This is surprisingly enough true of even the more "progressive" media, which you would expect to be a bit more reality based and prone to actually investigate the facts...but when it comes to issues involving sex and porn, it is all too common for putative liberals to adapt the common neoliberal line that performers are simply too naive or slutty or whatever to be listened to, unless they speak the approved party line of "we must protect you from yourselves, since you are incapable of regulating yourself."
Such is the state of mind of one reporter for the Los Angeles bureau of the Huffington Post, Kathleen Miles, on her reporting of the recent HIV porn scare.
Last Tuesday, Miles posted an "exclusive" column under the guise of an interview with performer Cameron Bay, one of the infected performers, which seemed like a thinly veiled attempt to carry the propaganda line of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation: read, that the porn industry is essentially a meat grinder that chews its talent up and spits them out as disposable and diseased, and only AHF's solution of mandatory condoms can save such talent from such destruction and exploitation.
Now, it would take a whole fisking to decipher and debunk all of the assumed distortions and thinly veiled assumptions of that original article...but fortunately, The Real Porn Wikileaks has spared me the need for such with their excellent analysis. So, I'll just refer you over there.
However, Miles has now posted a follow up article today reporting on the press conference that AHF held yesterday which featured not only Bay and her boyfriend Rod Daily, but also two newly minted "victims" of the current HIV scare (performer Patrick Stone and an unamed "Performer #4" that had been hinted to by Weinstein in the past), as well as the old standbys Darren James (the point man in the original 2004 HIV outbreak that claimed him and 2 other performers), and Derrick Burts (the former gay "rentboy" and performer for hire who was infected in a condom only shoot in Florida).
And if anything, today's article might be worse for its lack of factchecking than the original. Mostly, it uses the guide of reporting the comments of the speakers of Weinstein's comments as gospel truth, without any regard for actually analyzing what they said for truthfulness.
The byline claim so subtly suggested by the risque title of Miles' piece was that Cameron Bay herself was sort of blindsided into doing that infamous Public Disgrace shoot for Kink.com on July 31st, and thusly was either tricked into or otherwise unprepared for the wildness that took place in that shoot.
For those who missed it, Bay did suffer injuries to her breast when one of the participants bit down on her just a bit too hard and damaged some internal tissue, which required treatment afterwards.
But I guess that that wasn't good enough to serve her new masters, so at the AHF presser, she fired off a new and far more disturbing claim:
With news cameras flashing, adult film performer Cameron Bay told reporters that in her last porn shoot before testing positive for HIV, her partner's penis was bleeding -- and he wasn't wearing a condom. After stopping momentarily, the cameras continued rolling, she said.
Choking back tears, Bay continued to describe her last shoot, filmed at a public bar in San Francisco for Kink.com.
"There were up to 50 people in the room with us. And we were laying on top of them. And they were touching inappropriately," Bay said. "It all happened so fast. I didn’t realize how unsafe it was until I saw the pictures ... You're on a whole other level when you're doing something so extreme."That's some kind of naivete for a performer whom had been shooting porn for 2 years (9 months in Cali, but otherwise in her home base of Arizona), and whom had been shooting glory hole vids and even escorting out of her home (TRPWL posted an escorting ad she had posted back in May of 2011). It's as if she and her boyfriend had never heard of Kink.com and their protocols for shooting their BDSM scenes, or that she didn't think that in a sex scene involving more than, I don't know, 5 people, there would be some "inappropriate" touching.
Bay told HuffPost last week that condoms were available, but not required at the shoot. She said she didn't think she needed to use a condom because her male costar had recently tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases, and she left the choice up to him. Kink.com confirmed to HuffPost that Bay was offered a condom, but it was not used.
And also, let's forget the fact that basic Kink.com protocols call for pre-shoot interviews with all performers involved in production so that they know what they are getting into, and also allow all participants to abort their scenes should even the notion of personal injury emerge. So..why didn't Cameron, upon seeing the sight of her shooting partner's bloody penis, simply exercise her right to terminate the shoot and walk away? For that matter, why didn't she walk away right when her breast was bitten??
There is also that slight point that all Kink.com shoots involving hetero sex allows for the option of either one of the partners asking for the use of a condom during the shoot if wanted. (For gay or trans shoots, condoms are mandatory.) Bay claimed both in the first Miles interview and the AHF presser that she didn't take advantage of that right because she was assured that there would be no issue since her screen partner had tested negative prior to the shoot. She now claims that she would now request a condom if asked.
