XXX Wasteland Asks Diane Duke the Tough Questions- On Measure B, Manwin, Mr. Marcus, and The Payoff

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Adam Wilcox posts on www.xxxwasteland.wordpress.com – With the adult business currently facing one of the biggest obstacles in its history, industry leader Diane Duke has been a very busy woman over the past several months. Recently promoted to Chief Executive Officer of adult entertainment trade association the Free Speech Coalition following a five-plus year run as the organization’s Executive Director, Duke has remained on the frontlines of opposition to the Measure B initiative, a proposition now on the November 6 ballot which would mandate the use of condoms on porn sets in Los Angeles County.

A large component of the battle against Measure B has been the creation of the No on Government Waste Committee, an FSC-overseen entity dedicated to educating voters on the drawbacks and shortcomings of the proposed initiative.

In addition to the constant demands of spearheading the “No on Measure” campaign, Duke continues her involvement in other matters facing the adult industry, including 2257 record compliance issues and maintaining a heavy hand in the Adult Production Health & Safety Services performer testing database system.

Diane kindly spoke with XXX Wasteland at length on October 16 to discuss the No on Government Waste Committee’s ongoing efforts to defeat Measure B, FSC’s relationship with adult powerhouse company Manwin, the syphilis outbreak within the adult industry this past summer and more.

You can visit the Free Speech Coalition online at the group’s official website, FreeSpeechCoalition.com, follow the organization on Twitter under the handle @FSCArmy and check out the FSC blog here. The No on Government Waste Committee webpage can be found at this link, while Adult Production Health & Safety Services maintains its online home here.

Q: First off, I’d like to congratulate you on your recent appointment as CEO of the Free Speech Coalition.

Thank you!

Q: I was wondering if you could speak a little bit about the new position and how it differs from your previous role as Executive Director.

The CEO title has a little bit more punch to it, shall we say. So, there really isn’t going to be much difference from my being Executive Director. But it just gives me a little bit more authority.

Moving on to matters facing the adult industry, I suppose we should start with the biggest story – that being the “No on Measure B” campaign, which opposes the porn condom mandate on the November election ballot that would legally require the use of condoms during porn shoots. Have you been happy with how the campaign has gone thus far?

I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the support we have been getting from the industry. But, it’s really difficult when you are up against an organization that brings in 200 million dollars a year and just writes direct cheques. So, we are actually running a campaign like most campaigns are run where you get it from consumers, you get it from businesses. So, it’s a little here, a little there.

We have a lot of fundraising that we have to do and unfortunately, we are against an entity that just writes cheques. Every cent of funding that has gone into the “Yes on B” campaign, all of it has come from AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

None of it has come from anyplace else. We have donors from all over the place – everywhere from consumers to some of our major companies writing big cheques. But, the big cheques that they are writing are not the million-dollar cheques that AHF is writing. So, when you can just write a cheque and not have to worry about the fundraising part (Laughs), I feel like it’s a little bit more difficult for us than it is for them.

The good news is that we have a much better campaign staff than they do – we have the best campaign staff in Southern California with Susan Burnside of Burnside & Associates and our Communications Director, James Lee, who is just awesome and has done an excellent job.

It’s really interesting because Susan has always worked for the utmost Liberal of Liberal companies and James comes from the Conservative side. So, when the three of us met in my office, it was fun because Susan and James had often worked on opposite sides of issues. But, this is a non-partisan issue – it impacts everyone equally and both of them agree that it is a ridiculous and dangerous proposition.

Q: You mentioned going up against the massive chequebook of AHF. I would imagine it is also difficult with the adult industry itself being a business that the majority of the general public is not educated about in regard to how it operates – especially now that Measure B is on the November ballot for voters to decide upon. I think many people may look at that at face value and say to themselves, “Condoms in porn to keep the performers safe? Great!” and check on “Yes.” I feel that’s why it is so important for the industry to put the proper information out there.

You’re absolutely right. We started this campaign and we started before we even launched a campaign committee. We did polling because we wanted to see – before going down this path, working this hard and spending this much money – if we could actually win the campaign.

