Thursday, December 23, 2010

HIV Porn Scare 2010 (Back to the Series): AHF Goes Full Court Press On The Press; LA Daily News Rebukes Them, And A Potential Ministress Lubben Expose

Some interesting developments today in the ongoing saga:

First: Mike Weinstein and the AIDS Health Foundation decided to up the ante a bit today by putting out an all out ad blitz, buying ad space in newspapers such as the LA Weekly, the LA Times, and others calling for the LA County Officials to permanently shut down any and all porn studios not mandating condoms on set. A copy of the AHF press release, produced by the BusinessWire.com website, follows:



AHF to Dr. Fielding: Shut Down Non-Condom Porn Sets NOW

LA Weekly Ad and Online Campaign Launches Today; Supporters Asked to Contact Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Director of LA’s Dept. of Public Health, Urge Him to “Enforce Condom Use in Porn NOW!”
 
“What Else Are You Waiting For to Protect the Public’s Health?” Asks AHF 

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today launched an advertising and online e-advocacy campaign aimed at urging Dr. Jonathan Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, to shut down Los Angeles-area adult film shoots that do not use condoms. An ad, appearing in today’s LA Weekly, lists the organizations that have come out in support of mandatory condom use in porn, including: Los Angeles Times, American Medical Association, American Public Health Association and the California STD Controllers Association.

The ad then poses the question to Dr. Fielding: “What else are you waiting for to protect the public’s health?” and directs viewers to call Dr. Fielding at his office (213) 240-8117 or to go to www.aidshealth.org to send an e-letter. In conjunction with the ad, AHF has also launched an online advocacy campaign asking the Foundation’s tens of thousands of e-community members to contact Dr. Fielding.

“AHF calls on Dr. Fielding to join the growing chorus of thought leaders and health organizations who support mandatory condom use in adult films, and shut down all non-condom porn shoots in the County,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Unfortunately, despite clear regulatory requirements and actions taken by public officials, the adult film industry remains convinced it is above the law and continues to place its own interests above the health of performers. Dr. Fielding and County Public Health have done little to address the fact that the health and safety of adult film workers are being placed in jeopardy on film sets throughout Los Angeles County every day. At this point, inaction on the part of the County can only be seen as disregard for the lives of the thousands of young people who work in the industry as well as the health of the public at large.”

Earlier this month, a motion introduced by L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl directed the City Attorney to report back in 45 days “to explain the mechanisms necessary to enable the City’s film permit process to require workplace safety in the production of all adult films.” The motion concludes: “The producers of adult films are required by California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5903 et seq. to employ barrier protection, including without limitation condoms, to shield performers from contact with potentially infectious material during the production of adult films. I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney to report back within 45 days to explain the mechanisms necessary to enable the City’s film permit process to require workplace safety in the production of all adult films.”

That action came on the heels of explosive news that L.A. health officials closed the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM)—a Sherman Oaks clinic funded by and serving the adult film industry—after California state officials denied AIM a community clinic license. The facility had been operating without a proper license for over a decade. AHF had called for County health officials to shut down the clinic after Derrick Burts, a 24 year-old adult film performer who tested HIV-positive on October 9th, spoke out regarding the poor treatment he received at AIM. Burts, who became known as the industry’s ‘Patient Zeta’ after the news first broke, spoke about the harsh treatment, neglect and indifference he experienced from AIM officials after his diagnosis, and he also championed the use of condoms in all adult film productions to prevent STD and HIV transmission among performers.

STDs in the Industry in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health is aware of an ongoing and pervasive sexually transmitted disease crisis in LA’s pornography industry, a fact that is well documented. DPH has cited numerous figures confirming an STD epidemic among performers in adult films, including the fact that performers in hardcore pornography are ten times more likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease than members of the population at large.

According to figures cited by DPH, there were 2,013 documented cases of Chlamydia among LA porn performers between 2003 and 2007. In the same period, 965 cases of gonorrhea were documented. Many performers suffer multiple infections. In the period April 2004 to March 2008 there have been 2,847 STD infections diagnosed among 1,884 performers in the hardcore industry in LA County. DPH attributes the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the porn industry to a lack of protective equipment for partners, including condoms. The agency recommends condoms be used during production, but has never taken steps to ensure their use, or to protect the performers who are essentially required to endanger their health in order to remain employed.

“This is not just about one industry, but about our entire community, as the spread of disease among adult film performers endangers themselves as well as their sexual partners in and outside the industry,” added AHF’s Weinstein. “Los Angeles County Public Health officials cannot keep passing the buck on this by playing ping pong on this with the state and the industry itself. That is why we are calling on Dr. Fielding to take action now to protect adult film industry workers and the public at large by shutting down all non-condom porn sets immediately.” 
 Of course, the AHF press release blissfully ignores the fact that it was the California Department of Pulbic Health, not LACHS, who denied AIM the license, and that it was only temporary due to a syntatical error involving the official name of the organization.

And, it just as blissfully ignores the basic fact that Derrick Burts, the aformentioned "Patient Zeta" of last October's HIV scare, was found to be the only performer who tested positive for HIV, and had even admitted that he contracted the virus through acts outside of the industry.

Then again, since when did facts get in the way of a polically and financially motivated witchhunt?

Fortunately, there are people beginning to expose the sham for the power grab it is.

Strangely enough, the LA Daily News today posted an editorial on the issue which not only defended AIM's right of existence, but also came down pretty hard on the attempts of LACHS and AHF to browbeat industry performers in order to shove condoms (and dental dams, and other more primitive means of "protection") dowm their throats. The editorial, reposted to XBiz.com, follows:

Straight society has a hard time dealing with the porn industry. On the one hand, it doesn't want to legitimize the business or the adult film actors in any way. On the other hand, it wants the industry and workers to conform to strict — and restrictive — rules and standards.

And, if there were another hand, on it would be the millions of customers who keep adult movies in high demand and the source of one of the San Fernando Valley's most profitable enterprises.

This societal schizophrenia is exhibited in the hopefully temporary closure earlier this month of one of the industry's most important health centers — AIM, or the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. The Sherman Oaks-based clinic is the main screener of sexually transmitted diseases for adult film workers. It also acts as an advocate for an industry that others consider untouchable.

Citing what sounds like extremely minor paperwork violations, state public health officials ordered AIM to close on Dec. 9, the day after an adult film star announced publicly that he was treated poorly at the clinic after he tested positive for HIV in October and didn't get treatment as fast as he could.

In fact, it appears just ammunition in the long-standing feud between Los Angeles County Public Health officials and AIDS activists and AIM and its co-founder Sharon Mitchell over the issue of condoms in adult films. State law requires that adult film stars use condoms, but many performers eschew them. While AIM supplies free condoms, it focuses on testing performers as opposed to enforcing condom rules.

Mitchell, a former porn star herself, sees the closure as a conspiracy. But there's been nothing secret about how she and AIM have been targeted. After AIM was shut down, for example, Michael Weinstein, the executive director for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a provider of medical treatment for AIDS and HIV patients, made it clear his goal is getting the adult film industry shut down if it doesn't use condoms.

While his concern about the spread of AIDS and HIV is admirable, he's misguided if he thinks persecuting AIM or adult film actors will make the public safer. It's likely to have the opposite effect.

AIM provides important support for adult film stars. AIM tests about 1,500 clients a month. And some have said that if AIM didn't do these screenings, they probably wouldn't happen. In fact, losing centers like AIM will likely force adult film production underground or to other states, endangering workers and public health even further.

If the county and other health officials truly care about public health, and not just punishing an organization that won't do what they want it to, they will find a way to work with AIM and the people engaged in this risky business, and not against them.
And on another front....former porn performer Julie Meadows (aka in real life Lydia Lee) has been one of the leading advocates for performer choice and against the heavy handedness and hypocrisy of the condom mandate movement. Today, Julie and fellow activist Michael Whiteacre teamed up to promote an upcoming expose featuring the firebreathing fundamentalist rhetoric of one of their principal spokespeople: former performer turned fundamentalist Christian activist Shelley Lubben. A clip from that expose is now available at Whiteacres's YouTube page and also at Julie's blog...but I will post a copy of that clip here as well.

And...you might recognize that crafty man testifying about the hypocrisy of the mostly pro-gay rights AHF teaming up with the rabidly anti-gay Lubben...but I'm not giving any hints.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Refreshing Breather From The Negativity: How You Can Pay Nina Hartley Forward For All She's Done For Sex, Porn, And Humanity

Usually, I'd be in bed right about this time...but I just read something that made me jump out of my sleep, and I have to share it with you.

Happily, it's not another Porn Srare update...this is much more positive.  But, it will require a little of your time...and, if you can spare, a dime or two. Don't worry...the cause is worthy. The person involved is so much worthier.

If there is one performer who exemplifies all what's good and positive and right in the adult sexual media, it has to be Nina Hartley. The record speaks for itself: 27 years of service. 600 film credits. 4 AVN awards. Induction into EVERY (as in ALL) adult media Halls of Fame. A top-selling sex educational/informational video series (the Nina Hartley Sex Guides series). A top selling book based on said series (Nina Hartley's Guide to Goof Sex). Numerous essays, web columns, print articles, speeches, and other forms of media informing the public on the virtues and pleasures of safer sex and sexual empowerment of women and men. And the undisputed title of the most progressive and smartest woman to embrace the field of hardcore erotica. And I haven't even gotten to...THE ASS.

