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A Good Story is Worth Repeating: Porn’s Public Relations Disasters: Papa Smurf’s Celebrity Sex Tape Empire

In the days when porn made the kind of filthy lucre that sent chills up and down the spine, Vivid’s Steve Hirsch, aka Papa Smurf, was The King Midas of all he surveyed.

Everything he touched turned to dazzling currency. Hirsch had the best movies and the prettiest girls under contract. And because of his highly successful studio system, Hirsch used to be compared to the Hollywood moguls of old. But dinosaurs die as well as buffalo, moguls and old porn ideas.

The marketing and promotion of porn has radically changed, and a company today is considered lucky if it’s got enough money to scrape for a lease on a Canoga Park crack house subbasement. Perhaps we exaggerate, though few will argue that porn is now seeing its best days in the rear view mirror.

Proof of that is the mad, almost demeaning scramble for the celebrity sex tape market. Red Light District and Papa Smurf ruled the roost there for awhile, and the Pamela Anderson tape was Papa’s crown chicken thanks to a cast of colorful characters and a suspicious barnyard genealogy that included Seth Warshavsky, Milt Ingley and Rand Gautier.

With another apparent hit on his hands in the person of the Kim Kardashian sex tape, Papa Smurf went on Adam Carolla’s LA radio show four years ago to hype it. Napoleon had a pretty good winning streak until Moscow and Waterloo, and the worm might also have turned for Papa Smurf that morning. Without fear of contradiction you could call this interview 30 minutes of unbridled court room grilling with Papa being served on a skewer.

Carolla wanted to focus on the sleazy back alley deals that made up the porn celebrity tape business and was annoyed because Smurf wanted to play Mary Poppins. Carolla’s suspicion that the talk about lawsuits and mortified celebrities was just that, a pantomime, and a twisted publicity stunt, while Smurf kept steering the conversation to areas more compatible with his sallow PR pitch.

Danny Bonaduce who was co-hosting the show at the time, told Papa he believed tapes like the Kardashian tape are “given to you and people like you by the celebrities who then act outraged that they were stolen somehow- you pay them a million dollars whatever it is under the table and you both sign contracts and you promise to never tell that this was a legitimate business arrangement.”

Carolla wondered aloud if Pam Anderson gave up her tape that way. According to Bonaduce, that was the genius of it, that Anderson’s career was in the tank.

“She was going away,” Bonaduce said. “So was Tommy Lee.”

While Papa seemed to enjoy the conjecture, his pleasant demeanor would evaporate as the discussion got testier with Corolla making it obvious how Papa was getting more and more defensive.

“Steven, you’re a delight- has anyone every told you that?” Carolla snapped sarcastically at one point.

Bonaduce suggested that this being a litigious society, it would be an easy matter for Kardashian or whoever to lock these tapes up in court.

“You can freeze the guys assets by saying something to the court- you don’t have to prove anything. And then you just sit there until the court says you didn’t do anything. My thought is that most of these big celebrities can put a stop to these tapes being delivered if they truly wanted to.”

Papa responded by saying that appeared to be what Kardashian was going to do. But as everyone knows, that’s not what she did nor was she ever.

Bonaduce, like millions, probably, wondered aloud if Kardashian was that big of a draw to warrant all the attention and money.

“I’m just curious how the protocol works and how the legal system works,” Carolla added.

“Something like this I think would be almost impossible to do legally. Yet it can be done. How is it done legally? Just in general legal terms?”

“Sometimes there may be a third party involved,” replied Hirsch vaguely.

“That’s all I’m going to say.”

Hirsch opened up the can of worms by mentioning the fact that the Pam and Tommy Lee tape was brought to him by a third party.

“They had all of the legal documents- we felt comfortable with it. We distributed it.”

With Hirsch’s mention of “documentation” concerning the Anderson tape, Carolla wondered if there was a settlement or lawsuit.

“These things seem to go away is what I’m saying. Did this one go away or is it still pending?”

“We were never sued on Pam and Tommy,” said Hirsch. “I believe that the person who originally acquired the tape at some point was sued.”

“According to them it was a construction worker [Rand Gautier]; cause that’s how the legal system really works,” added Bonaduce.

“You go after the construction worker, not the big video store.”

“I feel as if I was chained to Steven Hirsch with a bottle of scotch to a lamp post. I would never get a goddamn answer out of him, stated Carolla wearily assessing the discussion.

After Hirsch got off the phone, Bonaduce said there are “scummy people in the world.”

“There’s no two ways about it and he [Hirsch] is in fact one of them. If he had a tape of Anna Nicole Smith it would be out today.”

But what got Papa really riled up was the fact that on national TV, ABC’s Nightline, celebrity tape broker Kevin Blatt let the 2257 cat out of the bag and showed the nation how the lady in the box was actually sawed in half. While Papa didn’t appreciate the candor about signed model releases he would continue with the same spiel about lawyers, guns and money every time a new tape surfaced.

Then, like any veteran ballplayer with arthritic wrists and slower reflexes, Papa began letting the high hard ones and hanging curve balls get by him. Frankly, anyone saddled with a $40,000 a month alimony payment might take his eye off the ball. His Octomom obsessions were openly questioned. His Pippa Middleton sex tape offer was lustily booed from the bleachers. In the Tila Tequila pearl dive, Papa came out of the lagoon smelling like a tainted oyster.

And Papa totally misfired on, and miscalculated an offer to have the nation’s Number One mom, Casey Anthony, perform in a movie and had to withdraw it. [There were even some twittered death threats coming from female talent, we’re told.]

It’s too early in the game, but Papa has yet to make an offer to Catherine Kieu Becker the woman who sliced her husband’s penis off and fed it to a garbage disposal.

However the Hollywood celebrity party girl Jasmine Waltz along with PR rep Gina Rodriguez sought him out looking to broker Waltz’s tape. The story is that Waltz wanted $60,000 plus a cut of the profits and was signed to a deal. But when Waltz read the fine print she allegedly got into a huge fight with Rodriguez and fired her.

There was also a rumor that Waltz had some pretty heavyweight guys talk to Smurf which supposedly put an abrupt end to the contract.

The tape can now be found at a site operated by the same company that offers Paris Hilton’s sex tape.


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