Saturday, August 18, 2012

Porn Panic 2012: The Syphilis REALLY Hits The Fan; FSC/APHSS Call For Temporary Porn Production Moratorium

I'll simply quote from the statement just released from APHSS just now.

A performer who tested positive for syphilis has been in touch with FSC and is meeting with FSC’s medical professionals to begin partner identification, evaluation and treatment. FSC has called a temporary moratorium on production until the risk to performers in the industry has been properly assessed and all performers have been tested.

APHSS’ doctors have met and discussed the best avenue to protect the performers and have determined that testing the entire population is the most prudent strategy. A determination will be made by the doctors on the appropriate time to lift the moratorium as more information is revealed.
That sucking sound you just heard are the popping of champagne bottles from Michael Weinstein, Shelley Lubben, Gail Dines, and all opponents of porn...because this new development all but assures that the condom mandate ordinance passes in LA County this coming November, and that AHF now has free reign to impose their condom mandate and "barrier testing" regime not only porn produced in Los Angeles, but ultimately everywhere.

After all, who after this will ever trust porn performers to regulate themselves ever again?

It's so much easier to accept the claims of "blacklisting" of pro-condom performers (such as Brittany Andrews, one of the most strident supporters of the condom mandate) who say that intervention is needed to make hetero porn more like gay porn in allowing HIV+  performers to do scenes, and just trust that the condoms don't break. Besides, isn't it for their own good to be the honored sacrificial lambs for "safer sex" and do their part to educate the rabble about the right way to engage in sex??

Of course, the tube sites, the message boards selling all those stolen free bareback scenes, and especially the rogue XXX sites are also popping their champagne bottles, too, because they will be the recipient of the gold mine of underground bareback sales, as the majority of the consumers simply abandon condomized sex. And all the underground, unregulated, and less respectable producers will have a field day, as they will get the full economic benefits of performers forced to go to them to make their paydays when work is eliminated.

But, who cares about all that?? It's all about "performer choice", right?? Except for those who have succeed in protecting themselves without Michael Weinstein's approval.

And, in the meantime, while all this happens, the REAL pandemic of STI's amongst the poor and mostly Black population in California and the US goes on unabated, and the same people so eager to protect performers from themselves cast a blind eye to the denial of decent treatment, or even access to affordable care, for millions of "civilians".

Because forcing dental dams and condoms on porn performers for the purpose of "role modeling" and boosting condom company sales and NCO money is far more important than actually caring for whole neighborhoods suffering and dying.

Enjoy your porn, folks, because it won't be here for long.

[Just my own personal view, folks, and hopefully just not-so-wishful prophecy...but I have my doubts.]


Porn Panic 2012: The Syphilis Hits The Fan

Way back in 2011, when the Adult Industry Medical Foundation (AIM), which had been the primary testing agency for porn performers, finally went broke due to the vendetta campaign by CalOSHA, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, this warning shot across the bow was delivered in these pages by one of the principal founders, managers, and supporters of AIM, Ernest Greene. 

Producers, under the circumstances, may opt out of any responsibility for verifying test results altogether and leave it up to performers to share the information among themselves. That's how it was for the most part back in 1996, when a performer who was HIV+ continued to work for six months with forged test results from an obscure clinic in Calabasas, resulting in a dozen HIV transmissions.

And now we're back to that. Unless somebody goes to the vast trouble and expense of reviving an organization that does what AIM did - as I expect will be discussed to no good end at the F.S.C's emergency meeting - that's the way it will stay until the disaster Michael Weinstein and his pals are hoping for finally happens. They've demonstrated beyond a doubt by destroying AIM that they care nothing for performer health, only for the pursuit of their own financial and political gain, and now that AIM is gone, they undoubtedly think they'll get what they want.

Only they won't. Cal-OSHA will not be able to enforce a condom mandate, even if they manage to get a court ruling allowing them to try, and AHF won't get a contract from the state to spend millions administering its antiquated testing methods and snooping around for non-condom shoots, which will go right on no matter what any outsiders attempt to force on this highly decentralized and disorganized business.

Everyone who was a party to this whole fiasco will be a loser, but the real losers will be the performers themselves, who have now lost the best system they could realistically have hoped for.

Those responsible for this thing are criminals in my eyes and the enormously heightened risk of a catastrophic HIV outbreak in this industry lies squarely on all their heads.

Yes, the industry didn't get up and fight them off as it needed to, but it shouldn't have needed to in the first place. Let's make sure we remember, forever, who actually did what in this deal, because when it explodes in everyone's faces, there will be plenty of finger-pointing going on in the aftermath.

There will never be any accountability for any of this and one of the very best harm reduction programs ever initiated by and for sex workers will be gone with nothing to take its place.

If I were observant, I would go to the nearest synagogue to address an imprecatory prayer petitioning for divine retribution against the evildoers who made this happen, but I'm not and can only curse them personally.

And that I do, until the day I die.
 Since that time, of course, the Adult Performer Health and Safety Services (APHSS) has congealed to take over and improve on the efforts of AIM, and testing companies such as Talent Testing Services and Cutting Edge Testing have emerged with updated and improved procedures and protocols that have at least consolidated the testing process.

The devil in the details, however, is that there is still quite a bit of strife and contentious conflict over how best to approach performer testing and reporting of performers who do contract sexually transmitted infections (STI's), with agents, production companies, and performers all pursuing their own agendas, interests, and beliefs.

And, through it all, the heavy weight of the AHF and CalOSHA, now empowered with the new condom mandate law now in effect in the city of Los Angeles and possibly expanded to include the entity of Los Angeles County pending a vote this coming November, cast a serious shadow over the entire process.

Not exactly an ideal time for yet another panic.

Fortunately, it's not HIV, but syphilis that is the center attraction. But the details emerging about this latest outbreak present a disturbing picture about how parochialism and turf protection allowed a performer to risk his life and the lives of others.

The story actually begins in Budapest in the former Czechoslovokia city of Budapest, where last week, AVN broke the story of a major syphilis outbreak that had shut down totally porn production there.

Yesterday AVN received a tip from a reliable source with knowledge of adult video production in Europe who said that there is currently an outbreak of syphilis in Budapest.

AVN was able to corroborate the tip with Sandy's Models and Brill Babes, two of the biggest modeling agencies in the Hungarian capital.

The infection is widespread enough that all production has been put on hold in Budapest until Aug. 21.

"There is some serious situation here in Budapest," Cameron of Sandy's Models told AVN. "Yesterday the Labor [department] sent a warning e-mail that they found that syphillis-infected people’s number dramatically increased."

