Industry News

The Dark Past of AHF’s Poster Boy, Derrick Burts

NL- All medical information in this story had been previously released/talked about by Derrick Burts in other forums

OPED by Parker Burroughs

TRICKSTER
Born on December 2, 1986, Derrick Allen Burts was raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier, and a Riverside County town in the San Jacinto Valley called Hemet.

Burts fell in love with magic as a child, but set it aside until puberty, when he discovered what we all do – that it helps to have an ice-breaker in social situations. So, Burts dusted off the box of tricks in his closet.

In 2003, during his junior year, he founded the Hemet High School Illusionist Club. The Hemet-San Jacinto Press Enterprise reported that Burts organized a December 11, 2003 a show called the “Hypno-Magic All-Star Spectacular” at the school. Most of the $1,500 raised from the show would be spent on expensive tricks and props for the Illusionist Club, with a portion of the money from the show set aside for donation to his school’s annual “Pennies for Patients” fund-raiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Disappearing Act

While “official story” of Derrick Burts is that, straight out of high school, he followed his passion to become a professional magician and found work on cruise ships, the truth is before he took to the high seas, Burts tried to get into the mortgage business.

In June 2005, David Steidell, the father of one of Burts’ high school classmates, sued Derrick in small claims court over a sum of money he had borrowed to get his mortgage and insurance licenses.

At the time, Burts was working as a junior agent at Equity Leadership Group, in Hemet. Steidell’s son, David Jr. was vice president of Burts’ Illusionist Club, and had recommended him for a job. “He was very personable, and good at talking to people, which is really important as a salesmen,” Steidell recalled. Burts greatest shortcoming, according to Steidell, was “he never followed through.”

“I don’t know what he used the money for — if he ever used it for classes,” says Steidell, but to the best of his knowledge, Burts never earned his licensure.

Steidell also remembers Burts having a troubled family life. “One time the cops came by my house looking for him,” Steidell recalls. “A family member had accused him of stealing a laptop computer, and they asked me if I’d seen it at work.”

After Burts refused to repay the money he owed, Steidell, sued him in small claims court. Burts skipped the July 29th 2005 court date, and Steidell won a default judgment in the amount of $4,829.50. Burts left town soon after, leaving the debt unpaid to this day.

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.

Pictures from that era show a baby-faced, pudgy young man, who gave the appearance of a boy in man’s clothes. His official ID listed his height as 5′ 7″ and his weight as 180 lbs.  By the time Burts moved into porn, his weight was closer to 140-145 lbs. – and the weight loss seemed to happen rather quickly.

Photos from mid-2009 reveal Burts, gelled hair shaped into a faux-hawk, and by late 2009, that shift continues. By year’s end, Burts looked like a total club kid.
On a trip to Las Vegas in December 2009, Burts met a girl named Crystal Tustison. Nearly 24 and a year his senior, she was an aspiring model from California. Crystal had grown up in the suburbs of L.A., and her brown-eyed bleached blonde look typified the California girl – wholesomely sexy.
However, this girl next door had a criminal record.

On June 24, 2009, she and a man named Brian Matthew Wade were arrested for Grand Theft in Newport Beach. The two pled guilty on July 2nd. Both defendants received jail sentences, community service and three years of probation — but Crystal received a thirteen-day jail sentence, and Wade only twelve. The difference in sentencing probably reflects the traffic warrants she’d had outstanding for more than two and a half years — charges to which she also pleaded guilty on that date.

Crystal eventually turned to stripping and nude modeling, and she signed up with Flirt4Free on February 27, 2010, where she performed nude webcam shows. By February, Crystal and Derrick had become an item, but soon Burts’ life seemed to take a wrong turn.

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, and reckless driving. Burts faced arraignment on April 19th.

Court records indicate that Crystal did something to violate the terms of her probation in March 2010, because on the 30th, a court sentenced her to another 15 days in jail.

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

The couple’s relationship was turbulent, and according to sources, the couple was involved in the swinger scene. (Burts, in emails, later copped to having been a swinger in May – June 2010.)