Well...Nina's never had to rely on anyone but herself, her family, and her husband Ernest Greene for her livelihood, but today she faces a situation that could potentially break even the strongest person. Note the word "potentially". No, she's not terminally ill with cancer.  HELL TO THE NO, she's not HIV+. (And no, Ministress Shelley, she's not suffering from STD's either...feel free to move along.)

What she is facing is this: If you have followed her, you know that she suffers from fibroid tumors in her uterus.  The tumors are benign, and will remain such, so cancer is not the issue. They are, though, quite unsightly, and with time and age are beginning to affect her in other ways. Originally, Nina had hoped that the passage of time and menopause would relieve the sitch, but to no avail. So, she has decided on a more permanent solution: surgery to remove the tumors.

The procedure, according to Nina, is tenatively set to be performed this coming January or Feburary of next year; and will involve a 2-4 week recovery period following the surgery. She does have insurance to cover the surgery and the hospitalization...but the recovery period is another thing altogether.  Like most performers, Nina has been hit hard by the twin blows of the recession and the lack of work recently in the porn biz (and now you also know why she is fighting mad against content thievery, too); and money is a bit short at the moment. Ernest is doing his best..but he faces the recession and his own health issues as well; and family help is not an option, either..

And here is where you come in.  If you ever wanted to, as the saying goes, "pay it forward" and show your gratitude and love for everything that Nina has given us, well now is the perfect time to do so.

The Free Speech Coalition, HUSTLER Magazine, and Cindi Lofus's LadieZ Night blog have set up a special donors page over at GiveForward.com where people can contribute money to Nina's recovery fund. She's said that she doesn't need much, but every dollar donated would do so much to help her get back to the strong, sexy Goddess that she is.

The fundraiser has just started, and the goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of January of next year. I plan on making a donation or two as my finances allow...and though I recognize that times are rough economically for everyone, helping Nina get through this is not only the right choice, it's a down payment for her life and legacy touching every one of us who have been educated by her.

Just think of what porn would be like without her. Then...pay it forward, and pay the Goddess!!! Trust me, it's worth it.
 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HIV Porn Scare 2010 -- The Series (Supplemental): DBurris Drops New Scud On AIM: A Second Crossover Infection?? And...Why All This Is Important

Well, well, well...it seems that Derrick Burris is learning the art of propaganda pretty fast.

Darrah Ford just released at her blog what she calls an "exclusive" where she reveals through her "sources" that Derrick Burts (aka Cameron Reid, aka "Patient Zeta") has now made the claim that there was in fact a second crossover performer whom had tested positive for HIV under the same testing system AIM had used on him. Burts claims that that was NOT the performer whom he shot his last scene with, but another performer entirely, that may have ultimately infected him.

The main source for Darrah's "exclusive" seems to be an article over at the gay gossip site RadarOnline.org, where DBurts brings forth some quite explosive charges that not only is he not the only one whom is HIV+ and still was able to work in porn, but he claims that "several other" active performers, including what he calls "some well known" ones, are being hidden in the quarantine list of HIV+ performers kept by AIM...at least allegedly.

The money graphs from the RadarOnline article:


Burts, 24, who until now has only been publicly identified as ‘Patient Zeta,” held a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning and told RadarOnline.com that he’s not the only porn star whose life has changed due to possible exposure to HIV and says there are other well-know performers on a quarantine list.

"I can’t give out names or anything or anybody that was on the quarantine list. I can say that there were well-known stars who were on the quarantine list. I don't know their status. “I was told...there was another person. What Jennifer Miller [AIM director] did tell me, she said that there was another person who tested positive; It was a male performer, I do know that. And she told me it was somebody who did crossover work....meaning gay and straight porn.  That's all she would tell me.  I said I think I have an idea of who it is, I threw a name out there and she said 'no, it's not him." I was reading stuff on the porn boards and that's all she left it at."
Now, this brings up some interesting questions. What quarantine list was Derrick talking about??  The one that was used for testing all the first- and second-generation performers that may have been affected by his acts?? Or, the overall quarantine list encompassing all those who were infected with HIV (which would include not only Marc Wallace, Lara Roxx, Joey Montana, Darrin James, and all others who unfortunately were infected?

How was he able to get access to the quarantine list to begin with?? Through their medical records?? Isn't such a list supposed to be strictly confidential and not to be released to anyone other than the people infected, the production companies using it to screen out potential carriers in order to protect their other talent, and the local health authorities who are required to keep such materials per local law?? (Remember, AIM is REQUIRED to release information about a positive test for HIV to the authorities immediately upon a positive test result...that's not an voluntary option. Certainly AIM can't be that stupid to leave those records accessible to someone like Derrick Burts, can they?? Or...is his new BFF;s at AHF through the LA County board that does keep such info feeding him information to aid their ambush and vendetta against AIM and their campaign to take over the industry??

Also, there is this: remember that both here and last year's scare, no one else (at least, no one active in the straight porn industry) was found to be infected with HIV as a result of the testing. So, could it be that merely being on the quarantine list is not necessarily a sign that a performer was openly shooting straight porn?? Either AIM's testing regime is lying through its teeth and there are rogues about infecting tens of hundreds of porn performers...or Derrick's making shit up again. Considering that he still hasn't made up his mind exactly how he got infected to begin with, until I see some more hard evidence I'm still leaning towards Scenario #2.

Nevertheless, Derrick has his supporters and fans...and Darrah Ford, who happens to share her namesake's hatred for the industry, just so happens to be one of them. A piece of snippage from her rant follows:


How dare the people who attended that press conference allow this to not be reported!! You were there and none of you told the people in your own industry that there’s probably another crossover who tested HIV positive. Continue telling everyone how they can trust this diabolical establishment. But the reality is that none of you care whether these performers live or die. To many of you, there will always be a younger, prettier, less expensive version waiting right behind them to take their place. You’re all vampires sucking the life out of these people who put their lives on the line. If anyone else has been unknowingly infected because you didn’t report there was a second crossover, their blood is on your hands.

Don’t claim that Cameron must be lying. He’s naming names which means they can go after him if it’s not true. Because they haven’t yet in my opinion only means everything he’s claimed to this point is absolutely 100% true.

Now, I respect Darrah for her passion, and defend to the death her right to speak her mind on anything and everything. And HELL TO THE NO, she does not deserve death threats or threats to out her, either.

But, ma'am, do pardon me if I don't quite march in perfect step with your love fest with Cameron.

First off, for all of the exposing that he claims to be doing, he still hasn't named any names of whom the other "well known performer(s)" happen to be. And the fact that people aren't "going after him" for not exposing them simply means that they probably don't buy his story to begin with.

And secondly, Darrah....you do know that gay porn is NOT under the same rules as straight porn, right?? In straight porn, condoms are either voluntary or utilized by the performer's choice. In gay porn, condoms are generally mandatory for the large studios; but bareback porn is far more popular with the "independent" studios who play to the consumers who simply can't stomach condoms getting in the way of their fantasy. In straight porn, testing and peer pressure not to infect those you fuck combined with selective and individual choice for condom usage, combined with selective choice of partners for sex scenes predominate because the main goal is to screen out infected people from scenes to begin with.

In gay porn, on the other hand, it's simply assumed that a performer will be HIV+ at some time, since the center of gay production is in the free fire zone of the HIV/AIDS pandemic; therefore condom usage combined with segregation of infected from non-infected performers doing bareback scenes is their norm.  A few gay studios, though, have began to institute testing as a means of protecting themselves, but the default position of most is to simply ban bareback porn entirely and impose condoms exclusively. (This is the position of Chi Chi LaRue, who is so passionate about this that she loudly resigned from VIvid when they did away with their brief "condom only' policy about a year ago.)

The problem, of course, becomes more acute when male performers attempt to cross over and play both sides of the street, due to economic troubles and simply bi-lust.  Some are straights who go the "gay for pay" route; others are true bisexuals who cross over for the "twink" value and to earn more money in these recessed times. Here is where the goal of protecting the assets and talent in straight porn clashes head on with the fear of not discriminating against and scapegoating gay men...unleashing both rampant homophobia and legitimate fear.


And then add to that mix another couple of factors: (1) the desire of professional bureaucrats and health care officios and certain ceritfied "sex positive" experts to use the porn industry as an easy scapegoat and guinea pig for all their beliefs about what "safe sex" should be and how it should be "modeled" to the public as a means of safety; and (2) the exploitation of government grants and other public finances to protect and develop political turfs and machines that feed on both the cash and the fear to gain political power and wealth.

