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Update: Mean Gene Responds to Jay Moyes

The son of The Grand Vizier, Lawrence of A Labia, writes: You might want to mention in your litany of AVN payoffs that Heidi Pike Johnson supposedly received parting gifts and an AVN play at home game when she cut ties with Fishbein.

Gene writes: Salutations to you, Mr. Moyes. And before I go any further, allow me to say it’s been a pleasure and privilege to have been your colleague at AVN. You’ve always struck me as a talented, intelligent and sincere individual.

So I would only have to suspect that the high winds in the Valley Saturday afternoon must have blown the leather hat off your skull. Now allow me to retrieve it for you and set things on your head, right.

You state something about having archived stories from 1992. Well, I lived those stories and don’t recall industry peril other than Mark Kernes sleeping at his desk or threats of wearing his Shriner’s fez to work ever lingering. Now I do recall AVN editorial meetings in which Fishbein would cry poverty, tell the editorial staff they’d have to work harder to make up for lagging ad sales [the magazine, conversely, only getting mysteriously thicker] then going out and buying some expensive personal luxury item afterwards.

If that’s the peril you’re referring to, Flash Gordon faced more serious ones in the Saturday afternoon serials.

You write from personal experience about surviving layoffs at AVN- which, I might hasten to point out, weren’t due to a downturn in industry economy so much as Fishbein paying off hush money in some legal to-do. There were sex harassment cases long before [one perpetrator in editorial had to go to counseling], but I wonder how many bodies it took to make up the math for the hefty settlement Jennifer Rosenblatt got?

And how much do you think Fishbein had to fork over to Tim Connelly? And did you know Mike Ramone got $25,000 to walk in the Emily Evermoor deal?

Who got laid off then? If these were the known instances, I’m sure there were other situations where re-allocated internal money left some poor shnook shouldering the brunt. That’s recession, AVN-style.

When I took over the reins of the magazine in 1987 from John Paone, the adult industry was making overnight millionaires out of bagel salesmen [Charlie Brickman] and McDonald’s day shift managers [Russ Hampshire]. Yet AVN was ready to hold burial services. Why do you think that was? Fishbein’s unerring ability to make hasty decisions then travel by the seat of his pants based on them, I’d guess.

Fishbein, in what was to become a recurring event, wanted to take AVN newsstand. He lost his ass. This being the legacy handed to me from the Paone administration, I spent the next four years in Philly being a one-man staff getting AVN back to square one.

Hence was the decision, after the all clear signal, to move to California and suck the industry first hand. What happened then, before and after, you can read in my book. Needless to say, I, holding an unpaid promissory note, could have been a very rich man myself had I, like Rosenblatt, found an attorney in a skarkskin suit.

Jay, while I wholeheartedly concur with you on your points about current problems being due to people flooding into the sex industry looking for money, they flooded because AVN painted an entirely unrealistic picture of grandeur, hope and dreams of a pasha’s opulence.

Granted, it’s happened before in history. Like the California and Black Hills gold rushes. But how many chatted-up investors [where do you think a lot of this sudden porn money comes from?] have lost their ass because the industry couldn’t support a population already bursting at its seams?

The other week I had an interesting chat with a video company owner. He’s been around almost as long as I have and has driven his share of Porsches and made his share of obscene alimony payments. He’s never seen it this bad, he tells me. To quote him:

“This is the first time I’m truly worried. The winter months were always strong and would make up for a weak summer. This year we didn’t have a strong winter. I don’t know where the money’s coming from to get me through the summer.”

Well, he might have to sell his Porsche or do what you suggest, be outstanding in his field. Only you remember what happened to people who were outstanding in their field? They got drafted into the Union Army. [A little Civil War joke Lincoln used to tell to lighten the tension.]

And what do you expect? Of course, Fishbein will make comments that the industry is recession-proof which is like Bush selling a war with a 28% approval rating because he’s the deciderer. If you were leeching big money out of an industry, wouldn’t it be in your best interests to broadcast sunshine, lollipops and rainbows for it?

Here’s one cold, hard fact. Loads of customers in this business are less than enthusiastic with their invoices and look for the slightest provocation not to honor them. Give them a feeling that your star shortstop’s on a respirator, and they’ll cancel next week’s softball game.

Granted, KSEX is a terrible example to cite in any discussion of economics, but just a couple of weeks ago, Leisuretime closed its doors. If one of the biggest revenue generating companies in the adult business took it in the shorts, can there be hope for underwear?

I know I’ve downsized. That’s why, now, nothing comes between me and my sweatpants. NOTHING.


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