What the polling shows is exactly what you said: starting out at face value, everybody said, “Well sure – everybody should be protected from sexually transmitted infection; sure, they should wear condoms.” But when they start hearing more and more about the ballot measure – that it will also require gloves, goggles, dental dams and condoms for oral sex – people change their minds when we tell them there have been no transmissions of HIV on set since 2004 and that the industry has protocols in place that have been protecting performers for years.

They change their minds when we tell them that there is a 152-page report written by the County itself on where the priorities are for HIV and the adult entertainment industry doesn’t even make the report as a risk factor. They change their minds when we tell them that their tax dollars are going to be going to sending enforcement officers onto sets to check and see if condoms are being used or the ridiculous barrier protections that we talked about are in place instead of those funds going into actual HIV programs and services. They change their minds.

Our challenge is getting all of that information out. And again, it’s the chequebook that they have compared to all of these fundraising efforts that we have.

Q: Yes. I really do feel it is a matter – as we discussed – of simply getting this information out there, which is very important because I think this is really the first time that the general public’s lack of knowledge about the adult business could actually harm the industry if they are not aware of these facts.

Oh, absolutely. And it’s not just the industry it will harm – it is the performers. If the industry is forced underground, it is going to be far less safer for the performers. We have great protocols in place. We have absolute inclusion – everybody follows these protocols. But if folks go underground, we are not going to be able to have that level of compliance.

Q: There are a number of political parties – including the Democrats and Republicans – who have publicly come out against Measure B. Do you feel that gives the anti-mandate cause some new hope?

Well, what’s really interesting is that the Chambers of Commerce are all behind us. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association is completely behind us – they’ve held press conferences for us.

It wasn’t the Democratic party – it was the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party who have come out against Measure B. And the Democratic Parties are not taking a position on it, which, I think, says a lot. So, there are no political parties in favor of this. So, when they all send out their little voters guides, Measure B will have a big “No” next to it. So, that is certainly going to help us and the fact that sane minds are making these decisions is good.

But, the problem again is that if you just take it at face value, you have an AIDS organization going against the adult entertainment industry. So, HIV against porn – automatically, if people are not paying attention, we’re screwed. But we have a very aggressive education campaign going out and we have been very frugal in the way that we have spent our money. So, I think our dollars are going a lot further than the dollars that AHF has spent – which is great, because they are outspending us probably ten to one.

We still have a lot more to do between now and election day, but the thing that is really great, too, is that we have an entire huge consumer base. So, if you think about who we reach online – the California folks and people in the United States in general – we can ask everybody to donate, but we can also ask those people in Southern California and the Los Angeles area, “Make sure you get out and vote ‘No’ on B.” Or make sure that anybody that you know in Los Angeles votes “No” on B – communicate that to folks.

We have just put together some banners that are going out today – and you’ll see them on some different sites – that are just some excellent banners which show people in hazmat suits: “This is what your porn will look like.” And so, it’s a clever banner and it leads them to our website, which is just an excellent site.

Q: Very nice. This is probably a very vague question, but would you care to offer a prediction on which way the vote will go come November 6?

(Sighs) I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit and … (Laughs) I don’t know. I’d like to believe that it’s going to go in our favor, but at this point, it’s going to be all a matter of how much we can get out.

I also have to thank people like Steven St. Croix and the folks at Vivid for putting together a wonderful video. And people like Ron Jeremy, Tera Patrick and Axel Braun – all of the folks who have been working and putting some great videos out. The folks at Girlfriends Films have gotten some wonderful pictures together. Gamma has come out and put those banners together. The folks at Evil Angel have worked on our website and have been extremely helpful. Manwin has been a huge help with donations, as has Vivid, Wicked, Hustler, Adam & Eve and all of our big companies – Adult Webmaster Empire, Kink.com. And I’m leaving out a ton. But folks have been stepping up to the plate.

It’s difficult, though. We don’t have that huge chequing account that AHF has for this. And the thing that is frustrating for me on a number of levels is I used to work for Planned Parenthood, so for a 501(c)(3) – as AHF is – they have spent 1.6 million dollars just in the first reporting period.