Both Mike Weinstein (for the pro-gay "safe sex" liberal side) and Shelley Lubben (for the fundamentalist Christian "born again ex-slut" side) have not only become fabulously popular for their "activism" due to the prevailing wisdom that active sex workers and porn performers are just too plain stupid or abused or "diseased" or slutty or bound by The MAN (or, if successful and happy, merely mouthpieces of THE MAN); but have also the potential to score big paydays as well. Weinstein is poised to become the main Porn Czar in taking over the testing regim not only in LA but nationwide; and Lubben is just one FOX News interview with Sarah Palin away from scoring that multi-million dollar book deal. The jury is still out, though, on whether Derrick Burts will cash in as the next new Victim of Porn.

Much less popular, and being shunted aside and dismissed in all the horror and specatle, are the existing porn performers who manage to eke out a semulance of a life in the industry, yet whose stories don't fit the lurid fantasies of abject shame and horror and disease and death and loathing. If their industry is forced underground by those who still have it their heads that shoving condoms and dental dams down the throats and up the other orfices of performers without asking them how it feels, and regardless of whether or not the public who pays their checks by buying their works would be willing to accept wrapped dicks, though, then what will the response of people like Darrah Ford be then?? They may have Kink.com or a recondomized Vivid or Femme t....but those who like , say Brazzers or Bizzare or Naughty America won't be so lucky.  Or...maybe they'll just have to go through pirating and tube sites to get the bareback they crave, or move to sites with less of a hastle, and less protection for the performers. I guess that's a small price to pay to promote safe sex and save lives...right??

That, folks, is why we must fight this and keep performer choice (with maximum protection) in the performers' hands.  And also, even with all their faults, why we have to stand with Sharon Mitchell and AIM against this high tech lynch mob aimed at them.  Sorry, Darrah, but I'lr respect Mitch over Shelley Lubben any day of the week..even if Doc Sharon only plays a doctor.  It's far more preferable to Ministeress Lubben playing a human being.

HIV Porn Scare 2010 -- The Series (Ongoing): AHF Calls In Its LA City Council Chips; St. James Infirmary Hosts Sex Worker/Performer Forum; And DBurts Gets A Lie Detector Challenge

I wish that this wouldn't be a daily occurence, but the news is breaking fast and furious.

And today, the tornado hit the sewage plant....figuratively speaking...in LA, with perhaps the biggest threat to the porn industry's existence since the Freeman decision was handed down. From AVN.com:


L.A. City Council: Deny Film Permits to Non-Condom Shoots


In its latest bid to drive adult production companies out of business or out of the state, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has managed to get four Los Angeles City Councilmembers to support a motion to deny filming permits to adult companies unless the permits contain special conditions requiring condoms, dental dams, face shields and/or goggles for all sex acts.


"The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has documented widespread transmission of sexually transmitted diseases associated with the activities of the adult film industry within the City of Los Angeles," begins the motion proposed by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and seconded by members Ed Reyes, Paul Koretz and Eric Garcetti.

"The producers of all films within the City of Los Angeles, including adult films, are required to obtain permits issued by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and administered by FilmL.A., Inc. under certain contracts between FilmL.A., Inc. and the City of Los Angeles," the motion continues. "Such permits for film production within the City of Los Angeles may include conditions to protect public safety and health."

"The producers of adult films are required by California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5903 et seq. to employ barrier protection, including without limitation condoms, to shield performers from contact with potentially infectious material during the production of adult films."

"I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Council request the City Attorney to report back within 45 days to explain the mechanisms necessary to enable the City’s film permit process to require workplace safety in the production of all adult films."
 Quite obviously, the ringleader of this coup was totally satisfied with this development.


AHF president Michael Weinstein, whose organization pushed for the motion, lauded Rosendahl for the action.

"Tying condom use to adult-film production permits is absolutely the responsible thing to do, protecting adult film industry performers who—under the current system of testing—are routinely asked to risk their lives and health in order to continue working," Weinstein told the BusinessWire.com site. "Unfortunately, despite clear regulatory requirements and actions taken by public officials, the adult film industry remains convinced it is above the law."

Enlisting the City Council is the latest move in AHF's war on the adult industry. Wednesday, it sponsored a press conference where alleged HIV-positive adult performer Derrick Burts claimed to have been maltreated by AIM Healthcare—a charge which AIM has categorically denied—and yesterday it convinced LA Health Department director Dr. Jonathan Fielding to serve a cease-and-desist order on AIM even after the California Department of Health gave AIM 60 days (from November 30) to correct the name on its application for an operating permit as a community clinic.

At this point, it's difficult to assess what effect the Rosendahl motion will have on the adult industry. The motion itself merely calls for the City Attorney to report on how FilmL.A., Inc., the agency which contracts with the city to issue filming permits, can be made to require adult companies seeking permits to require that those companies use condoms, dental dams and face shields/goggles in their productions or, presumably, to be denied the permit. The City Attorney has 45 days to make its report, and it is unknown what recommendations the City Attorney will make.
The question of why Weinstein would also include dental dams and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as gloves and goggles to such a resolution probably wasn't asked of him...but I'm sure he'll take that as long as he gets his wish of jamming condoms up the industry.

And, of course, the councilmen involved in this action are solely concerned about the welfare of the performers.  It would have nothing to do with political contributions from Weinstein, right? RIght???

Yeah, right.  Quoting a followup article from Mark Kernes at AVN.com:


Permit Bill Sponsors Got Donations from AIDS Healthcare



LOS ANGELES—An investigation by AVN has found that the author of a City Council motion to require adult companies to use condoms, dental dams and face shields/goggles during sex scenes or be denied a City of Los Angeles filming permit has received campaign donations from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) president Michael Weinstein, as has one of the motion's co-sponsors.

District 11 Councilmember William "Bill" Rosendahl has received $1,000 in campaign contributions from Weinstein personally: $500 in 2004, when Rosendahl was first running for City Council, and two further contributions of $250 each in the spring of 2005 to Rosendahl's general campaign fund. In addition, Weinstein also contributed a total of $600 to District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz: $500 in January of 2009, two months before Koretz, who had "termed out" as a state assemblymember, stood for his first election to City Council in March of 2009, and $100 one month after Koretz's election.
Now...if the name Paul Koretz sounds faintly familiar to you, it might be because of the following blast from the recent past:

Koretz, it will be remembered, held a public meeting in 2004, shortly after one industry performer who had worked overseas proved to be HIV-positive and infected three other performers before being detected by AIM Healthcare Foundation's regular testing regime, and later wrote an "open letter" to adult producers calling for  condom use during adult productions and intimating that if condoms were not "voluntarily" mandated, that the state assembly would require their use.
That, of course, was the Darrin James/Lana Roxx scare of 2004. James has reemerged as a critic of AIM and a backer of the condom mandate, but somehow he's escaped becoming a henchman for Weinstein the way Derrick Burts and Shelley Lubben have become.

Now, nothing has happened as of yet, and the resolution would allow for a 45 day period for recommendations from the LA City Attorney's office to the full City Council to require FilmLA (the governing board for movie production in LA) to "enforce" the proposed laws. What's so funny is that none of the regulations proposed would be enforced against mainstream films, where the risk of bodily fluid and hazardous material contact is a bit greater than mere kissing or fucking or sucking. (And I wonder how the hell would they enforce these rules against softcore films, exactly??)

Nevertheless, merely the threat of such regulation was enough to place the industry on alert.   Now that the threat is now out in the open, maybe it may be time for performers to get off their butts and defend their rights before they are taken away from them??

Fortunately, some are beginning to fight back.  Or, at least talk about fighting back.

The St. James Infirmary in San Francisco has been one of the premier resources of sex-positive activism for quite a long time; providing testing and support services in the Bay Area for sex workers, pornographer, and other sexual activists. Today, they announced, in association with the sex worker activist blog Bound, Not Gagged, the formation of a special forum to be held at SJI on December 18th specifically for porn performers to discuss the "shut down" of AIM and the overall climate for mandating condoms and other regulations. Quoting Stacey Swimme, the forum creator and blogmistress at BnG:


Background: The California Occupational Health and Safety board have been reviewing studio practices based on complaints made to them, some from performers, some anonymous. The Aids Healthcare Foundation has been lobbying hard with limited input from people who actually work in the industry. In June of 2010 AIM applied for a community clinic license and on December 9th they received a cease and desist order after that application was denied.
We’re concerned that performers are being under- and mis-represented in these discussions and that it is critical for a diverse range of workers to come together to establish a unified voice to advocate for a rights-based approach to regulation.
Of course, our ultimate goal is for all performers to be as healthy and prosperous as possible! Please join us and share how you think these issues can best be approached. Please spread this message far and wide.
More information on how performers can get involved with the forum can be found over at BnG's blog via here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Derrick Burts/Cameron Reid saga gets weirder and weirder.

Now it seems that DBurts has gotten a bit of a challenge from porn producer Mark Spiegler, who used a post on the porn gossip blog LukeIsBack.com to call out Cameron as a phony out for the quick buck and whom is using the porn industry to cover up his own extracurricular activities. Basically, Spiegler all but dared DBurts to take a lie detector test to prove that he was infected on a "straight" porn set. Strangely enough, Derrick has been quoted to have agreed to this.