AVN Hall of Famer Rocco Siffredi, who's based in Budapest, told AVN Tuesday that "today the number of people infected are [raised] to 21 and is not over!"

Both Cameron and Eszter of Brill Babes put the number of syphilis infections at 18 (14 females and four males), with eight female performers receiving positive results on Monday alone.

"All the models go to double syphillis check from yesterday, and the whole business stops till the 21st of August," Eszter of Brill Babes told AVN. "After the 21st everyone should retest again, and only the totally clear people are able to work in the future. Maybe the break will take longer; we'll see."

It's not known at this point where the infection originated, but Siffredi pointed out that many foreign performers come to Budapest to shoot, and that he suspects the infection came from somewhere else.

"The big problem is that not only local performers are involved but also Czech and Russian where we believe that this all think start [sic]," he said.
Serious enough for performers in Europe...fortunately, syphilis, unlike HIV, is far more treatable if caught early enough; and the actions of Budapest producers in containing and suspending production will do plenty to ultimately bring the situation under control.

Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before some kind of impact would be felt here in the United States, since so many performers do in fact use Budapest as an alternative haven for shooting porn....and if the condom mandate were to pass in LA and even go nationwide thanks to the efforts of AHF and CalOSHA, places like Budapest could become an even bigger attraction for those avoiding the banishment of bareback sex.

That impact hit full on yesterday. And the repercussions directly involve some of the very protagonists in the current testing wars we have covered here at BPPA.

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The first explosion came with a blockbuster story posted over at AVN by Tom Hymes, which gave full details of some shocking personal testimony by a male performer named Devon Savage, whom had used Talent Testing Services as his main testing source. The story involves what happened when one of TTS's agents just couldn't keep his mouth shut....and how TTS may have covered up a potential nuclear powderkeg.

Some snippage of Savage's testimony, according to AVN: 
My wife and I went in to get our tests updated yesterday [Aug. 8]. We'd been out of town for two weeks on vacation with family. We got back and went into Talent Testing Service (in Northridge), and the two same people were there who are always there. The guy who runs the place and the girl who tests everybody. So I'm sitting there texting, paying the bill, and as I'm sitting there the main guy, who tends to run his mouth a bit, said, "So you know there are four new cases of syphilis in L.A. among performers?"

I looked up and said, "What? What are you talking about?"

He said, "Yeah, there are four new cases of syphilis in L.A., and one of them is a major, major male talent." 

"You mean like major male talent, like one of the big guys?" And I'm naming off names. Obviously, he's not going to give up the names, so he says, "Well, I can't tell you, but I'm just telling you there have been four cases recently of syphilis and one of them is a major male talent." 

At first, I was like, okay, because I've been in the business since 2004, and I'm pretty much used to the way AIM used to do things. When something happened, they told everybody and alerted producers and directors so everyone would be safe. And I didn't really think to ask him at that time, or say anything; I just sort of let it roll over me, saying something like, "Really there are four cases here? Because there are 20 or so cases in Europe."
 Savage's wife, FYI, is performer Ariella Ferrera; she verified Devon's story for AVN.

Obviously concerned why this news of an mini-outbreak wasn't front page news, Savage contacted the TTS manager, only to get the nurse who drew his test sample, who simply denied that the manager had said what he did say, and to assure Devon that the infected performers were getting treatment. But when Savage asked whether or not TTS was informing other producers and performers of the outbreak so that they could take some action to protect other performers, he essentially got the runaround.

He then attempted to contact the other major testing facility, Cutting Edge Testing...where he got the ear of the clinic physician there, Dr. Peter Miao:

I don't know the guy and don't know his credentials, but he is the doctor over there at Cutting Edge. He gets on the phone and said, "Well, you know, we don't test for syphilis because it's so rare. We don't test for it but every three to six months."
I said, "I am telling you right now that I was just told that four brand-new cases, one being a major male talent, has happened over at TTS. I just left the place and that's what they told me."
He's like, "Well, it's kind of a waste to do those tests on syphilis because we get a lot of false positives."
"I don't care if you get a thousand false positives," I said. "If there was one positive in there, we need to know about it."

And he's like, "Well, it's just kind of a waste, and it's a lot of effort and money." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. He was just telling me the chances of getting syphilis, but I was telling him, "Dude, there are four new cases. I'm not asking for your breakdown of the history of the disease."

I said, "Well, I was just told that four people are positive, so wouldn't you want to start checking people in the industry so this doesn't get worse?" Because it can go from four people to 40 people to 400 people in a very short time. He just basically disgusted me on the phone, and gave me no answers and gave me no sense that he was going to do anything or follow up with anything.
Now, in some defense of Dr. Miao, he did sound quite a bit more informed when he was approached by AVN in a followup call...and perhaps the reason he was a bit surly to Savage was because he, like everyone else, had not heard anything about a syphilis outbreak in the US.

A short time later, Savage recieved a call from the original manager of that TTS station in Northridge, attempting to cool things down by notifying Devon that everything is cool because the LACDPH was informed of the infected performers and they are receiving treatment. When Devon attempted to ask what TTS was doing to alert other performers and producers of these performers so that they can prevent them from working and possibly infecting others, he got the cold shoulder treatment.

So all of this is taking place while we were still out shopping, but then we go home and a couple of hours later my phone rings with a number I don't recognize. I pick it up, and lo and behold, it's the manager from TTS, and he says, "Hey, Devon, you don't have to worry about any of that."
 
"I don't have to worry about what?"

"You don't have to worry about that syphilis thing because we have it under control," he said.

"You have it under control?"

He said, "Yes. The people that got it are being treated and are not working right now, and we have let the County Health Department know."

I asked him, "How can you guarantee that they are not working? If you are not letting people know they have it, why would a guy whose bread and butter is having sex for a living stop just because he's got syphilis and is taking medication for it?" I said, "How can you confirm that they're not working? Did you follow them from their house as they go about their day?"

My point was that if you take a major male talent who you have just told has syphilis—and the guy knows he has syphilis already and knows there's nothing he can do about it, and he's taking medication, I don't know how long you've been in this industry, but I know there are quite a few people who would say, 'Fucking bag it, I'm not going to lose three months of work, because it's three months of work and three shots.'

And, as far as people they may have already worked with, they're not doing anything about that! That's why I was calling. I told him, "You guys have to alert producers and directors so they can get a handle on this and find out who these people have worked with and stop them from working." 