They still have two more reporting periods and they’ll be spending a lot more. Just to get on the ballot, they spent two million. So, we’re looking at the fact that they have spent almost four million now – and that’s even before.

And just from a citizen’s standpoint or someone who – as I said, I worked for Planned Parenthood, reproductive health and sexual health – knowing what they could have been doing with those dollars … the County’s report comes out and says that the underserved in L.A. County are the people who are in poverty, the people who are uninsured, and the Hispanic and African-American communities.

Well, in the communities where they are most needed, AHF doesn’t have a presence – they don’t have a clinic. Just from what they have spent so far, they could easily have built a clinic and had it staffed with four million dollars – easily. They would be able to serve a huge population instead of on this personal vendetta that their CEO seems to have against the adult entertainment industry.

Q: You mentioned the industry banding together – the companies and many of the performers – and I think that has been a positive sign. Everywhere – Twitter, various websites – the majority of the business appears to be on board with opposing the measure, whether it be making videos or simply changing their avatar photos.

Our performers are doing a fabulous job and I have to say, it is so wonderful to see the advocacy coming from the people who are working in the front lines of this industry. The performers are the backbone of our industry and they more than anybody don’t want the government coming in and telling them how they should be performing. And so, that is one of the things that we really appreciate.

When on the other side, you look at Micheal Weinstein and AHF – he has had to pay Derrick Burts and Darren James to appear in his commercials. And Darren James, this was back in 2004. And Derrick Burts – as much as he would like to scream that he contacted HIV on set, he fails to mention that it was a condom-only set. He does say that he contracted it by somebody ejaculating on his back and that would be the first and only time that has ever happened in the history of HIV. So, I’m guessing that’s not the case. There are a lot of other mitigating factors that show Burts clearly did not get HIV on set.

Q: You mentioned No on Government Waste Committee’s Communications Director James Lee earlier. Obviously, his credentials are very impressive and I don’t think anyone would question his professional qualifications, but there was speculation shortly after he was hired of some anti-porn ties in his past. Can you comment on that?

You know, it’s always really easy to put our arms around the Democrats and the Liberals – they are fighting for our personal freedoms and our personal liberties – but let’s take a look at the truth here: the Republican Party in L.A. – the same party that everyone is saying, “Well, they have Conservative viewpoints” – came out against this ballot measure. And I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but you know what? We really suck at this. I have to say that. And you’re not going to find better people working on a campaign who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get down into the gutter if you have to – when you are dealing with someone like Mike Weinstein, that’s where he lives. So, we have to go and play on a level playing field with him.

We needed a pitbull. We needed a pitbull for our Communications Director. And every single day at ten o’clock, we have our campaign teleconferences. And every single day, I am so thankful that we have that man working for us.

James’ politics and my politics … we haven’t sat down and had conversations about that. I’m sure that over a beer, the two of us would probably clear the bar. But, what I can tell you is that on this issue, he doesn’t waver. So, there is absolutely no regret for hiring him and we are very, very fortunate to have him on this. There are times when you have to put partisan politics aside and fight for the issue and that is exactly what we’re doing. And I’ll tell you, there is nobody fighting as hard for our industry as James is right now.

Q: Yes. When I read about James Lee’s political past, it seemed to me that anything which could be considered anti-porn was pretty distant.

Oh, yeah. I can promise you there are people in our industry that I work for who I don’t agree with. But I work for them and those associations – that’s fine. There are a lot of opinions people have who I work for that I don’t agree with, but that’s okay.

Q: And it is not unique for two parties with opposing viewpoints to work together for a common cause.

Yeah. And as I said, here we have somebody who has worked for some of the most Conservative of Conservatives, but we also have somebody who has worked for some of the most Liberal organizations out there, and the two of them work so well together. And it doesn’t hurt that they both went to USC. (Laughs) Football day, I gotta tell you.

But we are so fortunate to have both of those folks working for us. I don’t know if you have ever worked on a campaign, but when you are involved in something so intricately, it’s 24/7. I was up this morning at two o’clock sending E-mails out. And I was up late last night sending E-mails out. It’s just … you do what you have to do.