Lie detector tests are notorious for masking the truth as much as illuminating it, which is why they are not considered viable in jury trials...but it still makes for great theatre while we get to the bottom of this affair. I guess we all should stay tuned.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

HIV Porn Scare 2010 -- The Series Continues: Darrah Ford Joins The Prosecution of AIM; Justin Long Goes Off For The Defense, Tears Derrick Burts A New Orfice...And Is Condom-Free Porn Free Speech?

cSome interesting developments today in the ongoing saga of Porn Scare Smackdown! 2010.

Darrah Ford, who has essentially taken over the mantle of porn critic formerly held by Luke Ford, has been one of the most consistent and strident critics of AIM's testing in particular and the porn industry in general...and she has been mostly the main defender online of not only Shelley Lubben but also of the efforts of Michael Weinstein and AHF to mandate condoms in porn. Today, at her personal blog, she went off on what she caled "blind defenders" of AIM, basically ripping them for not caring about the welfare of their talent; and she defended Derrick Burts/Cameron Reed as the victim of their indifference. She also went on to defend the actions of the LA County Public Health officials in shutting AIM's clinic down, citing everything from the alleged rape of a porn starlet by Max Hardcore to the 1999 outbreak involving Tony Montana to last year's HIV scare where a performer contracted HIV through outside activity, but due to allowing her test period to laspe, ended up doing an oral scene after she was infected.  (Fortunately, no one else was infected there, either.) Some key snippage of Darrah's rant follows:

[...] 
Many of you still insist that everyone wants to get tested at AIM. The truth is that AIM has held a monopoly throughout the industry for years when it comes to testing. Studios, directors, and producers have told performers how they have to get tested at AIM or they won’t be allowed to work. Many have wanted to test elsewhere but were told they couldn’t.
The female performer who tested positive last year was tested on June 4, 2009. Her last negative test was on April 29. The results of the June 4 test were received on June 6. She performed a scene on June 5 before the test results were back. She was working with a 37-day-old test.

When AIM was first contacted about the rumors last year, they denied everything and said there were no HIV infections. The only reason we knew anything is because it was first revealed on one of the forums. AIM was forced to make a statement on June 10, 2009 because of the forum posting.

When I had looked at AIM’s website on June 11, 2009, there was still no mention about the new HIV infection. It had been a whole week and AIM still hadn’t updated their own website yet alerting the industry.
Of course, the fact that AIM was bound by confidentiality laws from revealing personal records, that they were obligated by the positive test to alert not only the producers but also run their required tests to determine if anyone else was infected on set probably had something to do with their supposed lack of publicizing the crisis.

Also...while the one-month period between testing is admittedly too long and should be shortened to better protect the performers; it wasn't AIM's fault that the former "Patient Zero" of last year decided to  delay getting tested, or that that particular studio that hired her to do the fateful scene was so willing to cut corners and ignore the lapsed time of her last test. Their job was not to comfort her, but to protect others from getting infected; and from the looks of the results, they did their job then...just as they did this time with Derrick Burts.

Darrah goes on to reset some other past vendettas she had with AIM, based on some previous crises:


Tony Montana was diagnosed with HIV back in 1999. AIM never notified him. Rocco Siffredi had called him to say how sorry he was after hearing the news. Tony had no idea what he was talking about. Because of Sharon Mitchell and AIM, Tony could have kept on working and infected his costars without ever knowing. 

Former porn star Neesa left the industry four years ago and says the worst moment in her life was being raped by Max Hardcore. She says after the rape, she tested positive for Chlamydia/Gonorrhea in the throat. She claims she went to Sharon Mitchell and Sharon called her a liar and was extremely rude to her. She alleges that AIM only cares about money and believed Max over her because he was a large client of theirs.
Of course, Darrah's well known for throwing up charges like these to justify her beliefs. Now, if she would actually offer evidence to justify those claims other than merely hearsay or rumor...

And here's her justification for defending LA County Health's actions:



County public health officials did not become aware that AIM was operating without a license until this April. In May, they sent AIM officials a letter advising them that as a nonprofit, they could not operate under an affiliated physician’s license and needed to apply instead for a clinic license. AIM officials were notified on Tuesday that their license application had been denied. They had applied on June 7 but state officials said the application was incomplete.
Name me any other clinic that would still be allowed to stay open after these circumstances? AIM had to be shut down for your own safety.

Why support a clinic with this track record? Stop complaining about AIM being shut down. They were operating without a license for all these months. The county became aware of this in April. How long before April were they running without a license before county officials found out? AIM can no longer provide new services but we’re now hearing all the rumors that secret draw stations have been set up to test performers. Any clinic who is still running without a license is hiding something. They had to be shut down.

Now this is really funny that Darrah attempts to blame AIM for all this, especially given the known collusion between LA County, Cal-OSHA, and AHF in directly targeting AIM for sanction or even shutdown, the fact that while AIM had been an active clinic for nearly 15 years, the state Department of Health only this July conveniently discovered this requirement for a license; and that said department did NOT openly deny AIM the license, but just had them resubmit it based on a technicality regarding their title, with an 80-day period of correcting the record.  And as for the "secret draw stations":??  They aren't so secret, Darrah; you can locate them over at AIM's website.


Going back, though, to Derrick Burts, though...Darrah has promised to all that she's going to interview "Cameron" and allow him to give the full story...as soon as she gets approval from her sources.

Unfortunately for DBurts, though, it seems that his story isn't gaining any clout from anyone outside of the LA Times or AHF or Darrah Ford. And now, more actual porn performers are starting to call him out on what they perceive to be his BS story.

And here is where I get to say "Welcome back, Justin Long."

You may remember Justin Long from the shitstorm he raised when he publically announced last summer that he would no longer do interracial scenes because he felt that White female performers were lowballing  his rates and using him only as a stepping stone for higher fees rather than interracial lust.

Well, Mr. Long -- who is a 12 year veteran of the profession -- decided that he didn't quite le the way that DBurts was attempting to use his story to slam the industry...and in a comment to the most recent article on the debacle over at the LA Weekly blog, Justin took aim and fired some verbal Scuds Cameron's way. The whole comment -- in Long's usual freestyle form -- simply can't be synopticized effectively, so I will simply repost it here in its entirity, without annotation.

Justin Long says:


Derrick Burts,

Is simply seeking media to try to drive a cash machine. I feel for him for contracting HIV as I would for anyone, no matter by what means they got it, even if those means were of there own accord.

He would have had me shut up, if he had been yelling the industry was shit, condoms only and crap needed to be changed publicly as late as even the week before he was given a positive test.

However he wasn't !!!

He was sitting there shooting with + HIV gay performers, takin the reported 2k rates for gay scenes and then putting his girl and straight performers at risk with HIS RISKY BEHAVIOR. This is exactly WHY straight performers have issue with crossover performers !!! Plain and freakin simple !!!

I won't even go into the fact that he was a male prostitute and money buys bareback just as it does anything else. Bottom line is he was a twink and got caught up in the game he was playing.

So from his own admission after not being happy with AIM went to AHF and was seen by docotrs and DID NOT inform them he was patient zeta !! He was being treated & that was that. Only a week later & Voluntarily he called who ? the CEO of AFH and then wanted to stand in front of the news cameras !!! he didn't call the LA Times which would had took the interview no worries, instead he went for AHF because of the controversy ...

His motivation isn't condoms.. it's money !!!

Can you say BITCH MOVE !!! F U you homie !!! you been in this game 3 months, and you gonna try to effect change, and further put people at risk by being influential in trying to get shut down the only testing center where talent can verify other talents test as genuine ??? YOU HAVE HIV BECAUSE YOU SOLD YOUR SOUL HOMIE !!! YOU CHOSE TO WORK WITH PEOPLE YOU KNEW TO BE HIV POSITIVE !!! IT"S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT DUMBASSS !!!

No body has even talked about the fact that AHF regularly helps patients with financial compensation from what i am being told from a reliable source in my eyes ie; rent money, continuing education, bills, medical treatment and meds and food.

From what I understand they actually have food stores in there building.. So pay my rent, bills, give me food, and free medical and med (to the tune of thousands)and send me to school...

Shit where does my black ass sign up.. I might even give you some booty

if this is true then I can see why he allowed himself to be used as a pawn and paraded like a bitch in front of the media by AHF.. can we say pay off ..

According to him in his gay scenes he ONLY used condoms !!! So then where did he get the HIV?? It wasn't and he has never claimed it came from a straight set !!! He is monogamous with his girl !! & he dont trick right ???? Sorry there has NEVER been a Reported case of HIV transmission Through Female to Male or Male to Male oral sex !!!

So then why the need for condom???? Maybe he should had wore a condom with his boyfriend and/or john ?? My opinion but that's where it came from, or freak transmission through condom on his +HIV gay set. Sorry but it's probably the truth.

Christianxxx & I have had the discussion before, even with Viagra Cialas or levitra you still have to be turned on to get wood. So if you are not turned on by guys then all the supplements or meds in the world minus cabber jacking (shooting your penis up with a solution dont ask i couldn't tell ya damn needles)So if you aren't attracted to guys then you aint getting wood.