The assumption here by Bay (originally created by AHF puppetmaster Michael Weinstein and passed on by Kathleen Miles) was that it was this shoot in which she was infected, and that it was that act with the bloody penis which signified the essential threat of noncondomized sex that condoms would protect the performers from.
The problem is, however, that assumption doesn't fly too well with the fact that everyone who performed in that particular Public Disgrace shoot was tested and retested several times both before and following that shoot....and all were found to be free and clear of any virus, including HIV.
It should be noted that Weinstein is not exactly an impartial party to this battle; since AHF has filed an official complaint with Cal-OSHA for sanctions and fines for Kink.com over the Public Disgrace shoot, based on the assumption that Kink knew that Cameron Bay was HIV+ at the time she shot with them, but still carried on with the condom-free shoot anyway. That investigation is still ongoing.
But that distortion pales in comparison with what Miles does with one of the other "victims" paraded out by Weinstein yesterday. Here's what she types about Patrick Stone, the self-described "gay model" who claims, in spite of two subsequent negative tests, that he was infected and even offered a shoot by Kink.com while he said he was "infected":
Porn performer Patrick Stone told reporters he was asked to perform in a shoot even after he tested positive for HIV. He said he was told he was HIV-positive in an email on Sept. 10 from Performer Availability Screening Services, which handles STD testing for the industry. Stone said he never got a follow-up call or email from PASS, or from his employer Kink.com, to discuss the results or schedule follow-up testing. Instead, he got an email from Kink.com two days later inquiring about scheduling a shoot this week, he said.Right. Sure. Uh-huh. Nuh-uh. FSCPASS protocols in fact do NOT simply call for any performer who tests positive or reactive for an STI to be merely emailed. They are explicitly called to their offices for direct one-on-one counseling, retesting, and, if needed, referal for treatment. Natually, Stone doesn't say whether or not he used PASS for his retesting or whether he used AHF's antibody tests, which have been proven to be far less accurate and has a longer latency period for infections to escape detection. Plus, any positive tests are required to be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health as required by law...and last time I checked, only Cameron Bay and "Performer #3" (whom has been confirmed as a female performer who was a close friend and possibly even intimate with Bay and Daily) had been confirmed by the LACDPH as being HIV+ through the PASS process.
Since then, Stone has taken two additional tests that he said show him as HIV-negative. He said he's awaiting results from a fourth and final test.
"It's been kind of a whirlwind week for me emotionally," Stone said. "I feel that the testing process for PASS is not working. If I was allowed to fall through the cracks like I did, who else is out there?
"I mean, they had me scheduled for a shoot tomorrow and as far as they knew, I was HIV-positive," Stone said.
And as for the other intimation that Kink.com deliberately went after Stone in spite of his "known" HIV status? Well, there's this from Kink's statement this morning:
On the straight side of the industry, 28 day testing is mandatory. If someone fails a test, they don’t work on a straight set. Period. Patrick Stone’s booking confirmation with us was tentative because we did not yet know his status; in order to shoot with Kink he would have had to retest clean. Anything else is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation.Let us not forget that according to Stone's own testimony, the initial outreach by Kink for a shoot happened two days after he was allegedly informed via email by FSCPASS that he was HIV+. Unless Kink in San Francisco was getting free access to the FSCPASS database in Los Angeles, and had prior knowledge of Stone's tests, I'd consider it highly questionable that Kink knew of this change of status. Plus, it takes two to negotiate a booking, and why didn't Stone simply reveal to Kink that there was an issue with his medical status and respectfully deny the shoot?
In any rate, September 12th was also the date that Perfomer #3 was confirmed and the moratorium was reinstated, and any bookings by then would have been rendered null and void anyway. That was the main reason Kink required the retest in order to clear Stone for shooting.
A simple Google search or actually contacting Kink.com would have sufficed to debunk this attempted distortion.
To be fair to Miles, she did attempt a token balance of Stone's accusations, and then left it hanging:
Kink.com said that it did not know about Stone's positive HIV test when it scheduled him for the shoot.Remember that FSCPASS had ordered a reset of all testing, with only those testing after today being cleared to shoot when the present moratorium is lifted on tomorrow.
"He had tested negative for us previously. Because of the moratorium, tests were not updated on the PASS system for producers (because no one was cleared for work)," Mike Stabile, spokesman for Kink.com, said in an email to HuffPost. "He would have been required [to take] a new test regardless before shooting."
One last caveat about Patrick Stone's allegation: it sounds so familiar, but I just can't remember where I last heard of it. Oh, yeah, now I remember...
Maybe Huffington Post Los Angeles should find themselves some better reporters...or just have their current columnists invest in some basic journalism classes.