Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh, The Tangled Webs We Weave, When First We Practice To Deceive: Derrick Burts (2010 "Patient Zeta") Gets Exposed

Let's just say that today was not a particularly good day for Derrick Burts, the "Patient Zeta" of the 2010 HIV porn "scare".

Actually, tomorrow might be an even worse day for him...but I'll get to that later.

The fun began this morning when Mark Kernes of AVN released a new blog article on Burts and his current legal problems, as well as his being called by his mentors over at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the UCLA School of Public Health to participate in another seminar on health and safety in the porn industry, scheduled on October 11th.

Problem is, Burts might have a bit of a problem making that panel. Well..more than a bit. Unless they can do teleconferencing from his jail cell.

You see, tomorrow is when Burts is due to appear in Riverside County Municipal Court to be arraigned on some serious felony charges (burglary and laundering), for which he was arrested on July 31st.. And that's only the beginning of it, because those charges also put him in violation of not one, but TWO probations that he was serving for past offenses (one in LA County, and the other in Orange County, the latter of which is now repealed and an arrest warrant now active).

But it's not his personal life that is making the most headlines, his story about how he contracted the HIV virus is starting to unravel the way a house of playing cards collapses under the gentlest of breezes.

Also this morning, The Real Porn Wikileaks (the revised and legitimate version that replaced the racist/homophobic version first originated by Donny Long) ran their own article quoting emails that had been exchanged between DBurts and porn agent Mark Spingler, regarding the challenge issued by Spengler that Burts take a polygraph test to prove his accusations that he contracted HIV from shooting porn. At first, DBurts agreed, but then attempted to crawfish his way back from his commitment by attempting to set some conditions to the questions that would be asked him.

Some deets from the RPWL article (bolded emphasis in original):
Burts initially agreed to the offer, but the emails exchanged between Burts, Spiegler and the potential polygraph examiner reveal that Burts backed out after Spiegler refused to allow Burts to choose or substantially re-write the questions!

Regarding his alleged “escorting” activities – which came to light when his ad on the gay hook-up site surfaced — Burts wanted to narrow the questioning to: “Did you ever meet or have sex with anyone from escorting on RentBoy?

Burts explained that because he had never acted on his RentBoy ad, there was “NO WAY possible for me to have contracted HIV from escorting….”

He also sought to alter a question about whether he had contracted HIV on set to “Did Jennifer Miller from AIM tell you that you had sex with a known positive gay performer while in Florida shooting?” In addition, Burts sought to narrow the question concerning whether or now he’d ever had bareback gay sex to whether or not he’d ever had bareback sex during a gay shoot.

“I would never risk having bareback sex as I am aware of the high risks involved of getting HIV from that method,” Burts wrote. “My agency is 100% against bareback porn and I never participated in a bareback shoot.”

Asking things like “If I ever did this or that” could refer to any point and time in my life before contracting HIV. I would like to stick to the time frame in which I may have contracted HIV which is between August and September as the widest gap. Based off the Western Blot test I contracted HIV around mid September. My last negative test was September 3rd… I tested positive on October 8th. There is a 60 day time frame for HIV to show in the body. So that would be all of August and September.

Yes, I did have sex with partners while swinging without a condom. Is it possible that I got if from swinging? No. It was outside of the time period and every girl I did swinging with was cleared on the quarantine list. Have I EVER had anal sex with a guy before? Yes… long time ago before starting porn…. If I am going to do this test then the 4 questions have to be specific and not broad.

On the next go-round, Burts suggested another configuration of the questions, including, “Did you have bareback anal sex with guys in any of your shoots in the time frame you may have contracted HIV?” [emphasis added]

Spiegler was flummoxed, and wrote the polygraph expert,
Please remind Derrick that the questions will be questions that I choose – not him. I am paying for the test and I want to have MY questions answered. Derrick cannot craft the questions to HIS liking.
Even more interesting is how DBurts attempts to explain away his belief that he couldn't have contracted HIV from anywhere other than on set.

After reading Spiegler’s ultimatum, Burts wrote a lengthy response — and also mentioned in passing both his “AHF Legal Council” [sic] and his Florida attorney, Norm Kent. Having previously stated, in his initial email, “I NEVER met with anyone from escorting PERIOD!” Burts now contradicted himself with some startling new admissions:

I had a posting for escorting during the time I got HIV, however, I did not meet with anyone from the ad. The reason I am time specific on the escort question is because back in May or June I met with a guy from Craigslist and gave a massage and a handjob on a guy… I classify that as escorting, however, there is no way I got HIV from that time since there was no sex and out of the time frame of being able to get HIV.