So much for the gay for pay theroy LMAO for real.. You have to be at minimum BI to get wood for a dudes ass .. sorry but that is a call from a straight guy with agreement from a very BI guy (not me)

So if you are attracted to guys then you probably as a porn star are having sex with guys on & off set..

Just cause he says he was faithful to his girl don't mean it to be the truth. I mean he hasn't been honest from the jump minus the fact that he is a BI male working in both industry and participating in risky behavior like sleeping with people that are HIV+ !! This is a no brainer !!

He has HIV = very sad and regrettable

He got it + from HIS OWN risky behavior
 
He's after = Anyone to pay he feels responsible (not taking responsibility for his own actions)

Wants = Money

This is my opinion and opinion are like Aholes, everyone has got one.

However mine is one of a 12+ year veteran in porn (straight) and a Hall of Fame inductee (July 2011)..

Me,

Justin Long
Adult Film Star

Posted On: Saturday, Dec. 11 2010 @ 12:11PM
Hold up....you mean that AHF -- an organization with millions and MILLIONS of dollars in gevernment aid as an NGO, would actually bribe an ex-porn performer who contracted HIV through escorting, and who openly boasted of being HIV+ and even threatened to deliberately infect another performer who dissed him, to deliberately infect innocent straight performers merely to entrap their sworn nemesis and have them shut down?? Merely so that they could collude with some government officios to take over the testing regime and shove condoms down the throats and up the other orfices of performers...or even force them out of California so that only the "progressive", "hot" safer sex studios would remain, and everyone else driven underground into a far less protected and far more dantgerous venue simply to survive?? And..so that condom makers like Lifestyles and Durex and Trojan would get a big fat payday off the backs of performers?? And Shelley Lubben would get a fresh supply of recruits for her ex-slut ministry?? And certain health "professionals" and bureaucrats would get their guniea pigs to "role model" their sex education" efforts??

Oh...and why do I detect that the next Cal-OSHA meetings will have Mike Weinstein adding DBurts to the lists of teary-eyed speakers (after all, relying on a fundie gay-basher like Ministress Shelley won;t quite make it with the hip liberal crowd...antiporn radical feminists excluded) bawling about how Teh EVIL AIM Porn Machine destroyed their lives by exposing them to all these incurable diseases??

After all...if "ROXY!!!!!" isn't enough to sell their bullcrap, then I guess that The Magician Turned Twink Escort Turned Bi Porn Pioneer Turned Victim Tale just might be the tipping point that seals the deal.


Finally, I discovered this pair of tweets from porn starlet Angela Aspen (@angelaaspenxxx) that sets up what could be an interesting argument should there by any lawsuits to impose condom usage:


RT:Am I the only performer that believes n rapid hiv testing on set and that condom free is FREEDOM OF SPEECH????

Consumers/Actors: do you really want to see porn go to condom- only??? Cause… thats… where is… is going 2011.Step Up:Freedom of Speech
Now, there are legitimate issues with having on-site testing on demand, but if someone like Angela Aspen -- who might not have the intellectual depth of a Nina Hartley or a Vicky Vette -- can get that their rights are being violated and it might be a good time for the industry to come together in their defense, then there still may be some hope for this industry after all. Given the circumstances and the privailing political winds, they will need plenty of it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

HIV Porn Scare 2010: The Coup d'Twit Edition -- AIM Gets Its License Pulled {Temporarily]; The Lubben/Weinstein Alliance Reacts Like They Found Dubya's WMD; And Derrick Burts' Escort Skeletons Are Exposed [Updated]

[Updated...scroll to bottom.]

The cancer that is the 2010 HIV Porn Scare is now metasizing like crazy...and on so many fronts.

First off....it seems that the LA County Health officials have learned the art of surprise assault timed perfectly. By morning, that Derrick Burts' story about how AIM allegedly dissed him for his own personal failure to protect himself from contracting HIV was going seriously viral, with articles screaming from coast to coast.

Both the LA Times and LA Weekly and the New York Daily News had seperate articles in which the former Cameron Reid (straight porn version)/Derrick Chambers (gay male version) was able to tell his "story" about how a nice Christian magician got caught up in the sleazy world of porn...and how it just so happened that Michael Weinstein's group (AIDS Health Foundation) was there to save his life...and how this proves that only mandatory condoms can save performers' lives.

The NY Daily News version was particularly loaded with plenty of the usual pathos you find in propaganda pieces against porn. Some snippage:

Burts said his girlfriend helped him find some of the side gigs, which earned him the "couple hundred dollars" he used to supplement his income in hospitality.

But he soon found himself singing on with OC Modeling Agency.

"They said I had the right look for porn and that I'd go very far doing it," Burts said.

The agency gave him the aliases Cameron Reid (for straight porn) and Derek Chambers (for gay films) and tested him for STDs.

Though Burts was clean before he started, one month later he found out he had contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.

"It made me realize maybe porn wasn't the best option for me," he said.

But Burts revealed his agent, Phil Mack, encouraged him to keep at it.

"You might as well do it if you already have it because you can't do anything else," he reportedly said.


The porn star thus moved on to gay film shoots this September, but only participated in five, some of which involved him acting alone.

One month later, on Oct. 9, he found out he was HIV positive after a routine check-up at the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

According to Burts, Jennifer Miller, head of the AIM clinic, said she knew he had done a scene with a "known positive" but would not tell him if they were gay or straight due to patient confidentiality.
He added that he expressed his desire for follow-up treatment to Miller who told him she would get in touch with a specialist. Burts said that she also told him to change his phone number, delete his Twitter  and Facebook accounts and to get out of town -- and not talk to AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) as they were "trying to bring down porn." 


Soon after that, Miller released a statement claiming Burts contracted HIV from a personal encounter.

According to Burts, he then had an emotional breakdown while watching a UFC fight on Nov. 24 and became scared for his life, which was when he decided to call AHF.

There he met Dr. Laveeza Bhatti, an HIV care provider. He said her "jaw dropped" as AIM hung up on him each time he called to get documentation of his results.

"This is a multimillion dollar industry and they haven’t reached out to help me, that's the reason I'm speaking out," he said.
Now..keep in mind that AIM's official statement did NOT mention Burts by name (only as "Patient Zeta"), but did note that since no one in the industry had been infected due to his actions, they assumed that he had indeed gotten infected on his own, through "extracurricular activity". Of course, in the LA Times article, Burts flatly denied that, saying that outside of his work as a gay/straight porn performer, he was totally monogamous with his girlfriend. (More on her later.)
Then again, in the LA Times article, he says that he himself approached AHF anonynously without describing himself as "Patient Zeta"...a bit different than what he says to the NY Daily News.
If that was the only inconsistency in his story, it would be whack enough...but guess what some enterprising sleuths discovered while investigating Derrick's past life?? Two words: RentBoy.com.

That's right, Clones....Derrick was in fact a working escort. Nay...a working GAY escort.

I should add a caveat here: The two main sources that discovered Derrick's escort ad aren't exactly pure as the driven snow. The original ad appeared in a message board forum dedicated to maligning porn talent agent Derrick Hay, who runs LA Direct Models and who has been attacked as being not only a closet pimp who cross-contaminates straight porn with suspicious gay males, but who basically is the typical stereotype of a thuggish asshole. (He has had some numerous smackdowns with several female talent, including a classic battle with Lisa Ann, super starlet and formerly head of her own talent agency, Lisa Ann Talent Management, which unfortunately shut its doors middle of this year. And the owner of that particular board, Donny Long, is just as well known and disrespected as a rumormonger and thug on his own right who is not averse to racist, sexist, and homophobic blasts and forced outing of starlets he doesn't like (ask Nina Mercedez, who was actually forced to bring legal action to shut Long's website down after he attempted to expose her private info).

Nevertheless, while the messengers may have lots of shit on their hands, the message itself seems pretty legit...and good enough that our irrepressible star reporter Julie Meadows was able to verify and repost the ad at her blog. 
Think about what that means, Clones....If you happen to be a gay escort who has been known to be boasting about not only being proud to be HIV+, who has openly threatened to infect others, and who has directly admitted to having engaged in bareback sex as part of his work. it's kind of hard to say with a straight face that you were a victim of anybody...especially  of an agency who merely tested you when you decided to cross over into "straight" porn.
And then there is the changing story of how DBurts actually got infected. First, he said that he got HIV through oral sex. Considering that most reliable scientific studies show that merely swallowing semen is the least likely way to transport HIV, especially when compared to blood tearing during unprotected anal sex, that would be considered to be a bit problematic. (Unless, Burts was somehow suffering from a gum disease that involved bleeding, which introduced blood into the mix...which is far more likely to promote infection.) By the time he spoke to the LA Weekly folks, he had a new story: He was infected by an impropmtu anal creampie in which sperm got into his anal cavity. In a scene in which a condom was used for anal sex, but not for oral.  In which the condom was somehow removed for the final blowout, so to speak.  (And remember, this is all to prove that condoms MUST be mandated in straight porn to protect the performers.)

