Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HIV Porn Panic 2011 Update: "Patient Zero" Possibly Exposed, Brazzers.com (In Florida) Implicated

[UPDATED: Scroll to bottom.]

Remember, the following information is still speculation, and should not be assumed to be the absolute truth until it is verified.

More information is being released this morning about the background of the most recent HIV porn scare. It's a bit convoluted, so try to follow me.

This morning, AdultFYI.com reposted a blog entry by former porn agent Mike South in which the latter "outs" the alleged "Patient Zero" at the center of the crisis. Pursuant of this blog's stated policy, I will not give out the name of the performer (though, both AdultFYI and South obviously do at their sites), but I can give out some other information via the blog post by South, which was reposted by AdultFYI.  (Redacted to protect privacy and presumption of innocence)



"What is troubling is that he tested positive and still worked, that is undisputed what is disputed is whether he tested negative after testing positive using the same methodology.
"A positive test should ALWAYS be confirmed with a Western Blot no matter if its PCR or ELISA, retesting with another test that isn't Western Blot doesn't mean anything.
"Only the Western Blot can confirm a positive test.
"The really fucked up part is the Director also reportedly knew that [redacted] had tested positive, but let him work on the basis that it was believed it was a false positive.
"It is being said that [redacted] is being retested via Western Blot to confirm his results and that the results of that test are not back yet.
"I do hope he is negative but this should be a lesson to everyone either way."

Gene (Ross, AdultFYI reporter) adds: "Now that the cat's out of the bag, here's what I'm told- [redacted] also goes by the name [redacted].
He was found by Brazzer's Producer [redacted].'
[Redacted] is known to throw sex/swing parties where [redacted] met him.

[Redacted's] test came back 'false positive' and allegedly talked [redacted] into still shooting him with a positive test.

Apparently 13 Florida Female Talent have been exposed."
So, apparently, the performer tested positive using a company not within the APHSS grid, then went to yet another testing company also not in the grid for a followup test which essentially concluded that the first test was a false positive, to which the latter test was used by him to persuade the producer to clear him to shoot scenes.

The implication of Brazzers.com is fascinating in its own right, too, since Brazzers' Florida-base production center (as opposed to their LA and Vegas centers)  has developed a really bad reputation from talent and consumers alike for cutting corners in regards to protecting performers and putting their own profits above their talent. (That, and Brazzers' overly lenient attitude towards tube sites and content piracy, which has really ticked off other adult production companies struggling against content thievery.) Also, Brazzers was not amongst the main production companies who contributed to the creation of APHSS.

The scariest thing about this, though, is that 13 women whom had worked with this performer (and possibly all of their partners) are now exposed enough to warrant testing. It remains to be seen whether or not any of those women had done any other work outside of Florida.

I'm still going to reserve judgment on Brazzers until we have more reliable information, but if this editorial by a blogger at the porn gossip/info site LukeFord.com (not to be confused with LukeIsBack.com) has any weight to it, then Brazzers may be in a heap of trouble. (His sentiment, NOT mine.)


In school when they teach you about sex they are quick to remind you that you not only slept with the person you are with but every person they have been with and every person they have been with, so quickly 1 partner can become 34, 34 can become 340.  So when the news broke that Brazzer’s knowingly exposed 13 performers to HIV [source]  …. we know the impact is much larger because since their potential exposure, who else have those 13 girls slept with, and then who else have those people slept with?

So if stealing content, running 5 of the most popular illegal tube sites wasn’t enough, how about this?  Is knowing a performer tested HIV positive and still letting him perform with others enough for ya?

Why do I go on twitter day after day and see some performer bragging about doing this or that with Brazzers?  What the heck is wrong with you people?  Are you blind?  Do you not see day in and day out what they are doing?

I mean sure there can be arguments made for people like Jules Jordan and Wicked Pictures deserving to get screwed … they after all knowingly entered into business deals with the devil, Brazzers – so they got what they deserved … but what about you?  What’s your excuse for still doing business with them?

Do you realize that because of their illegal activities, other producers were forced to reduce the amount they pay performers, so every time you do any work with Brazzers you are directly contributing to the further success of a company that fucked you and your friends.

As far as the HIV scare goes, if you have worked in Miami in the last month or so or worked with anyone who has worked in Miami than now is a good time to go get tested.  Just remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry so if you have concerns about working with a performer, it’s okay to say no.  Your life is far more important than that scene is.
And please, please, for Goddess sake, please, for those of you in Miami heeding that final graph's advice....use an APHSS approved clinic that has the proper protocols and procedures.


UPDATE (8-30-11): The director that was implicated in the original blog entry by Mike South (and outed by both South and the AdultFYI.com mirror post), has now responded, through an email that was posted to South's blog this evening. I'll simply repost it for posterity's sake.



I understand that there are rumors circulating concerning the identity of "Patient Zero."  If the rumors are true, the last time I shot this particular individual was on August 19.  That person had a valid negative test.

There has been a lot of false information circulating about this situation. I want to be clear that there is absolutely no truth to any of the statements about my filming this performer with a positive test.  I would never, ever shoot anyone with a positive test, even if they claimed it was a "false positive."  I make no exceptions.