As for the anal sex question, there was a time I had unprotected sex with another guy while participating in a threesome at some point in June. I know I didn’t get HIV from that time as well because it was out of the range of time I could have got it and all people in that threesome have been tested since, it was also before I started porn….

Spiegler, interviewed the next day on AdultFYI, mocked Burts’ logic: “He goes, ‘I didn’t get it from [swinging] because they all tested negative.’ Like who gets everyone’s name and number at a swinger party?”
Many in the industry continue to speculate that Burts sought to alter the questions because he may have contracted HIV from someone involved with his Florida gay porn shoots with whom he had sex off –camera – perhaps even on set.
It's also interesting because since becoming AHF's point man for the trashing of AIM and the condom mandate (despite the known fact that all of the hetero scenes he did were condom-only), Derrick Burts' recollection of how he got infected has been, to say the least, more than a bit fleeting. Quoting from Kernes' article:

Indeed, since joining up with AIDS Healthcare, Burts has rarely told the same story twice regarding the source of his infection, claiming at times that he may have contracted the disease through oral contact (since the scene itself was condom), or that he may have become infected by having rubbed a towel coated with infected semen to clean up after his scene.

AVN has acquired much more information on Burts' pre-porn life as well as more complete background on the polygraph test that agent Mark Spiegler asked Burts to take regarding his statements about his HIV-positive status and how he acquired it, but Spiegler and Burts were never able to come to an agreement as to which questions would be asked, and the exam was never given.
Hold up here...isn't the prevailing rule that unless your throat or mouth happens to be infected with some way, there's no way you can contract HIV from oral sex?? And...even if you do happen to wipe yourself with a contaminated towel, you still would have to have open bloody sores in the anal passage in order for the virus to be transmitted?? Oh, and did I mention that that scene was a condom scene where the condom was deliberately removed for the pop shot on the back??

And then there is that infamous ad that Derrick Burts made in September 2010..the one where he promotes himself as "AIM-TESTED", based on his September 3rd negative test.  Strangely enough, when Burts was exposed to be "Patient Zeta", he nuked all of his sexual contacts...except that ad. Coincidence?? Conspiracy??  You decide.

But wait...there's even more!! This afternoon, the blog unleashed Part 1 of a two part essay documenting the life and times of Derrick Burts, and it does not paint a flattering portrait of him. The most troubling aspect was his flip-flopping between his early dream as a "Christian magician" and his...shall we say, his sexual experimentations.

However, his financial debts and troubles at home might not be the only reasons Burts left Hemet to take his magic act on the road. Two local parents, who did not know anything of Burts’ life after 2005 – including his porn career – and were surprised to hear that he’d returned to live in Hemet in 2011, offered an alternative explanation involving Burts and some minors at the Ramona Bowl Ampitheatre.

Burts moved suddenly to Hermiston, Oregon to live with his grandmother, and worked up a magic act. In April 2006, an article in the East Oregonian featured the heading, "Illusionist Never Runs Out of Tricks".

Burts, then 19, announced he planned to embark upon a nation-wide magic tour to_raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

It is a two-part tour. The first trip is simply to raise $20,000 in pledges_from businesses to finance the show. Burts and others will actually perform on_the second trip in towns where funds were raised. Donated proceeds from_performances will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Essentially, Burts was planning to use the charity’s name to raise money for his own magic tour; to later return and perform in those cities where enough money had been raised – and then send the charity some portion of the show proceeds.
Burts’ grandmother, Susan Dickens, was quoted in the article. "He was always a trickster," Dickens said. "He liked center stage."

Burts’ next stop was Spokane, Washington, where he partnered up with a young local magician called "Kenneth K." He adopted the stage name “Derrick Chambers”, and over the next few years he took work wherever he could find it: including the Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho in 2007. Burts later found stable work on a cruise ship, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ 2000-passenger Pride of Aloha, and eventually, settled down in Orlando, Florida.

He toyed with the idea of creating "Christian based magic ministries", but returned to California in March 2009, having found a job as Front Office Supervisor at Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, right next to the Disneyland Amusement Park.
And this Sybil-like dichotomy would only get more amplified later:

In June 2010 Burts and Crystal walked into the office of porn talent agency OC Modeling as a couple, and signed a two-year contract with agent Phil Mack. As Burts would tell later the world, they wanted to make some good money fast. What he didn’t mention is that there was another couple that approached OC Modeling at the same time – Crystal’s friend Hayden Winters, and Hayden’s boyfriend.  Of the four, only Hayden’s boyfriend was not signed by OC.