Oh, but it gets better.  Much better.  One of Julie's regular commenters, Michael Whiteacre, did his own deep digging on Burts and discovered Bib Bomb #2: His girlfriend, performer Kaycee Brooks....is also an escort, too!!!  (At least, if this ad over at the LuxuryCompanion.com site is anywhere near accurate.) At least we can say that she was at least a bit more careful about her habits, though; she was tested as part of the first- and second-generation tests when Derrick's HIV+ condition was discovered, and she managed to test clean.  Which, of course begs the question: How in the HELL did he manage to go through all that bareback gay sex and all those clients and infect himself with HIV+, but not manage to infect his girlfriend in the process?? (Remember, Kaycee is also an active porn performer, and she's tested at least once a month..and unless someone's lying, she seems to be on the straight and clean.) And just how, then, is AIM to blame when they themselves not only managed to prevent him from infecting others, but also managed to alert him that he contracted other STD's  like chlamydia.  (He also said that he contracted herpes, but since AIM doesn't do tests for that condition, he must have known that from someone else...or from his visit from AHF.) 

But then again, to quote the lyrics of an Olivia Newton-John song, "The Rumor": "Once a rumor spreads, the truth becomes a thing of the past."

Especially when said rumor is exploited successfully for a public vendetta.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

And here is where we enter Part  2 of the drama, in which AIM gets its walking papers from the LA County Health officials. Again, we quote the LA Times:

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials have shut down the San Fernando Valley-based health clinic that serves the porn industry.

[Updated at 11:42 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the clinic was based in San Fernando. It is in Sherman Oaks.]

“We’ve told the clinic they have to notify people of test results that have already been taken and make appropriate referrals. But they cannot provide new services,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s public health director.

Fielding said county public health staff went to the clinic Thursday morning and issued a cease-and-desist order based upon state regulator’s denial of the clinic’s application for a community clinic license.

Adult Industry Medical healthcare’s general manager and lawyers did not return phone calls Thursday. AIM staff answering the phone Thursday morning said the clinic was still open.
Clinic officials were notified that their license application had been denied Tuesday. They applied June 7, state officials said, but Fielding said the application was “incomplete.”

“They hadn’t done all the things necessary to comply,” he said, but would not elaborate and referred questions to state public health officials, who did not immediately return phone calls or e-mail Thursday.

The nonprofit AIM clinic opened in 1998. Fielding said county public health officials did not become aware that they were operating without a license until April. In May, he said they sent clinic officials a letter advising them that as a nonprofit, they could not operate under an affiliated physician’s license and needed to apply instead for a clinic license.
Fielding said former patients at the clinic are welcome to seek care at county clinics.

“We have on our website a number of places where people can go for testing,” he said. “All the places that we’re involved with are certainly places where people can feel safe -- the privacy and confidentiality are maintained.”

Porn producers had relied on the clinic to maintain a database of performers’ test results that they could check prior to filming. It was unclear what would become of that system.

“I don’t know the answer to that -- you’ll have to ask them. Our feeling has been that that is not sufficient to fully protect the performers,” Fielding said. “They need to use condoms so that these workers will not be put in a position where they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
That would be, BTW, the same Johnathan Fielding who has been one of the more consistent boosters of jamming mandatory condom usage down the throats and up the other orfices of porn performers...and his collusion with Mike Weinstein of AHF is well documented and needs no rehashes here.

And speaking of Mikey: Of course, his reaction to all this was about as surprising as a western sunset. From the LA Weekly blog:

During a teleconference Thursday AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, who has been pressuring the industry to adopt mandatory condom use, called on porn producers to shut down shoots while this mess is worked out.

"This is the touchstone moment," he said. "This is the tipping point."

"The adult film industry needs to be shut or use condoms starting today," Weinstein said.

He called on the city's film permitting organization, FilmLA, to stop issuing permits to porn productions. He also called on the county to shut down production in the name of safety.

The state requires porn performers to use condoms, but the industry has resisted, citing market pressure, and California workplace health officials have said they don't have the resources to enforce the law.
We've found the weapons of mass destruction!!  We must attack NOW while the iron is hot!!!
And in this corner, Ministress Shelley and her Pink Cross cohorts are nothing short of ecstatic at the news. Quoting a comment in Julie Meadows' blog, probably directly from Lubben's blog:

PORN STAR CLINIC SHUT DOWN!! California heard our testimonies and the truth about the porn industry and finally did something about it!! GOD IS MOVING MOUTAINS!
Carrie Jean Chavez: woohoo!!!!!!!!!!

Shelley Lubben: I’m stunned right now. We’ve been fighting so hard pleading with the government to do SOMETHING about the rampant STDs and horrible abuses and sure enough, they shut that clinic down, the one where the so-called Doctor Sharon Mitchell does NOT have a medical degree. Wow. All these years of fighting and gathering evidence finally paid off!!

Mace Ravenwolf: What is done in darkness, will be brought into the light. MAJOR victory here as this “clinic” won’t be a free passport to an unknowing person’s death. I love how they tried to skirt around issues by saying they were compliant to the FEDERAL standars. Know thy enemy, if they are using the Federal guidelines as a loophole, go after the federal government. As far as I know most or any hospitals had to comply with state AND federal standards.. don’t they?
Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for the rest of us: the rumors of AIM's demise might be a bit premature.


Lundeen said the AIM Healthcare clinic submitted an application for a state community clinic permit in June after the state told AIM officials that it was operating as a community clinic without a license and would need to obtain one.


He said on Tuesday the clinic's application for a license was denied, but that the grounds for denial included a lack of proper paperwork, including a "transfer agreement" that would tell the state it had an agreement with an area hospital to accept patients it wasn't qualified to treat.

Lundeed made it sound as if AIM would be up and running soon and that its denial was based on a minor technicality.

"We're working with the facility to meet the requirements under the law as quickly as possible," he said.

And, it looks like the Big Dawgs of porn are finally rolling in to play their version of Zone Defense to cover Sharon Mitchell's and AIM's backsides. 

Steven Hirsch, founder of the country's largest adult studio, Vivid Entertainment, said it would continue with production despite AIM's closure.
"We have been in contact with AIM and believe that the current situation is temporary and will be quickly remedied. There are other alternatives that we can utilize in the meantime and will do so. We believe the current system of testing works. Our productions will proceed as scheduled."
Hirsch's stance defies Weinstein's call for the city of L.A. to deny film permits to the biggest studios, including Vivid and Hustler.
Michael Whiteacre, as always, cuts through the BS to the heart of the matter:

The rest of this story is quite simple, really.

The massive collusion between and amongst the cabal that is LA County Department of Public Health, AHF, UCLA and Cal/OSHA is reaching its crescendo — they seek to have AIM classified as an “industrial” (as in industry-specific) clinic, as opposed to a public clinic. The accompanying “industrial” standards are more stringent, and it also would make it that much easier for OSHA to classify porn performers as "employees.”


That’s the goal — these four entities are sharpening up their cutlery to carve up pieces of the pie.

AIM has a very good lawsuit here — a coordinated smear campaign against a private clinic (AIM) whereby the County health department seemingly co-strategized with, or at least provided advance notice of a public health action to, a private organization (AHF). How else to explain the rush by AHF to get the Burts story in the papers? A mere coincidence? A lawsuit, and subpoenas, would tell the tale.

It’s simply disgusting.


I will leave you tonight with Julie Meadows giving the last word for now, since her words all through this debacle have packed the most powerful punch.

What gets me is that the industry has always been attacked. No one has cared as much as Sharon Mitchell to try and bring the industry together. Should she have called herself a doctor if her degree comes from a non-accredited college? Probably not. Should the clinic have had some sort of responsible notification process installed for HIV-specific cases to avoid getting sued by Darren James in 2004? Probably yes. Does anyone care that it is this situation in 1998 that made it easy for Marc Wallice to fake a negative test and infect people? No. They. Don’t. REALLY. Care. They just don’t, but Mitch did. Right or wrong, proper procedure or not, someone who actually cared is being smacked around by those who don’t care and parts of the industry are even celebrating that. In the end, I doubt many from within or without of the industry can see the implications of what’s really going on. What do religious fanatics care that there’s no porn clinic or porn, period? I guess that’s the real question. Why do they care? Money, and the adult industry is an easy target. Hey, as long as they don’t give up. Michael has a good point about a healthy lawsuit for AIM. The bad guys don’t always win. Didn’t you see The People v.s Latty Flynt?

Of course, Larry Flynt had to take a bullet in his spine in the name of defending his freedom.  Hopefully, Sharon Mitchell, Ernest Greene, Nina Hartley, or any other person associated with AIM won't have to go that far to roll back this nonsense. For the sake of performers' autonomy and humanity, we'd damn well better hope so.


UPDATE (12-10-10):

Well. well, well....those rumors of AIM's demise were in fact premature after all.

Mark Kernes over at AVN Business/AVN Online has just posted an article at their blog that brings a great deal of clarty to the situation involving AIM's license getting pulled.  Turns out, it wasn't the LA County but the State of California Departmant of Public Health that had rejected AIM's application for a clinic license...and guess what???  It was based not on any permanent misfortune on AIM's part, but a minor syntactical technicality!!