I told him it's useless to just tell the County Health Department and then presume to think that talent are going to stop performing. I said, "That's stupid. They might just take the medication and keep performing because no one is ever going to know they had it."
He didn't know what to say other than, "It's handled. Don't you worry. Everything's cool. We told the County Health and all these people are getting medicated and they are not performing right now." So then we hung up. 

Look, when I walk out of TTS and somebody tells me four performers came down with syphilis and one of them is a major male performer, and they're not doing anything about it, I'm going to let people know.
But the real fun began when AVN contacted Sixto Pacheco, the owner of Talent Testing Services, for his side of the story. Apparently either Sixto knows nothing about his staff blurting out sensitive and private information about their clients....or he knows and is simply playing CYA games.

Immediately after speaking with Devon Savage, this reporter sent TTS owner Sixto Pacheco the following email:

Hi Sixto,

I recently spoke with a male talent named Devon who said he was informed yesterday by the manager of your Northridge facility that there are four new cases of syphilis in Los Angeles, and that County Health had been informed. I would like to confirm that information with TTS, and also ask what is being done as a follow up. Your manager told the male talent that County Health has been notified and the four performers are not working, but I am also curious whether TTS is following up with additional testing for the four and also with any of the partners they may have worked with, and also whether any studios have been informed of these cases. 

I am working on a story now and would greatly appreciate any information you can give me that will help explain exactly what happened.
Yours,

Tom

I also called and left a voicemail with Sixto at the same time. After receiving no response to either the email or the call, I made another call on Friday, during which I spoke with Sixto from the TTS offices in Miami.

After informing him that the purpose of the call was to follow up on questions asked in the email, he said, "We have no comment. Our branch manager out there has no authority to say things about statistics of our talent population in terms of testing."

I replied that even if that's the case, Devon said he did say something.  "Unfortunately, then, I have to say that we have no comment about that," Sixto replid [sic].

When pressed again that, in that case, could he just confirm whether the cases are real, he said, "Whatever cases arise, we do report them as stipulated by law to the County Health Department for follow-up and further testing."

I then asked why there was a problem confirming what happened, if anything, and added that, unfortunately, the manager may have gone farther than just saying there were cases, Sixto replied, "Even if he did go farther than that, and he wasn't supposed to do that, it doesn't give you the authority to demand additional information. "

I then asked if he could simply confirm what his manager had said, and he said, "I don't even know exactly what he said. You're getting that from a tertiary party." By tertiary, I assume he meant a third party source, but Devon Savage was in fact a primary source for the information that was allegedly given directly by the TTS manager.

I told Sixto that, according to Devon the manager had called him back and repeated the claims made hours earlier in the office.

"Let's take a step back here," said Sixto. "We started offering the syphilis test here as part of our basic panel, and that started about a month ago. If we've had cases that came out to be positive, and again I'm saying if we've had cases that came up positive, then it could be mainly caused ... because we've never tested for it before ... so if you're trying to tie what's happening to what's happening in Eastern Europe to what's happening in L.A., I can't even speculate on that because we don't have previous information.

We said we were not trying to tie anything to anyone, but the alleged cases in Hungary, combined with four alleged new cases in Los Angeles, made this a newsworthy story.

He repeated that he could not tie any European cases to any cases in L.A., and added, "We get positive chlamydias all the time. Is that not newsworthy?"

"It's not as newsworthy," I said, "because cases of syphilis are much rarer," and added that it was apparently noteworthy for the manager at Northridge because he made a big point out of mentioning it to Devon.

"No, he didn't make a big point out of it," insisted Sixto.

"He did according to this other fellow," I replied.

"Then there's your tertiary source," he said. "That's your problem right there."

I said that I could only go by what I was told, and was only trying to find out what really happened, if anything, adding that Devon was very specific about the conversation with the manager and the subsequent call.

"I'm not making any connections with Hungary," I said, "but what I'm being told is that once you get syphilis the antibodies are in your body forever and you will always test positive. So what I'm also trying to find, and what I don't know, is if this is that situation. And do those cases still have to be reported?

"I wouldn't be able to answer that question," said Sixto.

"Why not," I asked.

"Because that's confidential information," he replied. "You're asking me to give you testing results on presumed positive cases, which I cannot confirm."

"No, I am not," I said. "I am asking about legal requirements. I read on the L.A. County Health Department site yesterday that syphilis has to be reported within one day, but what I don't know is if that holds for someone who comes in who previously had syphilis..."

"All cases," he said, referring to the reporting requirement. "Any case that comes up positive, any case. It's not positive ... it's called a reactive case. It doesn't mean it's an old or new case; it can be any case."

"This is kind of unfortunate," I said. "I'm trying to get some basic information, because a performer was concerned about what happened to him at TTS. He was told something that concerned him. Now I'm just trying to find out if the cases were there, and are they new cases that were they sent to County.

"We wouldn't know," he said.

"You wouldn't know?"

"We wouldn't know because we started testing for syphilis a month ago," he said. "We don't know if it's an old case, a new case. What we do know is that we need to report it to the County Department of Health."

"Okay, so you guys don't know. That's helpful. That's information I didn't know. Look, I'm only working on information provided me, that [your Northridge manager] called Devon back and told him the performers aren't working anymore and Health had been notified. He told him not to worry, they're on medication, Health has been notified and they're not working anymore. Three very specific pieces of information."

"That I will not confirm or deny," he said. "If our guy said that, he's not supposed to be saying that and if you want me to confirm the information..."

"That is why I was calling..."

"I'm not going to confirm it."

"Okay, I appreciate your time."

"Okay, bye."

"Bye."
The interesting thing here is that Pacheco basically uses the old "we can't confirm or deny that four performers tested positive for syphillis, but our hands are tied because we have to report any positive test for any STI to LACDPH...and that's privileged private information we can't reveal" card. Funny that, since one of the main reasons why Pacheco refused to allow TTS to join the APHSS database was to protect TTS's "privacy" and their protocols, which explicitly state that the LACDPH would be the first to be contacted if a performer tested positive for HIV or any other STI....but they themselves would not be bound to reveal any positive tests to anyone else, not even other production companies, due to privacy laws. (Well, that and the concerns about the alleged lack of security of the APHSS database, despite the fact that the database would only contain the performers' name and their verification of clean health status.)

Of course, one could also point out that TTS might have something far more ulterior in taking their stand of "independence" against what they charged was an monopoly against them by their competitors Cutting Edge Testing, who was essentially formed out of the ashes of AIM, whom had the full institutional support of the Free Speech Coalition, whom had formed APHSS in the first place to be AIM's chief successor in consolidating testing protocols, and which had further gained the trust and backing of the huge porn conglomerate Manwin, which owned such entities as Brazzers, MoFos, Digital Playground, and many other adult production companies.

