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.
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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??






1 comment:

  1. I have only a couple of additions:

    According to today's Los Angeles Times, Burts concedes that he, in fact, did run the RentBoy ad:

    "He said although he advertised on an escort service called RentBoy, he never worked as one."

    Really.

    That's the best Times reporter (and AHF lapdog) Molly Hennessy-Fiske could come up with, I guess.

    Tell me, Ms. Hennessy-Fiske, when you sold your soul and your journalistic ethics to suck on the (metaphorical) withered member of Michael Weinstein, how did it taste to you? Cheap and metallic -- like sucking on a greasy coin?

    Finally, the condom-mandate plan being spearheaded by AHF will either drive porn shoots underground or it will force them out of state (or out of the country), to places where there are less onerous "health and safety" regulations in place (and where the talent pool is not tested monthly as it is in California). Does that sound familiar, fellow Californians? Another legal, tax-paying, job-creating industry will flee this state, and performers will be LESS safe in that instance, not more -- a result directly adverse to AHF's purported goals.

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