I will have no life between now and campaign day. And I work for the Free Speech Coalition – that’s fine, that’s what I do. But Susan and James are also making that same kind of commitment and not even hesitating. So, it’s great to see this group that we have working and working about as hard as you can. If we lose this, it won’t be for lack of trying – it will probably be for lack of money.

Q: Transitioning over to another major topic from this year, probably the biggest industry news story of the summer was the syphilis outbreak within the adult business, which caused the need for an industry-wide moratorium. It was eventually revealed that veteran performer Mr. Marcus had falsified an STI test, and please correct me if wrong, but it was FSC who organized the press conference where he admitted to doctoring the test.

It was one of our Board members who did, so yes.

Q: Okay. And there was some outcry from people in the industry, who thought – and certainly not to suggest that FSC condoned his actions – but there were some who wondered, “How can they stand beside him?” I was wondering if you could speak about that.

Absolutely. It wasn’t a press conference. What happened was we found out that Marcus had a positive syphilis test. Marcus, at that time, had not tested at one of the APHSS facilities. So, we had a performer – who was a popular performer – who tested positive for syphilis and no way of finding out what impact that person had had on the industry. So, we didn’t have our protocols in place at APHSS, so we weren’t able to do the first and second generation identification and have a good grasp on what this means to the industry.

The first thing that had to happen was we needed Marcus to give us a call. You can’t even have these kinds of conversations until the patient who has tested positive contacts you. Once Marcus contacted us, we then wanted to sit down with him and start doing the partner identifications. The health department had already contacted him and the health department in Los Angeles … it’s very interesting because there is one particular person in the health department who has signed on with many different committees that are supporting AHF. So, there is a political agenda. And this individual sat down with us after we started the whole lookback. We wanted to work with the County.

This person’s name is Peter Kerndt. And he has put out misinformation that has had to be retracted from newspapers. This guy … bad news for the industry and really a poor example to be working for a public health department because the politics that he brings with him are pretty dangerous when you start looking at trying to gain people’s trust.

I remember he met with me and one of the doctors and we were talking about working together. He was saying, “There are nine cases out there.” They had reported this to the paper. And I was like, “Okay, are there nine cases out there?” And he said, “I can’t tell you that.” I said, “You reported it in the paper!” (Laughs) He was just like, “Well …”

I said, “Look, what we need to do is what is best for the performers. Peter, can you take your political hat and political agenda off and let’s just sit down and work together to protect the performers.” And he said, “You know, Diane, I just tell the truth. If that hurts, that’s too bad.” I looked at him and I said, “Well, you just gave me my answer. Thank you very much.”

These are the folks who have been trying to get everybody’s patient records. Led by this gentleman … he is the one who encouraged folks to go down to San Diego – and I don’t know if you ever heard that story – where somebody from the L.A. County Health Department showed up on somebody’s doorstep in San Diego with a phlebotomist!

Q: Yes.

This is the guy. So, I’m not about to encourage any of our participants to give them all of our patient records because they’ve also gone to people’s houses, knocked on the door and said, “Do you know that your daughter works in the adult entertainment industry and might have a sexually transmitted infection?” Those are the kinds of things that really don’t enlist trust for a public health entity.

So, we needed to get a hold of Marcus. We needed to be able to talk to him to understand what the depth of this was. And Marcus had doctors. There were a lot of conversations and it wasn’t until much later that I got the information that he had doctored this. At first, that information was not out there; he didn’t give me that information. It wasn’t until later.

And he was scared. He made a really poor decision – there is no question in my mind. He had gone to his personal physician, got tested, found out that he was positive for syphilis, got the shot and then laid low for ten days. His doctor said, “Don’t have any sexual contact for ten days and then you’ll be fine.”

So, he did. He laid low for ten days and then he knew that he was not contagious anymore. But then he went to a facility, got tested – and the test is going to turn out positive. Anybody who has had syphilis before … some people, it will show up on an RPR test – which is what he took – it will go for life. You will always show positive. But typically, for at least a year or two years, you are going to have a positive result on a syphilis test even though you are not contagious. It’s kind of a complicated explanation, but you won’t be contagious, it’s just showing up. So, the doctor does an assessment just to make sure that you are not contagious.

