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AVN Show Too Open to the Public

Las Vegas []- The AVN Award Show Playbill had emblazened across it – “Open to The Public.” There really is no way to describe the lack of separation between the fans and the performers at this years AVN Award Show. If you are a fan, that’s a great selling point to get you to purchase a ticket next year. However, legally speaking and from a performer’s standpoint it was too fan friendly and it could have been dangerous for the performers.

Usually, the Awards have been an industry select event with some fan participation. There were always fans that knew someone that knew someone that could get them a ticket. This year, with the move to the Mandalay Bay Events Center, AVN had the opportunity to sell tickets to the throngs of fans that usually lined the hallways of the Venetian to get a glimpse of their favorite stars at previous award shows.

From even before the walk through the hotel and the red carpet arrival, the interaction between fans and stars was too close for comfort. My date and I took a towncar to the the Awards Show, AVN did provide transportation from the Venetian to the Mandalay Bay. Unfortunately the transportation was not segregated. Fans piled onto the same shuttle buses as the stars and sat next to them.

Previously, all attendees at the Venetian hosted event were seated at various tables on the floor. With the move to the Mandalay Bay venue the floor tables were limited and seats in the upper tier were available. For some unknown reason, AVN decided to sit pornstars in the same general area of fans. Even major production companies were limited to the number of tables they could reserve and from what I was told there were contract stars in the upper tier seating area.

My date was actually worried to take her seat not knowing who could be seated next to her. My date was not the only notable star in the upper tier, most of the performers I talked to were given the same seats, even those nominated for awards. The exception was for those performers that were invited to sit at a production company table as well as a limited number in the front audience seating next to the stage. Playboy provided the red carpet coverage for show and even their people were given seats in the same general upper tier area.

While this this should not be construed as a complaint about the seats, rather it’s a complaint about the issue of safety. The AVN Awards has been compared to the Academy Awards, however, they separate the “stars” from any fan that might be lucky enough to attend. Alcohol was freely available to all in attendance and drunk fans mingling with pornstars as hardcore porn is being shown on video screens usually doesn’t lead to good results. From my experience of having performers sign at my booth at various expos, some fans are already too “grabby” for most female performers and I always provide security in case something gets out of hand.

With the Awards, there was no separation between the fans and the performers. Why an area specially designated for performers to sit in and be segregated from the fans was not pre-planned is some what of a mystery. This could have made the event much more comfortable for the performers I talked to. Only the floor seats were segregated.

Even Mandalay Bay must be questioned as to their preparation for the event. There were no barriers along the route through the hotel to the Awards Show and very little security along the way. It was almost impossible to safely walk through the hotel. At least at the Venetian, the walk to the event was well guarded and blocked off. At the Mandalay Bay, during the walk we were stopped on several occasions by fans reaching out and grabbing my date’s arm for picture opportunities.

I know you are thinking – what an ass you are Michael, fans deserve the right to interact with their favorite stars. Granted I agree but it needs to be done in a way that the performers feel safe or simply they will not attend next year. While I have not heard of any incidents of any fan becoming too friendly at this year’s show I can tell you that numerous performers I talked to did seem disappointed in how they were treated at the show. As for the show, AVN needs to be cognisant of the fact that safety is an issue.

I am sure that AVN cares deeply about the performers that make the movies they bestow awards upon. I can only hope that these issues are well addressed and resolved prior to next year’s Award Show or I anticipate that many of your favorite stars will not be in attendance and “Open to the Public” won’t mean much.


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