And also....there is the just as fascinating intervention of some of the biggest porn talent agencies in favor of TTS against the Manwin/FSC/APHSS cartel/conglomerate. People like former performer Shy Love, who now heads up one of the larger porn talent agencies, ATMLA, and who has been one of the loudest voices against APHSS and CET and for TTS; especially for the principle of "choice" and "flexibility" in performer testing. Why, it's practically un-American and very dangerous, or so they say, to have one testing agency control all of performer testing, especially one that has the backing of a corporate behemoth like Manwin! There MUST be freedom of choice for performers to select the best company that serves their particular needs at an affordable price!

Never mind that it was exactly that "freedom of choice" that enabled Tony Montana in 1994 to find an agency that would modify his positive HIV test and allow him to continue to work unabated while HIV+....which set off the major porn outbreak back then.  And, never mind that that "freedom of choice" allowed Darren James to travel to Brazil, get infected with HIV, and then return to shoot a live scene that ended up infecting three other performers in 2004. (There is some speculation that maybe Lara Roxx, the other centerpiece of that outbreak, may have brought her own infection to that shoot, but that is only speculation for now.)

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And, oh, how that "freedom of choice" now looks, because of that other nuclear explosion of a bombshell that dropped. The credit for this one, though, goes to XBiz.com:

One Male Performer Is Positive for Syphilis, Agents Say

LOS ANGELES — There is one male performer in the Los Angeles porn community who tested positive for syphilis in July and worked three times with a doctored STI test during the past three weeks, talent agents Shy Love and Derek Hay told XBIZ Thursday afternoon.

The performer, who was on Love’s Adult Talent Managers roster until this morning, admitted to working while knowingly positive with syphilis, and also to doctoring his test. The admission was made to both Hay, the owner of LA Direct Models, and the production executive that realized the test had been altered.

Love, who cut the performer from her roster earlier today after finding out, said she and Hay wanted to notify the community that there is in fact a positive syphilis performer.

“Our first instinct was the safety of the talent,” Love said. “We’re not going to hide something because the talent happens to be on our roster. It’s important to make talent aware that there is one positive performer and they should get tested because there is a potential risk right now.”

Love said the positive performer went behind her without the agency’s knowledge to book the three scenes in which he has worked since testing positive. One of the scenes was with one of the female performers at LA Direct Models, Hay confirmed.
That's right, Clones: Tony Montana Marc Wallice rides again. [See latest comment by Ernest Greene below for correction.] A performer is able to fake his tests and still perform and infect others while his agent and the testing agency sits around and does nothing to resolve the case...or, alert others.

I'm pretty sure you can make a logical guess where the performer was tested now.

And based on that, you now know why Sixto Pacheco was so silent to AVN.

But, this isn't even the first time that TTS or Shy Love has been the center of alleged chicanery. Remember the 2011 false positive scare where a performer using TTS was originally reported as contracting HIV...only to be cleared when APHSS intervened and ran their own tests at their facility??  Remember that it was only when the performer approached APHSS with the concerns about the false positive that a moratorium on shooting scenes was imposed??

Also remember that during the last meeting of agents and performers that Shy Love hosted this year attempting to rally people for TTS and "freedom of choice" regarding performer testing, one of CET's representatives there had made a charge that during that 2011 scare, Love had actually solicited for the private medical records of not only "Patient Alpha", but all of his first- and second-generation partners..which would be a gross violation of federal HIPPA laws? (Love strenuously denied the charge.)

But yet, Shy Love and Derek Hay were more than willing, even as they were waylaying APHSS for attempting to undercut Talent Testing, to allow one of ATMLA's performers to not only cover up a positive test (and even mask it in order to keep shooting), but to sabotage the one measure -- verification through the central APHSS database -- that would have probably nipped this whole thing in the bud as early as July.

And remember...this poor fellow was infected even before the outbreak in Budapest, so what's to say that there isn't a genuine connection between the two after all??

And the worst thing??  If the performer was diagnosed in July, yet he was so able to get into his records and alter them to cloak his test, then what does that say about the security of medical information over at Talent Testing Services?? Especially since they were so busy attacking the security of APHSS as a reason for not signing on with their services??

There is another disturbing aspect to this as well: Talent Testing Services recently joined forces with the University of California at Los Angeles to sponsor and help conduct a survey on STI's within the adult industry; wheras TTS promised discounts and free treatment for those performers willing to engage in the survey. Why is this disturbing?? Because UCLA just so happens to be one of the main instigators for activism for the condom mandate, through their Reproductive Work Group. They have sponsored seminars and offered reports explicitly propagandizing about the dire threat of a porn "pandemic" of STI's, requiring drastic action, including mandatory condoms and other "barrier protection". One such report has been debunked for greatly inflating the depth of STI infections within porn (multiple reports of infection turned out to be the same person tested repeatedly while infected, but counted as seperate infections).

Finally, there is the basic fact that Talent Testing has said that they would immediately report any positive tests to the LACDPH, as required by law, but they would not guarantee that they would share any information about positive tests with any other performer or production company, citing privacy laws. The problem here, as Mark Kernes has reported for AVN, is that LACDPH is not exactly an unbiased source when it comes to using performer records for its own ideological purposes; and the fear is that they would exploit any positive test as fuel for their campaign to smear porn in general; not to mention that they would probably publicize and shut down production even before any positive test was verified....or was proven to be false, as was the case in 2011. At least with AIM (and with APHSS), they would verify any initial reactive tests with follow up testing before announcing them to the public and imposing any moratoria on production, within the 24 hour time frame before they inform LACDPH.

So, let us review here what we have: An agency that insists on their right of "freedom of choice" to offer alternative testing for porn performers allows a performer to test postive for syphilis, then alter their test so that they continue to shoot scenes for a whole month while infected, and then only runs him after they find out he's infected. The testing company who discovers the test denies in public to their own performer clients that they tested an infected performer, but is more than willing to give that info to the local health agency...which is up to their nipples in the campaign to force condoms, dental dams, and other forms of "barrier protection" on performers and blow up the very testing and screening regimen that has protected performers from massive STD outbreaks very well since 2004. Moreover, that testing company is in cahoots with another agency that is part of the campaign to destroy testing and replace it with the condom mandate, and being supported in full financially and institutionally by the talent agencies who challenge the existing regimen.

And...AIM was destroyed to create THIS clusterfuck.