Please put an end to this vicious and harmful rumor.

Our lawyers are CC'ed in this e-mail and have verified the documentation.
The title of the post over at South's blog does list the director's name, but, consistent with this blog's policy regarding performer/director privacy, I will not reveal it here.


10 comments:

  1. I'd heard of Brazzers being a bad actor before, but that really does seal it. If they were letting an untested performer, particularly a male one (m->f transmission being a greater risk), have unprotected sex with other talent than they were behaving in a criminally irresponsible way.

    One point I would take issue with in Mike South's article is the idea that a Western Blot should serve as confirmation of a PCR-DNA test. The latter, being based on PCR amplification, is by far the more sensitive of the two tests. Western Blot, being immunohistochemistry-based, requires a certain antibody load to be reached before showing a visible band. It is more sensitive than ELISA, but in a very early infection, could give a false negative, if I'm not mistaken. I would think that a new PCR-DNA test based on a separate blood draw and DNA amplification would be the gold standard for confirmation.

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  2. Quoting IACB:

    I would think that a new PCR-DNA test based on a separate blood draw and DNA amplification would be the gold standard for confirmation.

    Which leads to the main question: Was that the standard that AIM used? And..will it be the minimum standard for APHSS??

    Of course, knowing Mike South's known disdain towards AIM, FSC and APHSS, it's hardly surprising that he would attempt to pin the rap on them rather than the rogue agents for Brazzers or the inferior testing facilities. Or...to AHF's original vendetta against AIM.


    Anthony

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  3. First of all, if Mike told me it rained in New England last week I wouldn't believe him, and on the subject of HIV testing he's beyond ignorant, still pushing the ELISA over the PCR-DNA.

    However, it is true that both the ELISA and Western Blot are used as confirmatory tests, along with two additional PCR-DNA tests, because both the Western Blot precisely because the Western Blot yields actual numbers on viral loads and because the ELISA, though it throws plenty of false negs because of the long window period, never throws a false positive because it detects HIV antibodies in the blood and if you have those, you're infected, full-stop. That's why the CDC still considers ELISA the gold standard, because it can be inconclusive but can never give a false diagnosis.

    As for Brazzers, the words "pond scum" come readily to mind.

    I supposed I don't even need to say it, but I will anyway, this is exactly what I would have predicted when the industry began to decentralize under pressure from local politicians and charity scam artists here. With no standardized testing or uniform monitoring and reporting, the destruction of AIM created exactly the window period for the whole industry I feared it would.

    The APHHS will eventually pick up the slack, but will first have to get the kind of cooperation from both performers and producers that AIM twisted arms for years to secure. It won't happen overnight and until it does, we will be dealing with a hodgepodge of tests of all sorts from clinics of all sorts, the reliability of which and the accessibility of which for confirmation purposes will be sketchy at best.

    I would expect to see more incidents of this kind until the new system if fully operational and enjoys the level of trust AIM did, and in the meantime you can rest assured that AHF and its friends will be taking full advantage of the dangerous situation they created by killing off AIM to make their point that the old system wasn't good enough, though we've already seen something bad as a direct result of the old system's destruction to which AHF et al contributed so mightily.

    Every dollar Weinstein and Lubben raise off this latest disaster will have the blood of performers on it.

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  4. And yes, APHSS intends to use the same protocols as AIM and to do its best to duplicate AIM's services in every other way it can.

    F.S.C. has moved on this more quickly than usual, but I still don't think the word has been gotten out among performers and producers fast enough.

    Obviously, the old system is gone and the new one hasn't fully replaced it yet, so the danger is greater than it has been since AIM was first formed.

    All of which makes the cheap shot the vile L.A.Times took at AIM's rep in this morning's coverage that much more despicable. Not that they ever bothered calling for a response to all the lies they ran about AIM over the past two years, now they're free to pretty much say anything they want about it in the future because there's no one left to call for a response.

    Nice work everybody who wanted to bury AIM.

    Happy with what where we are now?

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  5. Ernest:

    Any linkage to that LA Times column? I may use it for a future fisking.


    Anthony

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  6. It's on LAtimes.com in today's edition.

    And hows this for hypocritical bullshit of the week contender?

    From abcnews.com, quoting our old friend Mr. Weinstein.

    ""There really cannot be an argument over the fact that these performers would be far safer if they used condoms," said Weinstein.

    "We take no comfort whatsoever in this new case. We simply hope that this ongoing tide will prick the conscience of policymakers and make them more aggressive in taking action on the recklessness of the adult film industry."

    The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is lobbying for a measure on L.A.'s June 2012 ballot that would mandate condom use in porn productions that seek city film permits.

    "This is a tragedy, and we don't want to see one more person become infected with HIV or any other disease," Weinstein said."


    Yeah, right, sure you don't. Especially when you're beating the bushes for signatures to put your bogus initiative to require condoms for film permits on the local ballot next election.