OC Modeling primarily booked performers for "straight" porn shoots, but had also been dabbling in gay porn bookings. "When he saw me, the agent said I had money written all over me in the gay business." Burts later told The Independent. Translation: uncircumcised, shaved smooth, now quite lean and standing a mere 5′ 7", Burts was the all-American "collegiate" type – and being "uncut" had a novelty appeal in gay porn.

Crystal, under the name "Kaycee Brooks" would work in "straight" porn, working with both men and women; Burts would do "crossover" work in both "straight" and gay porn, using different names for each side of the business.

But porn wasn’t Burts only part-time gig.

From June to August of 2010, Burts also worked as a counselor at the Salvation Army’s Wildwood Ranch Christian Camp in Ramona, California. The camp’s website states that it "strives to serve the physical, social, and spiritual needs of children from the ages of 7 – 12."
"It is our desire to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to all at camp; staff and campers alike! … Camp counselors help campers make good decisions, gain confidence in their own talents and abilities, grow in independence, and learn to have fun with other children in a nurturing, supportive, loving environment."
WOW.  A gay/bi porn performer/swinger doubling as a Salvation Army counselor. Not even Shelley Lubben could top that for mendacity.

The LiB post also chronicles Burts' entry into the world of Florida gay crossover porn, including Burts' attempt to play himself as being more comfortable as a gay male star, even as he tried to cross over into the "straight" side. It was during this time that he made his interview with gay male performer James Jameson....the one that would soon be released to the public as proof that Burts was using gay porn to infect others. (For the record, Jameson was and still is HIV-.)

The LiB post promises to go into how Burts ended up with AHF on their next segment.

So, what does all of this mean?? Well, it shows the depths to which some will go to pursue their agenda, and it shows that all that glitters might not be gold.

But, I'll just leave it to Lydia Lee (using her former porn altar ego Julie Meadows) for the proper perspective to all this:

What is amazing to me (and as Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals so eloquently points out in her own article on the .XXX sTLD), is that the adult industry is accused of profiteering and immorality (to name a few), yet no one questions the moral intentions of people and organizations from the outside who gouge the industry for their own profit. AHF’s Michael Weinstein has been unrelenting in finding any means necessary to insert himself into the Los Angeles-based adult industry in what appears to be an effort to take over and reap the financial rewards of policing the industry through condom mandates and clinical testing. It didn’t matter that their first personality for the ‘dangers of the porn industry’, Shelley Lubben of Pink Cross Foundation, is anti-gay, or that her own credentials and testimonies are dubious. (Lubben touts a theology degree from a non-accredited college and claims that god cured her herpes, though she has no medical data to prove she ever had herpes.)

And now AHF is using Derrick Burts to parade their campaign, even though it appears he is just as questionable at the core of his intentions. In fact, Burts is scheduled to appear on behalf of AHF at a UCLA discussion on performer health and safety this October 11th, 2011.


I have two questions.

How many questionable people will Michael Weinstein slap his brand name upon in the name of performer safety? And how many details is Michael Weinstein willing to overlook in his unceasing effort to mind the details of adult industry performers?

I guess that's what happens when you get caught in your own web of deception.

ADDEDUM:  MIchael Whiteacre has emailed me a timeline of the legal problems of Derrick Burts over the past couple of years, all of which are public record. Here it is for your review and background:

On March 18, 2010, Burts was arrested in Orange County and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a valid driver's license, straddling or changing lanes when unsafe, and reckless driving.

On April 19th, Burts failed to appear in court in Westminster, CA, and a warrant was issued. He was eventually arraigned on May 6th, where he pleaded guilty to reckless driving in exchange for all other charges being dismissed. Burts was sentenced to 3 years probation, as well as a 12-hour Alcohol and Drug Program, and ordered to pay a $250 fine.

Then, in August 2010, Burts was arrested in LA County and booked for domestic violence and misdemeanor-level assault. Burts pleaded to a charge of disturbing the peace in a Van Nuys courtroom on August 3rd, and he was fined and sentenced to 52 weeks of classes.

But this arrest constituted a violation of his Orange County probation, and it was reported to the court in mid-August (Orange County notes case activity on August 18, 2010, and his probation was revoked on that date). Following an arraignment on September 21, 2010 for violating the terms of his probation, probation was re-instated.

Back in the LA County court system, a progress report from January 2011 shows that Burts had paid his fine, and that he requested his court-ordered classes be moved to Riverside County.

He was supposed to show up in court in Van Nuys on July 6, 2011 to inform the court that he had complied with its order and taken his classes, but he failed to appear. A $50,000 warrant was issued in his name on that date.