To be fair, all the parties have now reacted with breathtaking speed to the syphilis threat: Manwin has now suspended production of all its satellite sites and instituted tougher standards for testing; both TTS and CET now offer free syphilis testing to all their performers, and APHSS has now added syphilis testing to its testing protocols.  So, there is hope that this latest episode can be handled before things really get hairy.

In the meantime, though, there are some serious questions that need to be raised about why Talent Testing Services and the agents who so back them in their little coup against APHSS and Cutting Edge Testing and Manwin are so willing to undercut their own principles just to get their monopoly. As much as AIM may have had their issues, their commitment to the welfare of performers was unquestioned and unmatched; the attempts to smear their record, and to undermine efforts by APHSS to retain and expand on that commitment through fractionalization and distortion, is not only counterproductive, but, in the midst of AHF, LACDPH, Shelley Lubben, CalOSHA, and the war to drive porn out of Los Angeles, it is dangerously close to betrayal.

But I guess, as always, we shall see what we shall see when we see it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Porn Panic 2012: The Testing Wars: Here Comes The Spin

I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't post the reactions from both sides of the now aborted compromise that would have unified performer testing across the board.

First...the statement by Talent Testing Services on their decision to break completely with APHSS:

Talent Testing Service, Inc. worked diligently to comply with three basic requirements in order to appease the Manwin/FSC/APHSS model of presenting a unified reporting system. These three items were:

1. Change our web portal to demonstrate a "Cleared/Not Cleared" status of results instead of showing the actual test results.

2. Automated transfer of Talent Status to the APHSS Database.

3. Cooperate in helping to build protocols in case of a positive case.

Once these three items were completed, Manwin/FSC/APHSS was to issue a press release indicating that it would accept TTS test status to be viewed in the TTS web portal by its producers and agents. After completing the first two items, TTS was asked to provide its protocols for handling positive cases to Manwin/FSC/APHSS. We indicated that this was not part of our agreement, that we would assist and help to create these needed protocols (as agreed), but we would not have ours copied for use at Manwin/FSC/APHSS. We consider these protocols to be proprietary and confidential. At this time Manwin/FSC/APHSS demanded to see these procedures for which we declined.

“It has become evident that our initial position of not participating in the Manwin/FSC/APHSS mechanism for testing/reporting is the correct one.” said Sixto Pacheco, president and CEO of TTS. “We have always believed that industry testing laboratories should be completely unbiased and unattached from any other industry affiliated organizations in order to avoid any misconception about the validity of the testing being performed. Furthermore, the manual entry of a talent's "Status" into the Manwin/FSC/APHSS database by any participating facility is an unsafe practice,” added Mr. Pacheco.

TTS will continue to provide the level of service our stakeholders are accustomed to by providing the latest testing methodologies coupled with our technology based platform without sacrificing our Quality and Privacy Policies and Protocols in place.

Talent Testing Services, Inc. caters to clients by providing the most up-to-date technology. The company uses QR Codes for validating printed test results, as well as a convenient mobile page for verification of authenticity on-demand and access to actual test results. Producers/Agents as well as Talents are provided with a personal online dashboard that provides access to historical and most recent testing information. Furthermore, Talents can set up automatic reminders for next test dates.
 So, apparently, the deal breaker was the insistence that TTS incorporate their protocols for contacting performers possibly testing positive for STI's into the APHSS database, which they balked at for what they deemed "security" reasons.

Not to be outdone, of course, APHSS was quick with their own counter response.
This is the first word we have received from Talent Testing Services that they have chosen to stop sending data to the APHSS database. We regret this decision by TTS since it will have a negative effect on performers and producers.  Further, it obviously endangers adult production industry self-regulation protocols, especially at a time when the industry is under fire from outside interests that support mandatory condom legislation.

We have done everything possible to compromise with TTS – despite their objections to participation in APHSS – because we had requests from several producers and agents to include TTS data in the APHSS database. We agreed with producers and agents that including TTS data was the best possible situation for the industry (despite their unwillingness to comply with APHSS policy & protocols), in order to have a complete source of information for active performers.

If TTS is currently in dispute with Manwin over alleged demands placed on them for further cooperation, APHSS cannot comment on these developments as they do not directly involve any negotiations that we have had with TTS. APHSS responded to TTS’ initial demands by providing them with an automated interface to load data into the APHSS system. At that time, TTS agreed to follow APHSS protocols in the event of an STI exposure incident.

However, because of other objections from TTS to APHSS policy, they declined to be included in the APHSS program and so were not able to become an APHSS-recommended facility. It seems that now they have decided to drop out of the program completely, based on their own business interests.

We assume that Manwin has based their company policy on what is most prudent for them, and we commend them for giving serious consideration to establishing health and safety protocols for their company.

The APHSS database was developed by industry stakeholders, attorneys and compliance experts to be a comprehensive source of information, to safeguard self-regulation protocols – as well as providing performers with reliable health services that include doctors and healthcare professionals. The database design was also developed to safeguard user privacy and security.

APHSS-recommended facilities have been chosen from established healthcare providers that have agreed to abide by industry self-regulation protocols, including the presence of on-staff physicians and adherence to  STI exposure protocols. Many of those protocols are based on those developed by the AIM clinic. These components are essential to any industry self-regulation – without them, the industry has little defense against mandated regulation by governmental entities. The essence of those protocols have been effective since they were established in 1998.

In addition, the recently-initiated Performer Subsidy Fund is to be administered through the APHSS system, which will subsidize testing for all performers whose testing data is updated through the APHSS system. Without voluntary TTS updates for performers that choose to use their services, we cannot hope to know which performers have tested there, so subsidizing their test fees will be nearly impossible. Most critically, it will also be impossible for APHSS to gather data on performers that test at TTS, in the event of an exposure incident.

Again, we have had little communication from TTS concerning these latest developments and we hope that their representatives will reconsider the potential repercussions that their decisions will have on the entire adult production community.

We encourage producers and performers to consider carefully their own policies toward industry testing and STI protocols, but acknowledge that all are free to choose the services they wish to use. Producers and performers wanted - and have a right - to a system that offers them choice, reliability and, most importantly, cooperation in the event of any STI exposure incident. APHSS will continue to provide those services and more, now and in the future.
 So, it seems, we are back at Square One, with no organized testing protocols, a divided industry, and AHF/CalOSHA/LACDPH waiting for November and a successful condom mandate law to move in for the kill shot. Heck of a job there, guys.



Porn Panic 2012: The UCLA/Talent Testing Services Sexual Health Study: Empirical Research Or An AHF/Cal-OSHA Blindside For The Porn Industry??