And that had happened: he wasn’t contagious, but his test was showing up positive. So, he doctored the test, which was really stupid, a bad idea – he will be the first to say that.

But we still needed to talk to Marcus. And the industry was furious with him. He wanted to tell his story. At the time, I was working with one of our Board members – it was actually one of our Board members who had talked Marcus into contacting us so that we could do the partner identification. So, he came in, he worked with us on the partner identification, which was very helpful. We were then able to then determine that a lot of people had been exposed.

I guess one of the big questions for us – and one of the big questions for the health department – is where did Marcus get it? That was the hard question and that was one of the things that we looked at. Marcus got it from somewhere and it was clear that other people had been exposed.

Marcus had been exposed from somewhere – we didn’t know where that was. We also knew when Marcus had realized that he had syphilis, it was second stage, which meant that he had been performing for a very, very long time.

From what we understand and everything I know, Marcus never exposed anybody after he had syphilis and got his shot. The problem was, a number of people may have been exposed before; Marcus is a very popular performer and had performed a lot. So, that was a big concern and that’s where we had to work with him. So, Marcus sat down and worked with us.

It’s not like FSC ever condoned that. I was the first to say, “Marcus, that was a stupid idea. It was a stupid thing for you to do – really bad mistake.” And Marcus will say that, too. But what we did need to do is say, “Okay, Marcus, now, in order to protect everybody else, we need you to sit down and walk through this with us. We need you to meet with a doctor.” And he spent hours doing that.

He was getting attacked – rightfully so – by a lot of people. But he stepped up to give that information, where a lot of people could just say, “Fuck you,” and walk away. And that could have happened, too. What I did express – and I said – it took courage because he had to sit there and he had to stay in the middle of the industry in order to do all of this. We were identifying people, we were making sure the industry was protected. So, he walked through that and did that.

And what I said – when AVN and XBIZ were there – I said, “It took a lot of courage to do that.” And I’ll still stand by it. Was it a stupid thing for him to do? Yeah! He’ll be the first to say that and I say that, too. But, to stick around and make sure that he was doing what he could to protect the people that he could … I was very appreciative of the fact that he was willing to work with us and give us the information that we needed.

So, that was that piece of it. Now, we didn’t organize a press conference. What we did was … Marcus wanted to tell his story. Also, in this time, we knew that AHF was out there sensationalizing syphilis in the industry. What is true is that there was a rise in syphilis everywhere. We found out that at the same time Marcus got syphilis, there were a hundred people in Budapest – performers there. So, we needed to make sure that the industry was protected. We worked with a number of doctors and we talked to a lot of people and started with the treatment – found a test with a 14-day window and we were able to bring that in and developed a protocol to protect people.

Making sure that the industry is protected and that people are safe is the biggest priority. So, what happened is that the industry closed down. What is so great about our program and this industry is that we had a problem – “Everybody, stop! Let’s get a handle on it and then we’ll move forward.” And that’s exactly what happens. In society, that doesn’t happen.

This is what is great about our circle of performers: we stop, we work to make sure that everybody is protected and they get the treatment or the test that they need, and we can start production again as we have a plan. So, that’s what we did: we talked to some of the best professionals out there. We wanted to make sure that our performers were protected and taken care of.

It was a crazy time. It was really difficult. And the performers … it was tedious and frustrating for them and I can’t tell you enough how much I admire the performers for walking through that with us. They deserve a shitload of credit because again, they are at the frontlines. We have all these production companies, webmasters and all of these big companies, but really, the backbone of our industry is our performers. And time after time after time, they step up to the plate. They are the strength of this industry.

Q: Definitely. And that has happened on more than one occasion where those in the industry … obviously, they don’t want to stop production, but they realize that they have to and that it is best for everybody, so they do it.

Yeah. And stopping production hurts the production companies, but this is a daily paycheque that these guys get. So, stopping production hurts the performers more than anybody else.

Q: Yes.