As reported earlier today on AVN.com, state health officials told AIM last June that it would be required to submit an application for an operating permit in order to be a "community clinic" serving the adult community for STD testing, and AIM in fact did so several weeks ago. However, although the official name on AIM's lease is "The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation," AIM submitted its application as "AIM Medical Testing Center," and in a letter dated November 30, Travis Green of the state's Licensing & Certification Program kicked the application back to AIM, saying "I found that the package is incomplete and contains information that is unclear and/or inconsistent. To assist you in completing this package, I am providing a detailed outline of the information and/or clarification necessary to proceed with the application review process."

And what information was unclear or inconsistent? Under the heading, "Office Lease," the letter reads, "Please initial and date next to each line-through of 'AIM Medical Testing Center' and replaced [sic] with 'The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation.'"

That's it! All the state wants is for AIM's application to reflect the name of the clinic that's on the property lease rather than the name by which everyone in the adult industry knows the clinic. No other corrections are necessary.

But even though the letter from the state clearly states, "Please note that you will be allowed sixty (60) days from the date of this correction letter to submit the requested information," nonetheless, the L.A. County Health Department served AIM with a cease-and-desist letter requiring AIM to stop collection blood samples from its clients—an action that apparently was taken at the instigation of AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein. (Don't the state and county health officials talk to each other?)
Oh, and just wait until Mike Weinstein hears this bit of news...seems like the shutdown of AIM isn't quite as total as he fantasizes.


But despite the county's cease-and-desist order, AIM is still operating. However, performers who need their blood drawn and urine sample taken will have to do so at one of AIM's "draw stations" which are located all over the city of Los Angeles, in several other cities around the state, and with contractors in all other states of the union. Performers can find the locations of these draw stations either by calling AIM, which will be open tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, or they may go online to AIM's website, which lists all the addresses there.

"People can pay for the tests online, and pick up their tests at AIM, just like they always do," said AIM general manager Jennifer Miller. "It's exactly like coming in here and the price is exactly the same, and it's the same turn-around time."

"On this application, the county is making us in particular dot all our i's and cross all our t's, and if that's what they ask for, that's fine," Mitchell explained. "It's just that we knew it was going to take us some time to get appropriated, because our landlords are in and out of town quite a bit, and we knew it was going to take a while to get a reprint of our lease from them, and this is why they closed us down, but you've got to see how this looks. You've got this kid [Derrick Burts aka Cameron Reid aka Derek Chambers] saying that we're ineffective and not good, and this gets piled onto all the other stuff that L.A. Times has been more than happy to print."

Bottom line: AIM is open; they just can't draw blood at their facility, so they've arranged for others to do it—and the county, apparently at the urging of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has overstepped its powers in attempting to close the clinic down—because AIM wrote the wrong name down on its application!
In other words, you can't draw blood or give urine samples directly at AIM;s main facilities in Sherman Oaks...but you can still get tested at any one of many off-facility sites and pay for it online at no extra charge. Other than that hiccup, which will probably itself be temporary until AIM does get its license, everything else will be business as usual tomorrow morning.

Gee..I wonder why this news didn't make the LA Times news desk??  It's not as if they haven't been killing dead trees on the issue, not with the FOUR articles they did pimping Derrick Burts as The Ultimate Porn Victim and AHF as his new Savior. I guess that writing antiporn propaganda for so long kind of tunnels the vision a bit??






Wednesday, December 8, 2010

HIV Porn Scare 2010 Redux: "Patient Zeta" Outs Himself...But Does His Story Pass The Gloryhole/Swiss Cheese Test??

And so, the story of the latest HIV porn scare continues on, with some quite interesting developments.

This morning, in the Los Angeles Times, we finally got to hear from "Patient Zeta", the performer at the center of the latest scare. His real name is Derrick Burts, though he has performed under various porn pseudonyms such as Derrick Chambers, Cameron Reed, and Cameron Reid.

As you are well aware if you've been keeping up, Burts was a performer from the gay side of the genre who somehow got infected with the HIV virus, then showed up doing a straight scene without testing first. Fortunately for everyone involved, all testing has turned out negative, and no one else was infected.

The story would end there....except that somehow and for whatever reason, Mr. Burts has decided to launch himself squarely into the ongoing debate over whether the government should step in and mandate condoms for all performers on set. And as you would guess, it's not on the side of performer's choice, either.

Here's a sample of the article from the LA TImes website (which also includes a brief video interview with Mr. Burts):

The adult film performer who tested HIV-positive at a San Fernando Valley clinic this fall spoke out for the first time Tuesday, calling for mandatory condom use in porn productions, improved testing for sexually transmitted disease and follow-up care for fellow performers.

Derrick Burts, 24, said he tested HIV-positive in October at the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation in Sherman Oaks after working in both gay and straight porn films for a few months. He had previously been identified only as Patient Zeta.

Producers of straight porn regularly check performers' test results using a database maintained by the clinic, known as AIM, to clear actors for work.

Burts, who performed in straight films as "Cameron Reid" and gay films as "Derek Chambers," said he was tested at the clinic Oct. 8, then received a panicked call from clinic staff the following afternoon, summoning him to the office.

When he got there, he said, clinic staff told him that he had tested HIV-positive. They wanted to perform a follow-up test and begin notifying performers he had worked with since his last negative test result Sept. 3. Those performers, he was told, would be placed on a quarantine list while they, too, were tested.

Burts said he gave clinic staff the names of about a dozen performers he had worked with in California and Florida in both gay and straight productions. The list included his girlfriend, who also works in the industry as a performer. He watched as clinic staff began scanning a performer database, notifying those he had named and placing them on a quarantine list.

The clinic has since said that none of the performers on its quarantine list tested positive. Burts confirmed that his girlfriend tested negative
.
So, you say...happy ending for all, except for poor Mr. Burts, right??? Not quite...because here's where the fun starts.

He said that when he returned to the clinic Oct. 23 to review the second test results, clinic staff told him that they had traced his HIV infection to someone he had performed a scene with whom they described to him as a "known positive."

Although straight porn performers must show negative HIV test results before filming, the gay porn industry does not have the same restrictions, although condom use is typically required.

Burts said he asked who the performer was and clinic staff told him they could not reveal the performer's name or gender due to patient confidentiality.

Clinic officials could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night. An attorney for the clinic was traveling outside the United States, according to an e-mail received from him earlier in the day.

Burts says he may have contracted the disease during a gay porn shoot in Florida. He said the performers used condoms during intercourse but not during oral sex.

Contrary to Burts' account of what he was told, clinic officials released a statement last month saying "Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity."

"That's completely false," Burts said Tuesday. "There is no possible way. The only person I had sex with in my personal life was my girlfriend."
So, it seems that Burts was infected not through any hetero sex scene in porn, but through scenes in gay porn, where the standards are diameterically different than the "straight" industry. So, why is he so put off with AIM and calling for mandatory condoms in STRAIGHT PORN?!?!?

The next few paragraphs might tell the answer.


Before he left the clinic Oct. 23, Burts said clinic staff put him in touch with a doctor affiliated with the clinic and promised to arrange for his follow-up care.

Burts said no one followed up, and he felt neglected.

"AIM promised they would help me set up a doctor and get treatment," he said. "They did none of that."

Burts said AIM staff had warned him not to contact the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, whose officials have been among the clinic's chief critics. In frustration, Burts said he went to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation center in Los Angeles on Nov. 24 and saw a doctor, never identifying himself as Patient Zeta.

Pleased with the care he received at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Burts contacted the group's leaders last week, identified himself as Patient Zeta and said he wanted to speak out on their behalf and in favor of enforcing mandatory condom use in porn productions. Foundation officials have scheduled a news conference with Burts for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"AIM likes to state that testing is enough. That's completely false," he said, noting that in the months before he tested positive for HIV, he had also contracted chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes.

"It's very dangerous," he said of adult film work. "It should be required that you wear a condom on the set."

Hmmmmm. So...out of pique at AIM for not funding his treatment for contracting HIV outside of their jurisdiction and for his own refusal to test himself before doing that hetero scene, he just conveniently joins up with Michael Weinstein's group...and thusly becomes their new spokesperson for mandating condoms. Coincidence??  Conspiracy??  Payola??  Or just plain circumstance??

Which brings us to this very interesting article from Dennis Romero that appeared in the LA Weekly blog The Informer, in which Romero seems to partially question and partially support Burts' claims about how he contracted the disease and how AIM dissed him in favor of AHF. Some snippage:



Interestingly, while the porn industry claims its self-policing when it comes to STDs, Burts says he contracted the virus from a male actor who had not presented his test before a film shoot - a move the industry has argued is customary and part of its health-guards.

In fact, the actor says his HIV-carrying scene partner was a "known positive." How could this happen? In gay porn, condoms are the norm, but HIV testing of the type advocated by the Adult Healthcare Industry Foundation, the organization that tested Burts and provides a testing service the whole adult video business, is apparently not.

His gay scene in Florida involved oral sex - a long shot for HIV transmission. But that's his story, and it doesn't add up if you ask us. He's a mostly straight guy who's loyal to his girlfriend but had protected gay sex and still somehow came up with HIV?