According to LA County, that warrant is still outstanding.

On July 31, 2011, Burts was arrested by Hemet police and charged with felony embezzlement and burglary in Riverside County. He posted $5,000 bail through a bondsman on August 4th.

Due to his Riverside County arrest, Burts’ Orange County probation was revoked on August 31, 2011. The Orange County Superior Court website currently lists Burts' status as "Fugitive".
Burts is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, September 29th at Riverside County’s Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
Like I said at the beginning: tomorrow should be quite an interesting day.


  1. To me, the most intriguing part of this story derives from the December 2010 emails concerning the proposed polygraph exam.

    Burts sought to narrow the questioning concerning whether or not he’d ever had bareback gay sex to whether or not he’d ever had bareback sex *during a gay porn shoot.* That seems to me to be pure misdirection.

    One common theory is that Burts had sex with a man who turned out to be HIV+ while in Florida to shoot (in September 2010). This person, the theory goes, may have also been connected in some way with production.

    Therefore, under this theory, if Burts had been asked (as he suggested):

    “Did you have bareback anal sex with guys *in any of your shoots* in the time frame you may have contracted HIV?”

    he would have been able to truthfully answer NO.

    Had the question been asked as: “Did you have ANY gay bareback sex (or condom sex where the condom broke) during the 90 days preceding your October 8th AIM test?”

    he might not, under this theory, have been able to truthfully answer NO.

    Note that, Spiegler's fourth question (of the allotted four) was:

    "Is it possible you may have contracted HIV outside of the adult entertainment business?"

    In his final email to the polygraph examiner, Burts wrote: "I kept his last question as is.... Do I think it was possible to get HIV from outside of working in the industry... my answer would be NO, which would come out true... proving that I truly believe I got this from working in the industry. . . . Do I believe I got this in Florida while working on a gay shoot? Yes, I am willing to state that which will prove that I am correct.":

    This supports the theory that Burts had sex with someone involved with one of his shoots -- but not necessarily a performer on camera. Note that this time Burts changed "in any of your shoots" to "while working on a gay shoot."

  2. Burts pleaded Not Guilty to all charges, and a Felony Settlement Conference/Trial Setting Conference was set for October 31, 2011 at 9:00am in the same court.

    His attorney, Michael J. Angeloff, also asked for a 977 Waiver, so that Burts need not be present in court for upcoming conferences/hearings.

    On the issue of his contraction of HIV, Burts' story keeps changing, or "developing":

    In a June 2011 interview, Burts said of the Florida shoot on which he says he believes he contracted HIV:

    “I did a shoot where I was riding [a co-star] on top, like a reverse cowboy. He had the condom on and at the end pulled the condom off and did the cum shot all over my butt and near my anus. I know that semen came in contact with that area. This is just an idea of how I got it.”

    In THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE he said this:

    “Either that or oral, because also the oral side of gay shoots is unprotected and it’s not like normal oral. You are doing 20 or 30 minutes of hardcore gagging. The cum shot was in my mouth. [It turns out that] I had gonorrhea in the throat during that shoot. When you have an active [STI] it makes it a lot easier for you to contract HIV.”

    I thought the cum shot was on his back? Now it was in his mouth, too?

    Also, (perhaps Mr. Greene can comment on this), I wonder: how common is it for male performers who are NOT engaged in gay sex (i.e., giving fellatio) in their private lives, or on camera, to contract gonorrhea of the throat?

  3. Never mind that, Michael...maybe Ernest can comment on this riddle I have: how in the HELL could any producer allow someone with an active STI to even shoot a scene, let alone one with someone who is HIV-infected.

    And, since condoms are normally NOT used for oral sex, exactly how does all this justify him being the poster boy for mandating condoms in "straight" porn??

    But, of course, it's all AIM's fault. Really.

    Plus, how in the HELL does DBurts get to walk out of that courthouse in anything other than cuffs and shackles after violating TWO probations?? Who does he think he is, Casey Anthony?? Or, is all that "lifetime treatment" aid from AHF being put to another use??

    Stickier and stickier...


  4. Actually, I can't answer that question. AIM never tested or monitored Gay performers on a regular basis, as the Gay segment of the industry chose the AHF protocol of condoms over testing (results so far after 12 years of AIM testing v. barriers without testing: 177 AIDS-related deaths of Gay performers, zero AIDS-related deaths of het performers. So we don't know anything about Mr. Burts' personal or professional life based on accurate scientific data.