So, when Marcus wanted to tell his story, we knew AHF was out there. We also knew that there was going to be a huge tendency to sensationalize this. The two biggest trade publications, XBIZ and AVN – having them come in together to listen to Marcus tell his story seemed like the best idea, so nobody was going to try and scoop anybody. It was all going to come out at the same time and Marcus would have an opportunity – he said he wanted to tell his story. We didn’t do a press conference – we just called up AVN and XBIZ and said, “Marcus wants to tell his story. Do you want to come and listen to it?” And that’s where we were.

So, it wasn’t like we called a press conference. It wasn’t like FSC was condoning Marcus fixing his test. No.

It is so important to have these protocols in place that we have in place because when a performer has a positive test, it’s important that we are able to track the first and second generation people.

He worked with his personal physician, right? The personal physician did not know that he was in the adult entertainment industry. So, the personal physician isn’t going to walk him through how to make sure that the people you have worked with in the productions have been saved or what we need to do. That’s what APHSS does.

So, you’re thinking, “I’ve taken care of this. I can go back to work.” A lot of people in our industry, if somebody gets an STI, they get treated and they wait it out – if they have chlamydia or gonorrhea, they get treated and make sure they are okay before they come back to work. I think Marcus had that mentality, but this was a very different situation.

Q: One more question before I close off on this topic – and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here, but there was a report a few days ago that the No on Measure B camp had paid Marcus a sum of money to retain him if they were to need him as a representative later on.

Yeah.

Q: There was some criticism as to why they would use Marcus as a representative for that cause when many people view him as the central point of the syphilis outbreak. I was wondering if you could address that.

Well, AHF had bought and paid for Derrick Burts, AHF had bought and paid for Darren James, and AHF, from what I understand, was trying to buy and pay for Marcus. Mike Weinstein had used syphilis as a base to push through Measure B. I’ve debated him on a number of stances he’s started with that. He knows that he can’t sell it with the HIV story because we don’t have any transmissions of HIV. So, as soon as the syphilis outbreak happened, he jumped on that.

From what I understand, he offered tens of thousands of dollars to Marcus. And so, the campaign decided instead of running the risk that AHF would be able to provide that, I think that they just chose to offer an honorarium to Marcus to make sure that we were covered.

And I think that was a gesture. It was $2,500. When you’re looking at $2,500 compared to, I think, was close to $40,000 dollars is the number that I heard running around.

The campaign knew – we knew damn well – that these reports come out. We knew that it would be out there that Marcus has been paid. That could have been done behind the scenes, it could have been paid through somebody else. But, it’s important that we’re transparent. And I am a firm believer that if you’re going to do it, do it. We’re not hiding anything from the industry, we’re not hiding the decision we’ve made. If we’re going to offer an honorarium, then it’s going to be offered. And if Weinstein goes out and starts spreading rumors and misinformation about syphilis, we now have somebody who … “Hey, for $2,500, are you willing to set the record straight?” So, we’re offering just to make sure that he’s still around to do that.

Q: There has also been some discussion about the relationship between Manwin and FSC …

I love that. I know! What the Hell?

Q: There are people who accuse Manwin of essentially acting as FSC and APHSS’ puppet master …

Yeah. I wonder if anybody has ever spent ten minutes with any of our Board members. We are such a group of individuals. And so, yeah. People … you know, haters are going to hate and that’s what is going to happen. And I have to tell you that my skin has gotten so much thicker this year. I think that has come with the CEO title, right? Thick skin.

Q: Yeah.

It’s bullshit – and I’m just going to say it. It is bullshit. And I don’t usually swear – only when it’s important, if you guys will remember from the .XXX discussion.

Q: Yeah.

Manwin has contributed a great deal financially to the industry. They have done the .XXX lawsuit – they’re still doing it. I can’t even imagine the millions of dollars they have poured into that.

But, come December, I’m guessing – this is my prediction – we are going to see very few people renew with .XXX because it didn’t go anywhere. Manwin’s lawsuit has changed even the way the gTLD roll-out is perceived. Their recent win in the appeal saying, “You can sue about the trademarks,” was huge. It was a huge win. It wasn’t just a huge win for the adult entertainment industry, it was a huge win for business in general.

