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Will Brooke Ashley Get Worker’s Comp?

Porn Valley- Whether former porn performer Brooke Ashley [aka Fantasia, China Lakke, Anne Marie, Tae] will be eligible for worker’s comp or not will be determined when Judge Lisa A. Sussman renders a decision on December 4.

According to an AVN story, the worker’s compensation case known as “Doe 43” involving Ashley will be completed by then. Sussman is a judge of the California Workers Compensation Appeals Board.

Writer/director Cash Markman was the final witness this week to answer questions posed by Ashley’s attorney Elliot Berkowitz.

In 1998 Ashley was one of several porn stars including Tricia Devereaux, Kimberly Jade and a European actress named Caroline, who were discovered to have been infected with HIV, allegedly by actor Marc Wallice. It’s thought that Wallice had been working with a forged HIV test from a clinic he had been using at the time.

It’s also commonly accepted that Ashley’s infection came on the set of The World’s Biggest Anal Gangbang in March of ’98, a shoot that was produced by Dan Beck.

According to the AVN story, Beck’s financier was Robert Dupree, and that Ashley’s attorney is trying to have Ashley declared as Dupree’s employee.

“If such is the finding of the court, Dupree would be required to pay workers compensation to Ashley,” the AVN story goes on to say. “Or if for some reason Dupree were unable to do so, Ashley’s compensation would be paid from the Uninsured Employees’ Benefit Trust Fund. Additionally, Dupree might be assessed fees for not having paid for workers compensation insurance for Ashley while she was his employee.”

Also at issue is the question of whether Ashley was an employee or an independent contractor selling her services to the production company.

Ashley has already given a deposition. And on Thursday Ran Munee, the cook on the shoot was called as a witness. Munee who was subsequently enlisted as the production manager of the shoot collected the HIV tests of the performers.

According to Munee’s testimony, some of the performers didn’t have the correct paperwork. And Munee claims he never saw Ashley’s test, that it was collected by Dan Beck.

Munee also voiced doubt about the authenticity of Wallice’s test. The AVN report quotes Munee as saying it looked like “a forgery all the way.” Munee said he was going to tell Wallice to go home and get the original test but Beck apparently intervened and accepted it.

According to what Munee also said, Wallice’s wasn’t the only test that appeared suspicious that at least one member off the street recruited for the gangbang had a 5 month old test but claimed he hadn’t had sex with anyone since the test was taken. Munee said Buck Adams was also in the shoot.

Markman’s testimony contradicted Munee’s to the extent that Markman said no one was hired off the street.

“Everybody who came in was professional talent,” Markman is quoted as saying. “They all had paperwork, although the paperwork may have looked a little shady with some of them and certainly with one of them [Wallice]… It was a photocopy; I remember that.”

According to Markman, Beck had 50 guys booked for the shoot and was paying them $150. At those rates Beck was having problems filling the roster and Markman concedes that beck may have scraped the bottom of the barrel to find ralent. Markman also says that Beck was pretty much the “point man” who booked the talent, arranged for the stage and other technical details.

Markman describes the shoot as “bizarre” and not the type of thing he had done before. It was Markman’s opinion that the shoot which went on for two days was very visually boring, basically repetitive but at the same time a grueling shoot for Ashley. Markman said it had become such an ordeal for Ashley and degrading, that she broke down in tears. And according to Markman, there were several performers Ashley didn’t want to work with because they looked dirty. Ashley wanted them wearing condoms.

Markman says Ashley was fine working with Wallice, however. Markman also references a “contract” several pages long which, according to the AVN story, could play an important role in the proceedings. The contract also called for Ashley’s participation in the subsequent promotion of the event.

On the condom issue and because Ashley had been insistent on them in some cases, Markman quotes Beck as saying, he had a contract and wanted primarily non-condom.

“I remember there was a clause in there about condoms,” states Markman. “I just can’t remember if it was none at all or it was a small percentage was allowed.”

Judge Sussman’s final decision could force producers to treat talent as employees who needed to be accorded certain employee benefits, rather than independent contractors.


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