    If he really doesn't "take comfort" in this latest episode, which he helped create, as it likely developed during the chaotic period between AHF's destruction of AIM and AHPSS getting started, then why is he all over town like an oil spill pointing fingers over it?

    When it's all over, there will still be a porn industry, but if Weinstein keeps making political hay off his little crusade, he might find himself and his organization in an increasingly shaky position.

    There are rules governing what tax-exempt charities may do in regards to lobbying for electoral campaigns of any sort, and he's tap-dancing all over them.

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  7. Ernest, it's also extremely problematic for someone who has stated publicly (repeatedly) that he believes that condom-less porn "sends the wrong message" (i.e., it's the CONTENT) to now act as the proponent of a public ballot initiative.

    Even if AHF *stops* saying it now, that doesn't change the fact that ITS MOTIVE AND PURPOSE IS TO FORCE THOSE ENGAGED IN FREEE SPEECH TO ALTER THEIR MESSAGE. This entire initiative runs afoul of the First Amendment (as well as the Fourteenth) to the US Constitution, as well as the CA Constitution.

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  8. It's really just more grandstanding and hasn't much chance of qualifying, let alone passing. Economic impact statements are required for ballot initiatives and the county has no interest in trading a revenue source for a vast and unpredictable new expense.

    Should it actually be enacted by some horrific twist of fate, over the objections of Film LA you may be sure, it will go down in flames at court challenges from both the industry and the agencies charged with enforcing it.

    It's a hail-Mary and a sign of just how little traction AHF's crusade is really getting. Even with the help of the ever-so-objective-LA-Times it has failed to gain significant endorsements from well-known AHF supporters or local political figures and looks very much like an ego-driven, desperate attempt by Weinstein to prove that no one can resist his demands.

    When it's all over, he'll have mortgaged his credibility, whatever it once was, to a comparatively trivial and unpopular cause from which he'll come up a loser. The more he rants about it, the crazier and more personal the whole thing looks and the greater the damage to his own standing in the community. I don't think his usual supporters think this is a sound allocation of AHF's resources and they don't particularly want their names associated with it.

    At the end of the day, AHF will be the second-biggest loser in the whole mess.

    The biggest losers, as usual, will be porn performers, as we're already seeing.

    Weinstein and company wrecked an effective hazard mitigation system that had worked as well as anything of human devising can for nearly a dozen years. In just a couple of months, we've already got the makings of our first outbreak in seven years.

    Nice job guys. Let's see how many other performers you can endanger before you finally throw in the towel.

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  9. Brazzer’s Director Clears His Name: "Please put an end to this vicious and harmful rumor."

    http://www.lukeisback.com/?p=17889

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  10. Interesting. Many things not adding up in this case, though the confirmation from APHSS of a detected positive and the call for a production moratorium is certainly the most important and relevant part.

    There's going to be a lot of finger-pointing in the days to come. I speak from some experience in making that assertion, but as in 2004, certain things may never be known with absolute assurance.

    Two points of fact worth remembering as the circular firing squad forms up:

    1. There is no such test result as "false negative." The three categories of results are negative, positive and indeterminate. The latter may be generated by a defective test or, because the PCR-DNA is interpretive in nature, it may mean that something didn't look "right" and therefore another test is needed. In no case would any lab report out a "false" result as conclusive. So if someone did say they saw such a document, either that person is lying or the document was false or the lab was incompetent. Any of those circumstances certainly points toward culpability, but until someone who's word is regarded as objective sees the actual document, it's impossible to know where that culpability lies.

    2. The minimum window period even for the PCR-DNA test is ten days. Testing people daily wouldn't help. In fact, a testing frequency greater than ten days is pretty much wasted money and creates a false sense of security. The alleged Patient Zero in 2004 tested negative the day after returning from working abroad and then tested positive two weeks later. As a strong supporter of the PCR-DNA I think it's important that its limitations be recognized and that it not be regarded as a magic bullet. Its accuracy rate is above 95%, which means that the chance of a given PCR-DNA test being wrong is 5%. That's the margin of error and working in porn involves an assumption of risk inherent in that margin of error.

    As Michael Weinstein and his crowd know very well, the margin of error with barrier protection is considerably higher, depending on the circumstances. Again and again I've personally observed the mechanical failure rate of condoms used in shooting porn to be above 15%. Combining the two might reduce some risks associated with HIV or it might not.

    What we do know for a fact is that uninfected people represent a zero risk and keeping the talent pool free of HIV is the best possible protection, which is exactly what AIM sought to do and came as close as the statistical margin of error for any method or combination of methods would allow in real-world conditions.

    Now, as a result of AHF's destruction of AIM, that margin of error has clearly expanded, as Weinstein, who can be presumed to know something about HIV I would think, can only have expected to occur as a direct product of his actions.

    We don't know who all is to blame yet, and may never, but at least one party is certainly culpable in the broadest sense and I would dearly love to see the mainstream media, which is carrying Weinstein on its back like a little papoose in this thing, raise the issue of that indisputable culpability. Instead, the LAT goes out of its way to point out that AIM's methods had been criticized by various parties it declines to name.

    What about Weinstein's methods? Why are they not questioned as well?

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