Well, now....the Porn Testing Wars just got a new and ultimately interesting twist this weekend. As if the breakdown of the compromise between the Free Speech Coalition/Adult Performer Health and Safety Services and Talent Testing Services wasn't enough of a twist already.

Talent Testing, you will recall, reported last week that they would now back completely out of the compromise that they reached with APHSS, where they would share their test results with the database that APHSS uses to notify performers and producers of porn of their clearance to shoot scenes.  Basically, they cited incompatability with the protocols required by APHSS, including the requirement of a doctor on staff to verify test results and notify performers who are at risk for positive STI infection, as well as the need to maintain their "independence" from production companies such as Manwin, whom had essentially funded and backed the APHSS standards and protocols, and even offered to repatriate some of the costs of testing for performers. Mostly, though, they were opposed to joining APHSS on the concern that the latter group was, to their eyes, only a fundraising shakedown for the Free Speech Coalition, and biased towards a competing testing group, Cutting Edge Testing, that was formed out of the charred ashes of AIM -- the original testing group that was ridden out of LA in 2010 as part of the campaign to impose condoms in porn -- and whom was fully within the APHSS protocols.

Given the timing of all this happening while the Los Angeles County condom mandate is still being prepared for a November vote, one can marvel at the way that the industry is eating itself at precisely the wrong time.

However, a new and intriguing outside source has intervened to further stir things up a bit.

On Saturday, Talent Testing Services announced that they would participate in a sexual health survey hosted by the University of Cailfornia at Los Angeles (UCLA), in which they would offer their clients incentives (such as discounts on testing and free followup care) to participate in the survey. Essentially, any performer participating in the survey would have to sign a waiver giving UCLA the right to use their information (I assume with names removed for privacy protection) from their tests in whatever way they see fit.

That wouldn't be too much of an issue...except for one inconvenient fact: UCLA has also been the home of some of the more strident and openly hostle advocates of the condom mandate.  In particular, UCLA  - though its Reproductive Health Interest Group - has hosted seminars on performer testing and condoms in porn that have degenerated into nothing more than glorified press conferences for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the LA County Department of Public Health, Cal-OSHA, and other groups seeking to impose "barrier protections" in porn. (One such seminar even allowed Shelley Lubben to become the default "repesentative" of porn performers, while totally freezing out active performers who weren't so zealous towards the condom mandate and willing to torch the industry for its supposed mistreatment and "abandonment" of its talent.)

So, the question remains: Why would Talent Testing knowingly ally themselves with an organization which has openly abetted the agenda of AHF and would ultimately seek to undercut the industry??

At his latest post over at Adult Legal Blog, Michael Fattorosi weighs in one factor that may count: $$$$$:
There is a third potential possibility as well. Many people are now starting to understand that information is worth money. Data mining is a big time business in this world. STI testing results are indeed worth money to the United States government as well as corporations developing new drugs for STIs.

[...]

Performers wanting to receive a $40 gift card and free follow up STI medical care can participate in the study. Which essentially means that UCLA will have the right to their test results and medical care to use as part of their study – in essence a performer waives their right of privacy in so much that the information will could be sold. I am sure this information will be sanitized – meaning names will be removed since UCLA probably doesn’t care about a performer’s name or identifying information – rather UCLA cares about the empirical data – how often one tests, how often one catches an STI, the treatment received for such, how long the treatment lasted and how effective the results of the treatment were. That could be a data goldmine for a drug company trying to develop the next anti-biotic to fight any one of the many STIs on the planet.

How much can a group or organization receive for this type of information ? According to the link I posted to the National Institutes of Health’s grant overview information website, there is no limit. However if you want more than $500,000.00 you have to call the NIH directly. Apparently you cannot just email the application for a grant requests at that level.

I am not saying that Talent Testing Services received the grant themselves, however it does appear that UCLA has indeed received grant money for the study of STIs. The performers present a very unique situation in the world when it comes to STI research. I am going to bet that no where else in the United States does a group of people test for and possibly contract STIs as much as performers do in porn. And now that the testing cycle is being pushed to every 14 days, the amount of information is only going to increase and therefore the potential gold mine of data will increase in value as well.

As I tweeted, “there is gold in them thar HIV tests!”
 But as usual, I have a much darker, less pliable motive in play. Remember that UCLA has been all in with the AHF and Cal-OSHA throughout the entire condom mandate, and AHF has had no qualms in using underhanded tactics in using and acquiring performer records (whether it be using lawsuits to force AIM to hand over personal and private medical information, to using LACDPH staff to go to performers' houses with syringes seeking live blood samples, to exploiting both private message boards and underground sites like the original Porn Wikileaks in order to use private performers' medical records for their own cause). There's nothing that says that there wasn't some grease applied by AHF to get UCLA their grant for this study, and nothing says that the information gathered by this study won't be used by AHF as campaign fodder for their condom mandate ordinance. Or worse, that the information couldn't be conveniently be "sold" to AHF for use as blackmailing performers into compliance, or even recruiting them unwittingly in service to their potential "condom police".

It probably has also crossed Talent Testing's mind, too, that collusion with AHF/UCLA/Cal-OSHA, combined with busting the Manwin/APHSS/FSC/Cutting Edge Testing trust could gain them some serious credibility later on if the condom mandate ultimately passes and withstands court challenges. Clearing out a competitor AND getting paid...not a bad concept.

Now, all of this is simply conjecture on my part...for all I know, Talent Testing is simply taking advantage of an opportunity to contribute to a badly needed assessment of performer testing and STD study. But, considering the timing of all this, at the very least some answers are in order as to why they would do this at this time, rather than at least wait until after the condom mandate issue is resolved.

And, Shy Love and all those agents who are so exercised at defending Talent Testing's right of "independence" should take a step back and ask these same questions.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Porn Testing Wars 2012: Manwin Clarifies Their Stance Against Talent Testing Services; Reinforces Performer Testing Program Pool

Well...the ongoing war of porn performer testing is continuing to get freakier by the day.

Remember that it was reported that a compromise was reached between the porn conglomerate Manwin, the Free Speech Coalition, and independent performer testing comp Talent Testing Services, where TTS results would be allowed into the database being set up by the FSC's Adult Performer Health and Safety Services (APHSS) to monitor test results?

It seems as though the compromise hasn't eased the strife between the two camps, because earlier this week, Manwin announced that it was reneging on its promise to incorporate TTS results....for now, at least.