AIM Healthcare's claim that he got HIV through his own extracurricular, off-camera sex life is B.S., he says: He only has off-camera sex with his girlfriend. (He says she turned up negative, too).

Really?
 Of course, Romero seems to ignore the fundamental differences between straight and gay porn.  AIM tests EVERYONE in the straight scene (a negative test within 30 days is the normal requirement, but individual performers may require even stiffer requirements before performing scenes); whereas there is little or no testing in the gay scene, since they tend to rely on a mix of condom usage, seperating out HIV+ performers from HIV- performers, and explicit marking of bareback scenes as such.

But, there is a legit inconsistency here...oral sex is actually one of the less noted ways to pass on the HIV virus; unprotecteed anal sex being the more favored means of transmission sexually). Yet, Derrick/Cameron staunchly denies that he contracted HIV through "extracurricular sexual activity", saying that he is totally monogamous outside of his work with his girlfriend, who happens to BE a porn performer herself. So...how did he manage to get infected in the first place, then??  Osmosis??  Handjobs?? Or. perhaps,. he got infected through a gay sex scene where condoms were absent?? And this is AIM's fault....how???

Or, perhaps, it's just Burts' way of pimping his new sponsors. Continuing the Romero article:


AHF stated that Burts also contracted herpes and chlamydia during his "brief" work in porn.

Remember, gangstas...AIM does not even test for chlamydia [UD (5-22-12): actually, they did...thanks, Darklady, for the correction!!] or herpes in straight porn, so how in the hell would AHF know about that unless either Burts told them, or he contracted that from gay porn, too?


Burts says the industry-backed AIM turned its back on him, allegedly ignoring its promise to follow up with treatment. That, he claims, pushed him into the accepting arms of the AIM's archenemy, the AHF, which has been battling to force adult video to use condoms.
According to a statement from AHF:
Burts then anonymously sought medical treatment for his HIV through AHF, which arranged a medical appointment for him within 24 hours of his first contact with AHF at one of its Los Angeles-area AHF Healthcare Centers--without anyone at AHF knowing his role in the adult film industry.
AHF scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Wednesday at its office in Hollywood to discuss Burts' case.

AHF President Michael Weinstein:
"We are extremely glad to know that Derrick has been linked to care and is receiving appropriate medical care for his HIV infection through AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a government-funded non-profit health care provider. However, we are astounded that the multi-billion dollar adult film industry and its fig leaf of a clinic could not even get it together six weeks after his first positive HIV test to link him to appropriate follow up medical care and treatment, and that taxpayers--rather than the adult film industry--will be left holding the bill."
Some pics from that newsconference, complete with the usual crocodile tears from Mr. Burts, are included in Romero's article.

Now, the question of why AIM should be held to pay up for the treatment of a person who acquired HIV from outside their jurisdiction and who attempted unwittingly to infect others by performing without being tested to begin with, might enter the mind of some skeptics. But, if you're Mike Weinstein and you need a suitable victim to shed tears at your pressers and Cal-OSHA hearings in order to bust AIM and get those government grants and $$$$ for Durex.....errrrrrr, to alert the public about the dangers of porn and the evil of the industry....well, any port in a storm, I guess. Especially since using Shelley Lubben is blowing up in their faces.

And then, there is the fact that Derrick Burts is saying one thing for the public and another thing for other venues. The irrepresible Lydia Lee (aka Julie Meadows) has been doing yeoman investigating work all along on the Great Condom Mandate Swindle, and today at her blog she takes time from playing Shelley Lubben Whack-a-Quack-Ministeress to do a brief but effective expose of Derrick/Cameron.

Her main evidence is a lenghty post that she says was done by "Cameron Reed" over at a message board hosted by some haters of Derrick Hay, the former agent for LA Direct Models and notorious for hiring crossover gay talent to the straight side. The ensuing conversation is, shall we say, illuminating. Snippage:


I’m proud to be HIV poz! [Cameron Reed speaks!!!]

I got as informed as I could about the disease – I attended the PLUS seminar hosted by the Stop Aids folks here in LA. I also “came out” about my HIV status to friends and my family. I’m fortunate to have a close relationship with my family and knew that as upset as they would be, they’d still love and accept me. For me, keeping my status a secret would have only added to the sense of shame I felt about it and would have cut me off form those close to me.

HIV/AIDS is an epidemic and in epidemics there will be casualties. It’s nobody’s fault that they seroconverted. Sure, I made a lousy decision to not insist on the guy fucking me to use a rubber, but I’m only human and humans make lousy decisions at times.

You say “there’s no way back”. Of course there isn’t. There’s no way back in anything in life. Dwelling on shoulda, woulda, coulda only spins me around in circles. I only have there here and now and I can either choose to make the most of what life has to offer or else wallow in self-pity. I find the fomer works much better than the latter.”

“[responding to an angry person] They are all in this biz and should know the risks. Let them eat HIV if they get it. I took the risks and got burned and will live with it but I feel no remorse on anyone I put in danger. THEY made the choice to become a hooker. I can’t stand people like you and your holier that thou attitude. I should fuck you up the ass while you sleep!”

“You are FUCKING IGNORANT! Yes, I will have to take pills the rest of my life, but I will live a normal lifespan thanks to meds. You are in this biz and you are this UNEDUCATED about HIV? No one wastes away and dies from AIDS anymore IF they are on meds and stay on them.

People don’t know who you are, you moron. You aren’t a household name. No one reads Playboy anymore you asshole.
So now, Derrick's putting up a front of being so proud of being infected, and even wishing an enemy to be infected, too??  Was that as much a performance as the tearful crying jag for AHF...or is it because of the audience??

And then, there is this video that was included from another therad in the Derrick Hay hatefest board, and reposted by Julie at her blog, where "Derick Chambers" (one of Derrick Burts' gay aliases) is interviewed on a porn set with fellow performer "James Jameson" (does Jenna know about this??) where "Derick" practically glows about how he has found himself as a gay porn star. Remember when seeing this that the real Derrick Burts said that he was monogamous outside of his work, and that he just couldn't get infected with HIV because condoms were the rule there. Ahhh...yeah. (Since the clip is kinda NSFW, only a link will be provided; or, you may go to Julie's blog to see it.)

[UD 5-22-12: That anti-Derrick Hay board happened to be XXXFilmJobs.com, which was one of Donny Long's sites. That would be the same Donny Long who was the force behind the original Porn Wikileaks.]

And leave it to Julie to cut through the bullshit and get down to the core of the issue.

I don’t have an opinion of Derrick Burts/Cameron Reid beyond my heartbreak at this entire situation. Why the gay industry doesn’t implement testing I will never understand, but clearly, testing does help. I would also like to point out that the gay community has a support system. The gay industry also has production pools for HIV-positive performers to work with each other. Straight men and women don’t have this kind of support when they test positive. Derrick can continue to work and for many years. The whole thing is just sickening and I’m appalled at AHF’s tactics to undermine the current testing system that should be testing the entire industry and not just one side. There are probably several workable solutions, including condoms, but this is how the discussion begins on that side. Insults, accusations and lies.

My favorite part about the “Derrick speaks for the first time” video on the LA Times website is the argument that AIM claimed he contracted HIV from his personal life, which has nothing to do with their detecting it and preventing him from spreading it, and the fact that the issues are conflated and that the language is vague. “They” don’t want you to wear condoms, after talking about AIM would assume that AIM doesn’t want talent to wear condoms, yet they offer free condoms on the counter at their clinic and have no say in actual production procedures beyond testing the actors, so “they” is the producers. And “barebacking” is a fetish on the gay side. He said that the gay side requires condoms, but that’s not true. Some do not enforce condoms. Everyone in the indsutry knows that a combination of testing and condoms are a great way to go. How that comes to fruition should be the next steps taken, but because AHF, UCLA, Los Anegeles County Department of Health, CalOSHA and their affiliates are more intent on bullying and spanking the industry’s [asses], we are left to stare at the same angry rehashing of a “condom mandate” though they keep saying it’s already mandatory. The problem is that the rules don’t suit the industry (condoms during felatio and goggles and gloves, all from a mandate set for clinics in the early 90s without regard to the specifics about adult work or any input from the people of the industry, which no other industry would ever tolerate), and there is an employee vs. independent contractor issue. Are these people talking about this? No. There is no “discussion.” The adult industry was purposely kept from a “discussion” at UCLA where the only person invited was someone who had never spoken at any of the previous “discussions”. Why? Because they don’t like what the industry has to say, but they have to care because you can’t regulate an industry full of adults without them protesting. You can overwork children on mainstream shoots, you can send them off to pageants and treat them however you like because they don’t have a say, but adults do, and it’s confounding that they would be surprised that adults in a legal industry would have a say in how they run their business. Compromise would be wonderful excapt that these sources are attacking. They don’t care to discuss, they don’t care for facts, they just need the next victim to serve as a mouthpiece for an industry they only intend to conquer and divide.

 My sympathy and my heart goes out to Derrick Burts for getting infected.  But, if he's going to allow himself to be used as a pawn for Michael Weinstein, Shelley Lubben, and those who would deny innocent performers of their rights, then he should be held accountable for his lies and distortions as much as anyone else.