So, here is an adult company that is changing, just like adult businesses did back when we chose VHS. Changing the way that trademarks are going to be perceived on the Internet – people can sue. At least at this point, they can – we’ll see how the lawsuit runs out. But, they paid for that.

They have made a couple of big donations to this campaign. So, that’s a significant donation. They started the Performer Subsidy Fund, which is huge. We’re administering that fund; we just wrote a bunch of cheques for a hundred dollars to performers – sent out just stacks of them.

That is great stuff that is happening. So, Manwin has done a lot of really good things for the industry and they have worked with us on some of our programs. There are often situations when we don’t agree on things and that’s fine.

I have walked away from many, many, many … offers (Laughs), shall we say, to FSC: “We’ll pay for this, we’ll pay for that.” No. You are not going to buy us – we can’t be bought. There were a lot of offers through ICM on the .XXX thing that we walked away from, we turned our back to.

Am I going to walk away from the ability to subsidize performers for their testing when there are no strings attached? Why would I? Would I walk away from the ability to further this campaign and possibly save porn in Los Angeles? Hmm … probably not.

Now, those people who are blogging and saying that FSC is owned by Manwin … hmm … perhaps they could stand up and actually do something. Instead of sitting back and complaining, do something.

Back a long time ago, I remember having a meeting. I remember Manwin asking, “Would you be willing to meet with us about .XXX?” And I remember saying to them, “I’d be willing to meet with you about .XXX if you would be willing to meet with me about piracy.” And that happened at a Phoenix Forum a long, long time ago.

At that point, we said, “Your tube sites are unacceptable. You need to clean this up. We are not going to work with you until you do.” They were the first tube sites to do the fingerprinting. They signed on to that and now are paying Vobile to block fingerprints. All companies have to do is fingerprint their content.

So, there is a lot of good that Manwin has done. Are they a huge company? Yes, they are. (Laughs) Nobody can say that they aren’t. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I remember back before Manwin, we gave Scott Coffman the Man of the Year Award and everybody hated us for that because AEBN was the big company that was going to take over the industry. I understand that Hustler just beat Manwin out on a deal for New Frontier Media. So, I don’t know – is Hustler going to be the new bad guy? (Laughs) Who knows?

But we appreciate all of the donations that have come into the industry from Manwin. There is a lot of controversy, there is a lot of harsh feelings because back in the day – and I will be the first to say it – the sites that were Manwin sites were stealing content. But now, most of the producers are actually working with Manwin and Manwin has cleaned up their act and is moving forward to try and work with the folks in the industry in a clean way.

I will – just like any other company in the industry – if they are doing things to harm the industry, I’ll be the first to say it. But, I also want to be the first to say, “Thank you,” if they are doing things to help the industry.

Q: You mentioned the meeting you had with Manwin regarding piracy and I was actually going to ask about that because it’s important to note that you did not agree to work with Manwin until they agreed to discuss the piracy issue because it was something that was negatively affecting a lot of people in the industry.

Yeah. I guess if you say, “You guys need to clean up your act in this arena …” and there are all kinds of conspiracy theories. From my understanding, when I first met with Manwin, this was the new ownership. They had just purchased. And then, you have all of the boards saying, “They just moved from one desk to another.”

I don’t have the financials, I can’t tell you. My experience was, “Your sites are stealing from people, you are screwing all of our producers. This is not acceptable. Until and unless you are willing to step up to the plate and actively try to fix this, then we can’t work together.” So, when they called and said, “Will you meet with us about .XXX?,” I said, “Sure. Will you meet with me about piracy?” And they said, “Yes.”

I sat at a table with Gill Sperlein and I sat at a table with just about every one of the top people at Manwin and started negotiating. (Pink Visual President) Allison Vivas was very instrumental – they had honestly sued. They had sued Manwin, had won the lawsuit and this was part of it.

“Let’s make it happen.” And it did.

I will be the first to say that Pornhub, Brazzers and all of them were the biggest thieves of the industry. But now that they are actively working not to do that, it’s a different situation.

Q: And obviously, they are a strong ally.

