q: I wanted to get your perspective on the .XXX top-level domain, as you have worked hard to voice FSC’s resistance to .XXX. Do you oppose the sTLD mostly because of free speech issues or do you feel it is something that could greatly harm the adult industry?

There are a number of reasons. There is the censorship issue. Yes, it is a free speech issue and the fact that it will provide more propensity for censorship. Kenya has already blocked .XXX; there are other countries that will follow suit. Back in 2007 when I was fighting this, I had a bill in my hand that had been created by Senator Max Baucus that was going to try and mandate .XXX for everybody in the United States. So, the potential for censorship there is grand.

The whole premise for .XXX was troublesome for me in that in creating a responsible online adult community, thereby implying that the rest of us were irresponsible or that the community itself as it stands is irresponsible – talking about malware and knowing that our industry has a much better record of not having malware and spyware on our online businesses than Amazon.com and the general mainstream and the child protection.

One of my favorite moments in the .XXX discussion … I was actually in the audience; I wasn’t on the panel on this one – but (Pink Visual President) Allison Vivas was up there and she said, “How many of you produce adult content?” And probably three-quarters of the room raised their hands. And then she said, “How many of you are child pornographers?” (Laughs) And we all started laughing, but we laughed because we know.

But when you say we need to have .XXX to protect our children … I’m often professional and I had these five articles I wrote on .XXX and I ended them all with, “This is bullshit!” It sent everyone into a tizzy that Diane – the professional one – said “bullshit” in writing. (Laughs) And I was thinking, “Because I wrote ‘bullshit?’ What?” This is the adult entertainment industry – that’s pretty mild, isn’t it?

Q: (Laughs) For sure.

But anyway, you get so frustrated at some point when you’re saying, “You know, we know better than that.” And the people involved – the people creating this – knew better than that. So, they were perpetuating myths and misinformation for their own financial gain. So, hurting the industry for financial gain is not okay with me.

And then, one of the big issues that we’re dealing with right now is trademark and brand. When you have somebody threatening to sell the .XXX version of your name … you’ve spent so much money on your trademark and your brand and here I have to buy domain names.

The first year, if you go to GoDaddy, it costs two-hundred dollars for the first year; the second year, a hundred – per domain name. Kink.com, for example, has ten thousand domain names. Now, .XXX says that they are going to be bringing in new revenue and you will be making money from this, but it would be two million Kink would have to bring in the first year if they bought all of their .XXX names and a million dollars the year after that. You and I both know that you are not going to get a million dollars in new revenue because you got that .XXX.

Moreover than that, there has never been a sponsored top-level domain that has been successful. And that’s even without countries blocking it and even with the support of the sponsored community. Our community did not support this; that was supposed to be one of the criteria and the ICANN Board itself admitted that they did not believe that it had sponsored community support. So, what does ICM (Registry) do? They define “sponsored communities” as adult entertainment professionals who think it would be beneficial. Well, there may have been three people who liked that. (Laughs) And I did information requests; I did everything. They would never release any of the people that they said were in support of it.

Q: I remember reading about that, yes.

It was so frustrating. It was clear. There have been a number of articles since then (stating) that this is simply a money grab: A money grab for ICANN – who gets two dollars per domain name sold; and that’s well over double what they typically get. And the contract has now indemnified them from any possible lawsuit, so ICM is going to have to bear the burden on any lawsuits. And I suspect they did that because that is the only way ICANN would have passed it. There were deals being made; there’s no question.

In regard to the adult industry’s viewpoint on .XXX, almost every single article I can recall reading on the subject was in opposition to it.

And people were saying, “Well, Diane, they’re afraid of you.” (Laughs) They’re afraid of me? Really? I don’t believe that. (Laughs) You’re telling me Larry Flynt is afraid of me? You’re telling me John Stagliano is afraid of me? Steven Hirsch afraid of me? No, I don’t think so. I sit here in my little office in Canoga Park and … yeah. I don’t think that they are afraid of me – nor should they be because I’m on their side.