Apparently, TTS supporters at their latest meeting weren't too satisfied with the terms of what was proposed, and wanted to keep their independence far, far away from Manwin and the FSC, whom offers their own testing through Cutting Edge Testing. Plus, renegade agents such as ATMLA's Shy Love were still pushing the same beliefs that Manwin was simply attempting a shakedown of peformers for FSC, and that allowing CET to be the exclusive agency for testing was simply an attempt to monopolize performer testing at TTS' expense.

So, yesterday, Manwin decided that they couldn't wait much longer, and gave TTS the boot.

Here's their statement, as reposted to XBiz.com:

Further to an announcement made on July 10, 2012, and after much consideration, Manwin has changed its stance with regards to Talent Testing Services. As previously announced, and as of July 1st, Manwin abides by new health standards and procedures. 

The requirements oblige adult entertainers, performing in scenes commissioned for Manwin brands, to provide health tests that are no older than 15 days.

The health tests must be FDA approved for HIV testing, namely the HIV-1 Aptima RNA Qualitive Assay, and its results must appear in the APHSS database. 

Manwin agrees with the APHSS standards and protocols, because they suit industry needs. In addition, Manwin is comfortable working with approved testing services, with procedures and protocols Manwin has reviewed and supported, as is the case with APHSS approved testing facilities.

Furthermore, Manwin requires the testing services to provide the assistance of a full-time doctor on staff, so that the patients who request it can get their tests analyzed and administered, while also getting the care they need in case of a positive test. 

Due to the reasons stated above, at this time, Manwin will not accept STI test results originating from TTS. However, Manwin hopes to continue discussions with TTS, to come to an agreement that will allow them to work together. 

Though TTS is not part of the APHSS program, APHSS and TTS agreed on terms which allowed TTS to provide performer test results to the APHSS information bank, without joining the program. Manwin feels that this is a great step forward.

For now, and until an agreement can be reached, performers will not be able to submit test results from TTS in order to shoot for a Manwin owned brand. 

With regards to the Performer Subsidy Fund, performers may still be reimbursed for partial costs of tests done at TTS, if TTS continues to submit test results to the APHSS program. 

The PSF was conceived by Manwin, and administered by the Free Speech Coalition. Through the Fund, performers may receive a monthly subsidy to help with STI testing costs.
Notice the not quite so subtle hardball being played here: Manwin is saying that if TTS doesn't get their act together and cede to the protocols of the APHSS, then not only will their tests not get sanctioned by any Manwin product, but their performers won't get compensated for their tests, either.

However, it should also be noted, as APHSS stated in a followup article, that performers whom are already members of APHSS who use Talent Testing for their tests will have their tests accepted in their database as long as TTS continues to submit them, and thusly will still have their tests accepted by Manwin...at least, under the compromise agreement thus signed. Here's APHSS's statement:
In a statement, APHSS said: "Manwin has stated that it is their policy to subsidize performers that test at TTS, as long as those performers are signed up for the APHSS program and TTS has submitted data on those performers. APHSS intends to administer the subsidies as planned under this policy."

The Performer Subsidy Fund will be funded by Manwin through the rest of the calendar year.

APHSS officials further emphasized that the compromise with TTS that allows its data to be automatically entered into the APHSS database is "important to ensuring the APHSS database is a complete and comprehensive resource of information for the content production industry."

"As long as TTS continues to submit data to the APHSS database, the data will be updated in our system. That said, for producers that will continue to accept TTS test results, they should be able to verify performer work availability through APHSS."
It's going to interesting to see what TTS's next move will be in this..especially with the pressure from agents like Shy Love who want to maintain their independence from FSC.

The other interesting discussion is in what is motivating Manwin in all of this. Some say that this is merely part of their global plan to take over porn in the wake of the recession; others say that it's a cover for the FSC to maintain their monopoly over performer testing (and thusly for Diane Duke to get paid).

A far less underhanded conspiracy theory comes from lawyer Michael Fattorosi, whom has now revived his long standing adult legal blog, Adult Biz View, in the wake of the recent events. Fattorosi, who blogs and tweets as well under the handle @Pornlaw, thinks that what is really motivating Manwin is the thinly veiled threat of possible legal and criminal action over whether forcing performer testing at the latter's expense violates state labor laws.
Many people within the industry pointed out that this was a very generous, albeit suspicious offer from Manwin. There is a general opinion within the industry that Manwin, through their tubesites, was a direct contributor to the economic downfall of porn production. Why now would they voluntarily come forward and support performers to reimburse testing costs ? Some people even opined that they believed this was Manwin’s attempt to take over medical testing procedures in the industry.

However I think the answer can be found in California Labor Code section 222.5 which reads in relevant part;

“No person shall withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any prospective employee or applicant for employment to pay, any fee for, or cost of, any pre-employment medical or physical examination taken as a condition of employment, nor shall any person withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any employee to pay any fee for, or costs of, medical or physical examinations required by any law or regulation of federal, state or local governments or agencies thereof.”

In short, employees in California cannot be made to pay for pre-employment medical testing, which is exactly what the STD testing is within the adult content production business – a pre-employment test. Without a clean test no production company will or should hire a performer to perform in an adult production.
But hold up, aren't porn performers considered more like "independent contractors" rather than employees?? And thusly, they are immune from such regulations??  Not so fast, sayeth Michael:
I realize that many performers in adult do not and refuse to consider themselves employees. Rather they wish, for whatever reason, to be called independent contractors. I can assure anyone reading this article that performers, for purposes of worker safety laws, are indeed employees and not independent contractors. Perhaps for tax purposes they may be independent contractors. It is possible to be an employee for worker safety laws but yet be an independent contractor for tax purposes.

Further, on January 1, 2012 additional laws when into effect in California making the “willfull misclassification” of employees as independent contractors even more dangerous for employers. Labor Code Section 226.8 imposes significant penalties ranging from a minimum of $5,000 to $25,000 for “each violation.” The civil penalties for one misclassified individual could be tens of thousands of dollars depending on the interpretation of “each violation” and the penalty imposed. Obviously, if Manwin does not take remedial steps to comply with California law in regards to the classification of employees they may face significant penalties as well as potential lawsuits under California’s Private Attorney General Act, which allows individuals to file lawsuits to enforce California law.
And keep in mind, too, that the reclassification of porn performers as "employees" of the production companies they shoot for is the fundamental foundation of the proposed Cal-OSHA "barrier protection" regs, too.  Small wonder that Mike Weinstein of AHF was so aggressive in upgrading the punishments here, too.