    Nor do I think we should be distracted by this interesting but basically irrelevant side-show from the main attraction. AHF will now distance itself from Burts as it has from Shelley Lubben.

    I'm more interested in that next UCLA meeting and who will testify there. I think AHF may have a new, marginally more credible poster child for their campaign to parade before the media, someone active in the industry, not infected with HIV and no previous connection to this controversy. We'll see.

    As for media, I hope somebody noticed that The LA Weekly, the big "alternative" paper allied with AHF and relentlessly down on the porn biz, though about a third of their advertising is sex-related. In anticipation of the next volley from their pals at AHF, they've run a front-page PR piece for AHF's condom mandate, barely quoting and generally out of context any performers or other industry regulars who don't go with the program. Nina was interviewed for 45 minutes by the author and exactly one line of that interview, a predictable free-speech defense that was the smallest part of her complex analysis of the situation, made it into print.

    We better steady up our sites here. The bad guys are at the wire.

  5. Anthony,

    I don't believe anyone still claims that any producer in het porn knowingly used and HIV+ performer in a scene. That one's already been debunked thoroughly by AVN, FSC and others.

    As to the rest of Mr. Burts' various contradictory assertions, they point to the problem AHF has coming up with anyone believable from the active het talent pool to support their nonsense.

    But I know they're working on that problem and I wouldn't underestimate their ability to come up with a better front-person.

  6. Ernest:

    I grant you that no producer in het porn would do such a question was directed at those in the gay porn genre. Even with the use of condoms, I still don't understand why they would allow someone who was definitely HIV+ to shoot a scene with someone who was HIV-, or someone whom was so compromised with an STI as Burts says he was.

    I have my theories on who this new postergirl for AHF might be..but I'll hold my tongue for now.


  7. Ernest,

    I agree with you in large part -- but AHF, out of necessity, has NEVER truly distanced itself from Lubben or Burts. They were both taken out of mothballs for the F.A.I.R. ballot initiative press conference, and on other occasions as well. They are like the movable scenery -- the backdrop for Weinstein's Richard III monologue.

    I can tell you exactly who is scheduled to be at the next UCLA panel:

    Danny Wylde
    Derrick Burts
    Brittany St Jordan
    Nica Noelle
    Ela Darling

    (and the always charming -- ahh-hemmm -- January Seraph says she will honor the event with her attendance as well.)

    Danny is a WARRIOR, and Ela is very, very bright, (and extremely knowledgeable for a g/g-only performer with such a brief career to date) but where are the industry veterans -- the male and female stars who successfully carved out successful "brands" in the adult industry? Where's Nina? Where's Tera? Where's Kayden Kross?

    Moreover, where are ANY of the performers who were actively involved with the Cal-OSHA process these past few years? Where's Dave Cummings, for crying out loud?

    Anthony to answer your last question, namely, why would producers of gay shoots "allow someone who was definitely HIV+ to shoot a scene with someone who was HIV-, or someone whom was so compromised with an STI" -- it's because the producers don't know and don't want to know. They leave it up to the performers to disclose their HIV status (and other medical conditions) to one another (or not.)

  8. First, in fairness to my Gay colleagues, I don't think that any producers or directors knowingly pair HIV+ players with HIV- players. Generally this is discussed quietly in advance and, through the process they call "informal sero-sorting," HIV+ performers are placed together by mutual agreement. I still think it's medically unwise, but I'm not a doctor and don't want to start a new rumble between the respective camps. The only way this becomes an issue is if the imposition of barriers as opposed to testing (and by law, if regulated by the state, they will be opposed) is inflicted on the straight side of the business, where testing certainly appears safer.

    I'm glad to hear that the UCLA panel isn't completely unbalanced, but you can bet that the atmosphere will be very friendly to the pro-condom-mandate position and very unfriendly to the opposing view, which is one reason why I believe more experienced performers with greater experience at debating the issues and don't favor the condom mandate were excluded. Nothing that happens out there is an accident. It's enemy territory and has been for years.

    Though I don't think it will weigh much in the outcome, it's clear that the big campaign push is for the ballot initiative and the debate is being manipulated toward that purpose.

  9. I'm sure the loathsome Paula "Mylanta" Tavrow will be on hand.

    "Time for the pop-shot! Would you like mint or cherry-flavored?"


  10. Ah yes, the charming Dr. Tavrow who, while clutching my arm with grip that could have cracked walnuts, demanded to know what I wanted on my tombstone after all this.

    I opted for mushroom and pepperoni.

    Hers, on the other hand, ought to read "Here lies the self-righteous meddler who helped infect countless young people with HIV."

    Let her clutch her pearls at that.