And that’s what I said: I said, “Give me the names. Tell me that you’ve got people who are supporting this and I’m going to back off.” Because if the industry wants this, then they should have it. But what I’m hearing from the industry is a resounding “No!” that they don’t want this. If you’ve got proof that they want this, then I’m out of here because I should not be fighting against my members. And that wasn’t the case. I said that to them a number of times and never, ever, ever did they come up with any.

And their Founders’ Agreement … only twenty percent of all the people who purchased the first Founders’ Program were adult businesses – only twenty percent. And Schilling, who is known as one of the adult entertainment industry’s biggest cybersquatters, invested millions in the Founders’ Program. So, I’m wondering what names he is going to end up with. It will be interesting to find out.

Q: What are you anticipating heading into your upcoming debate with ICM Registry CEO Stuart Lawley on September 23 in London as part of the XBIZ EU Convention?

I think that Stuart and I …we’ve had numerous conversations and I think we’ll just have another conversation. The only difference is that people will be watching us this time. (Laughs)

It’s been interesting because I’m not quite sure this isn’t one of their talking points: That I’m taking this personally. I’ve heard people that I’ve never even met saying, “Diane is taking this personally.” I don’t understand what that means. Do I fight to the death for the industry? Absolutely. If that is taking it personally, then yeah, I am. But what is really true is that I’ve pointed out … (at) The Phoenix Forum, the representative was up there and I caught him in lies. So, I pointed out the lies.

I’ve been doing this and studying this since 2006, so I kind of know their bylaws, I know their regulations, I know when information is coming out that is not true and I’m able to find the source and read it to them. And that’s what I did. Just from the audience, I stood up and said, “That’s not true and here’s where in your bylaw that it says it’s not true.” It was really interesting because then the crowd started chanting, “Liar! Liar!” (Laughs) And I thought, “Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” And I was trying to keep things civil. But it wasn’t me.

So … “Diane is taking this personally” … I’m not. It’s not personal. Stuart is actually a very nice man; Vaughn (Liley), who works with Stuart, is a very nice gentleman. They want to make money; I have no problem with businesses making money.

Here’s where my problem lies: Making money off of a lie about the adult entertainment industry being irresponsible, making money off of brands and trademarks that others have already invested in and causing an industry that is hit so hard right now with piracy and with the recession … that we don’t have those extra funds to give. And to just be hitting us right now with that decision as to whether or not, “Do I buy these top-level domains to protect my brand and my traffic?” To even have to be looking at that decision at this point when our industry is suffering so … it’s ridiculous and irresponsible and we should not have to be facing this.

And again, it’s because the adult entertainment industry is out there. I was in front of ICANN; they didn’t want to take us seriously. That Board meeting in March where we were up in front of the Board, they didn’t even have an agenda. They were supposed to have on the agenda all of the issues that are going to be on the Board agenda for the public discussion and they didn’t have .XXX on the agenda for the public forum.

I made a beeline for their attorney and I was ready to just rip him apart. John Stagliano was there, Peter Ackworth was there, Allison Vivas was there, Paul Cambria was there; we had great representation and I’ll be damned if you’re not going to hear what these folks have to say. If you can make this decision and you know it’s wrong, you’re going to hear it coming from our mouths that we don’t want this, so you’re going to have to make this decision with that full knowledge. And they did.

But again, now we’ve got one of the ICANN Board members sitting on the IFFOR Board, which the IFFOR Board itself doesn’t even have any adult entertainment industry members on it. It’s a three-person Board and by the bylaws, Stuart Lawley is Chair of the IFFOR Board. It’s supposed to be a separate entity from ICM, but isn’t.

Q: To finish up, is there anything you wish to say to readers?

Just keep paying attention to industry issues. Help support us when you can; we very much appreciate it. If you are not a member, please join because we are out here fighting for your rights to do business.

Q: Thank you for your time and I would like to commend you personally; I consider myself pro-FSC and I think it’s great that the industry has an entity there to defend its rights.

Thank you very much, Adam.

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