They are. I was thinking about this this morning – they could do what they are doing and not donate a penny to the industry. And I find it really interesting because anytime they do anything like the Performer Subsidy Fund or donate to our campaign, it hits the boards and everybody is complaining about Manwin: “What’s their ulterior motive?” Or whatever.

I’ve worked in non-profits for thirty years. Every single donation has some kind of motive. Who knows what it is? But what I can tell you is that what has resulted from the donations they have given has definitely supported the industry rather than tearing it down.

Q: I wanted to ask about APHSS as an entity as well. This may seem like a silly question considering APHSS has been in operation for about a year now, but I was hoping you could explain exactly what the organization is because I think there is a lot of misunderstanding in regard to that.

Sure. APHSS was formed when AIM closed down to carry on the protocols – to make sure that the protocols carried on and that there was a way for folks to continue those protocols and make sure the safeguards for the industry were still in effect.

We studied carefully what happened with AIM and some of the problems that they had had. I’ll be the first to say that when I first came into this industry working from Planned Parenthood, I was impressed as Hell and think that it was a wonderful system and it was great that the industry had set that up.

So, I’m not being critical of AIM. But, we’ve learn lessons and everybody is going to. I’ve learned a ton of lessons since I’ve been with APHSS.

One of the things as far as AIM … Porn Wikileaks happened, right? So, performer data was really important – that we protected performer data and information so that we could never have that kind of negative impact on the performers again by exposing all of their personal information.

So, we created a database that just showed “Available” or “Not Available.” We went with the performers’ legal names, so if somebody did hack that – and, you know, they hacked Sony. So, anything is hackable. But, if they did hack the database, it wouldn’t have any medical information, it wouldn’t have any personal information. It would just be able to tell a producer if a performer was available or not available.

We also worked with different providers, set up some protocols like, “What happens if you have a positive HIV?” and, “Here are some steps that we would like to follow and make sure.” We also wanted to make sure that the pricing was good for performers because AIM was able to offer low-cost testing. So, we’ve worked with different providers to make sure that was available for them.

We just wanted to carry that on. So, now, if you test at an APHSS provider, there is no way that you can falsify a test because if you have a test that shows you are negative, but you go and check the database and it says you are unavailable, there is reason you are unavailable in the database. So, a lot of producers are being able to use that.

Before, when you would print up somebody’s medical record or test result and they would have that in a file, the liability for a producer was significant. And really, you shouldn’t have copies of people’s medical records. So, what that director can now do is print up a copy that shows this person was available on this date and then they are covered.

Q: Yes. And I wanted to bring this up because I think a lot of performers dislike the idea of not having a choice on where they test. But there are a number of facilities affiliated with APHSS and the organization doesn’t control them, they just oversee the database. So, talent does have a choice.

Yeah. And we are adding providers every day and anybody who wants to be provider, they can. We just have to make sure that they meet our protocols and they are in.

And if for whatever reason a performer is not happy with a clinic, you can work with them to find another one.

Sure.

I admire that because I feel a comprehensive database is the way to go for the industry and it seems that things have been kind of scattered since AIM was forced into closure and that FSC and APHSS are trying to put the pieces back together for a complete database.

We really are. And I think more and more folks have been able to rely on us for that. It’s a huge job and it’s been a huge resource-drainer for FSC to put this together. We haven’t made any money on this – we’ve lost tons. But it’s something that we knew the industry needed. And I have to tell you that it’s the last thing we wanted to do. There are so many other things that I’d love to be working on, but this one was really, critically important. The performers need to be protected and there needs to be a way that they can be taken care of. We met with producers and performers and were able to find out if this was something that they wanted the FSC to take on. And really, there was no other entity out there to do that.

So, yes, we picked that up. And it’s been huge. It’s been one of the things that we’ve worked on almost non-stop.

Q: I certainly appreciate all of the time you have spent speaking with me today. Is there anything you wish to say in closing?

We definitely appreciate the support from all of the companies and the performers who have been supporting FSC – and vote “No” on Measure B! (Laughs)

Q: Absolutely. Again, thanks for taking so much time out of your crazy schedule for this interview. I’ll certainly be sending my support from down here in Ontario, Canada and hope that things go the industry’s way next month.

Thanks very much, Adam.

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