And, as Michael points out, this may only be the beginning for porn companies in complying with workplace protection laws:
It is this author’s opinion that Manwin is starting to realize that the performers are indeed employees and are taking steps to comply with California law. Obviously, they are trying to set a precedent with the reimbursement of testing costs, however they still fall short of actual compliance with Labor Code section 222.5. Since the “Performer Subsidy Fund” requires a performer to sign up for the program instead of Manwin paying for the pre-employment testing outright.

None-the-less, Manwin is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to the treatment of performers, however, it is only a half step. At some point all production companies will have to address not only peformers’ testing costs but also the issue of workers’ compensation for on-set injuries.
Of course, the issue of whether or not performers can be compelled to be reclassified as "employers" or "independent contractors" (or both) will probably be hashed out in front of judges as the condom mandate laws and the proposed Cal-OSHA regs face their legal challenges.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jenna Jameson's Endorsement of Mitt Romney: Mavericky Move, Or Just Plain Foolish??

You would think that the war against the condom mandate would be at the top of porn people's minds right now....but the big buzz overtaking Porn Valley this weekend has less to do with defending the right to go unwrapped. It has more to do with more traditional rights...as in, voting for President.

Jenna Jameson may be long since retired from porn, and may have even generally repudiated it (though, to be fair with Jenna, she has not as of yet gone Shelley Lubben or Linda Lovelace), but she still casts a huge shadow on the industry, having been its most visible brand name for the 1990's and early 2000's. Ever since her controversal biography A Cautionary Tale was released around 1997 or so, Jenna has parlayed her notoriety and her porn queen status into a very lucrative and affluent (as far as adult performers go) lifestyle; her net worth has been estimated to be in the range of $20-30 million, according to the CelebrityNetWorth.com website.

I guess that from that alone, you could tell exactly whom she would endorse for President of the United States this coming election.

CBS San Francisco affiliate KCBS-TV first broke the story of Jameson publically endorsing former Massachusetts governor/Republican Mitt Romney over incumbent POTUS/Democrat Barack Obama last Thursday, and it spread throughout the news cycle and the Internet like wildfire pretty rapidly.  At least Jenna was direct and honest about the endorsement: it's all about the Benjamins:
"I'm very looking forward to a Republican being back in office," Jameson said while sipping champagne in a VIP room at Gold Club in the city's South of Market neighborhood. "When you're rich, you want a Republican in office."
Funny, since in 2008 she actually backed a Democrat, Hillary Clinton, for President; and she didn't pull the trigger for John McCain, the ultimate Republican nominee that year who ended up losing to Obama. Perhaps Sarah Palin was just a bit too....shall we say, idiotic for even a diehard GOP'er like Jenna Jameson to take??

But Jenna's endorsement raised some eyebrows for totally serious reasons, too: Mittenz, as I tend to gloss him, was a generally moderate Massachusetts Republican while he was governor of that state, but like most GOP'ers, he has been forced pretty far to the Right due to the pressures of the Religious Right conservatives and the Tea Party "populists" who now have become the predominant voting "base" of the GOTP; not to mention the influence of big money billionaires such as Sheldon Acheson and the Koch brothers, and political commissars like Grover Norquist. And, that would also include going hard right on sexual expression, too; Romney has been most recently loudly about the scrounge of pornography and how he would control it through filters and prosecutions. Indeed, one of the main persecuters of the Bush era antiporn campaigns, Patrick Trueman -- who now heads the group Pornography Harms -- has even boasted that Romney (through his aides) has now endorsed fully their plans to crack down hard on porn speech and expression as an assault on "decency" and "morality".

Also, Romney had (when he was still campaigning for the Republican nomination against Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich) signed a written statement produced by Trueman's organization Morality in Media specifying "strict enforcement of our nation's obscenity laws" and a promise to appoint an Attorney General who would "vigorously" enforce same laws.

Given all that, one could wonder why someone like Jenna Jameson would basically turn so heavily on the industry that gave her her good fortune.

However, it should be noted that most upper-middle-class professional artists tend to become more conservative politically, and there are plenty of porn performers and producers who are otherwise strong conservative Republicans and supporters of Mitt Romney in general. Even someone like Ron Jeremy, who did manage to deliver a vicious smackdown at Rick Santorum for his fundamentalist zealotry against porn, was willing to give Mittenz a benefit of the doubt, calling him "a good man" who "means well", as well as "a good father". (The Hedgehog, though, is still committed to voting for President Obama.)

Some critics have raised some ulterior motive of racism against Blacks as a prime mover of Jameson's voting habits, citing Jenna's hesitance during her career of working with Black male performers (and remember, some of Hillary Clinton's followers were willing to go down that path during 2008); while others far more obtuse have simply blamed way too many facials and creampies and the nature of Jenna's "profession" for her supposed idiocy.

But while all this has become a running snark of the usual double enterdres and adolescent catcalls; there is a serious and often very dangerous aspect of dismissing Jameson's right to express her political opinions due to her chosen profession. "Slut shaming" is about as much a common practice in American culture as baseball and apple pie; and hating on women because of their sexual prowess is a custom that is far, far too common. It's more overt on the conservative side of the spectrum because that's where the more predominant antisex/antiporn attitudes lie...but it's not totally absent on the political Left, either.

The fact that Jenna Jameson happens to be a conservative Republican should not be an excuse by anyone calling him/herself a liberal or "progressive" (or any other political label, for that matter) to demonize or diminish her as a fully grown woman merely because you don't like her choice of profession or her private sex life. (And that goes to infinity for YOU, Gail Dines....I see your next CounterPunch essay working, madame.)

Also, for all you progs/libs/Lefties who are enjoying the spectacle of Jenna Jameson being raked over the coals for her conservative views: I suppose that some of you are the very same ones who were sporting #ImWithSECupp hashtags when the MSNBC hostess/right-wing libertarian/atheist apostate got satirized by Larry Flynt's HUSTLER magazine in June with the notorious "dick in her mouth" photoshop. But, if what HUSTLER did was over the top and pretty close to "misogyny", then what do you think the vicious smearing of Jenna Jameson for being a porn icon is?? Education??? Never mind that none of that pseudo-feminist solidarity with Cupp transformed her into her any less of an antifeminist/anti-contraception Tea Party sychophant. But then again, when Gail Dines can still get more run for her idiocy about porn in lefty circles while Nina Hartley, who has more authentic lefty/prog/feminist cred in her right butt cheek than a thousand clones of Dines put together, it shows how much real learning folks of the Left could use about their own sex negativity.

Jenna Jameson can and will live with her political endorsements. Maybe we can all do the same, whether or not we agree with her.