Gossip

Harvey Weinstein, Miramax Culture and The Porn Star Escort Connection

The entertainment world was rocked in October when more than a dozen women accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them as the likes of just a few porn star escorts do

Weinstein and his brother Bob founded Miramax in 1979. The brothers sold Miramax to Disney in 1993, but stayed on to run the company until they left to form The Weinstein Company in 2005.

Interestingly, Miramax was sold by Disney to Filmyard Holdings, a joint venture of Colony NorthStar, Tutor-Saliba Corporation, and Qatar Investment Authority, in 2010. Colony NorthStar as in private equity firm, Colony Capital, the company founded by billionaire Thomas Barrack Jr. that initially had been interested in bailing out The Weinstein Company after the accusations against Harvey Weinstein led to his dismissal last month.

Zeitgeist

They say that a fish rots from the head down. What effect might having Harvey Weinstein as a leader have wreaked upon Miramax and its related companies?

If Miramax and Colony Capital sound familiar to MikeSouth.com readers, it might also be because of a 2013 sex scandal that involved adult stars Trinity St. Clair, Samantha Saint and “Mr. Rich”, a.k.a. Richard Nanula, then-chairman of the Miramax film company and a principal at Colony Capital.

If you recall, St. Clair booked Saint for a June 12, 2012 content shoot for TrinityStClair.com to be filmed at a private residence in Malibu, California. Saint did the scene, and later discovered that the male talent was actually Nanula, then 53, after he carelessly paid her in cash placed in an envelope marked ‘Colony Capital’.

After shots from the video appeared on TheDirty.com, all hell broke loose and Nanula left his posts at Miramax and Colony Capital effective July 7, 2013. At that time, Barrack took Nanula’s seat at Miramax.

Nanula was reputed to have been a client of many Los Angeles area escorts, including some adult performers. The widely-reported scandal revealed a scam by Nanula, fronted by St. Clair, to allow him to purchase sex from adult performers who did not escort. Instead he booked them for what they thought was a scene opposite “Mr. Rich”.

Performer Sarah Shevon, who had also been tricked into taking such a booking, was outraged in her L.A. Times interview: ‘I don’t like how there are these guys who have a lot of money and power and they feel like they can just take advantage of girls or get whatever they want out of them by throwing money at them.” But that’s the Miramax way, it would seem.

Signs

Like Weinstein, Nanula had a very long history of sex addiction. According to filings in the divorce action involving his then-wife, Tracey, in 1999 Nanula attended a sex addiction therapy program in San Rafael, Calif.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tracey “said she had forced her husband to enter sex therapy after she found he had spent as much as $10,000 on a prostitute. She says he first learned the truth in 2001 from credit card bills and checks paid to escorts.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in 2003, following “a six-day stint at a rehabilitation facility, Nanula told his wife that he was cured of his addiction…. But Tracey Nanula said in the declaration that she ‘could not escape the realization that [Nanula] had been having sex with prostitutes and other women for some 16 years and lying to me about our lives together.’”

The January before his sex scandal hit the news, Nanula was named in a sexual harassment suit filed against him personally and against Colony Capital. A woman named Stephanie Shaw, a former paralegal at the company, claimed Nanula groped her buttocks in an ‘unwelcome, extreme, and offensive’ in January 2012.

Harvey Weinstein, Miramax Culture and Chad White

The return of Mr. Rich

Nanula ran away from Trinity St Clair after the scandal broke, and has kept a low public profile since the events of 2013. But sources confirm that he is still booking adult performers at present. Young women who’ve come forward under condition of anonymity claim that a group of male performers have replaced St. Clair as Nanula’s ‘main guys’.

One performer recalls Nanula trying to hire her for a live sex show at his Malibu home in 2015, when she was new to the L.A. porn scene. He had procured her cell number from a male talent, who planned to be the one to do the sex show with her.

“He sent me several text messages a day trying to indulge in dirty talk, without paying or booking me. I eventually told him that I don’t give out free labor and blocked him. The few times we did exchange messages, he would insist that I give him other female performers’ phone numbers and he would compensate me with a ‘finders fee.’ I would never invade a fellow performer’s privacy by sharing their information with a fan but, unfortunately, not every performer shares that moral. I later found out the male talent that offered my number to Richard had never met him but still felt comfortable telling me that Richard was a good client that could be trusted.”

The “live sex show” was likely a bait and switch play because, according to the female performer, Nanula has, “still to this day, never hired that male talent for a live show, as he had promised.”

As far as I’m concerned, if someone wants to relieve a rich dude of some of his cash in exchange for a couple hours of her time, that’s all fine. They’re consenting adults. However, some starlets allege that at least one of the performers pressures them incessantly to meet Richard in Malibu. They claim he indicates that it would be in the best interest of their careers if they did so, because he is on excellent terms with many adult producers. The flip side of this inducement is an implicit threat, they say: that they will lose work if they say no. Some women claim to have been badgered and bullied. If true, that is coercion and definitely not okay.

Everybody knew

These allegations, like those against Harvey Weinstein, have been whispered about in porn circles for some time. The question now becomes, will someone stand up for the women who charge that they have been pressured and coerced, or will members of the adult business simply stay silent as Hollywood did?

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