On April 21st, friend and fellow magician Brett A. Myers wrote on Burts’ Facebook wall: “Derrick you really need to stop changing your relationship status. You’re confusing Facebook. Three relationship status changes in 2 days?… I feel like this episode might be a repeat of last month. Didn’t this exact thing [happen] between you guys a few weeks ago?

Burts replied: “THE END! :)”

Brett answered: “But will there be a sequel next weekend? Only time will tell.”

Burts replied: “So your [sic] saying Crystal and I should break up two more times? I will work on it lol.”

PREST-O CHANGE-O

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.

In August 2010, Burts was arrested in LA County and booked for domestic violence and misdemeanor-level assault. It is unclear whether Crystal was the victim, because the police report is not available. 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 came to the attention of that court in mid-August.

Although Burts later claimed that he started doing gay porn in September, it was in August that the official “Derek Chambers” Twitter account (@DChambersxxx) went live. “I do gay porn and I love it,” the description read. “I am newly signed with Fabscout and they are amazing, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.”

FabScout, a Miami-based talent agency for gay porn run by a man named Howard Marr, was also name-checked in an escort ad Burts placed on gay hook-up site RentBoy.com. The ad, which called him an “All American boy next door,” listed Burts’ personal cell phone number and boasted that he was “AIM-TESTED.”

In an interview earlier this year, Crystal recalled it was Marr who “told him about the site, and that he thought it might be a good way to make money, and that he wasn’t planning on doing anything. He was just planning on doing dancing or some massages…. [H]e said he never saw anybody from the site or anything but, I wasn’t always around him.”

While Marr went to work setting up shoots for Burts in Florida, Burts was also looking for gigs he could book quietly behind his agents’ backs. On August 15th, he responded to an ad in Craigslist’s “Adult Gigs” section that had been placed by Robert Chandler of RealGuysExposed.com.

On August 19, 2010 Burts shot what would be his first of three scenes for Chandler. The “Derek Chambers Foreskin Exam” was basically a solo masturbation scene, except for the part where his foreskin was tugged and stretched by the director.

After the shoot wrapped, Burts accompanied Chandler, and two other models, Conner Habib and Gabriel Dalessandro, to a famous gay bar in West Hollywood called Micky’s.  Pictures posted from that evening show Burts getting gleefully “gang-stripped on stage by the veterans.”

Habib remembers, “When we met in West Hollywood, months before this all happened, he was sweet and generous with his words. He was handsome and excited to begin the adventure of being in porn. He gave me a kiss goodnight and sent me funny texts afterward.”

The Foreskin Exam was not Burts’ first gay shoot. Chandler recalls Burts had previously worked for Gay Creeps. In that scene, “Horny Boy Fucks His Straight Roommate,” Burts played the role of the aggressor, and flip-flopped with (first topping, then bottoming for) model Jayden Grey.

Burts found little work in straight porn, but before August drew to a close, he shot three  scenes as a gay performer for Dean Coxx’s website, ClubDean. One, “Dean Coxx Fucks Cameron and His Girl”, was a “Bi” three-way scene, in which Burts, Coxx and Crystal (under the alias “Casey”) all engaged in sex with each other.

Burts’ probation in Orange County was revoked on August 31st as a result of his recent arrest in LA County.  Burts was potentially in very serious trouble, but – as he often did – he put off addressing the problem.

On September 2, director Chris Steele shot Burts bottoming for James Jamesson in a scene for Jet Set Jocks. Rob Romoni shot a behind-the-scenes interview with the duo, in which Burts talked about the differences and the challenges new guys face when working in both gay and straight porn. “The difference is,” Burts explained, “I enjoy gay porn more.”

“Work is harder to find in straight porn,” Burts acknowledged. “I actually really enjoy bottoming; I don’t know why. I like it, it feels good to me.”

Asked by Romoni for his advice on how to put across a good scene when you’re new and/or don’t know what to expect, Burts answered, “I think it’s very important to have a positive attitude. Try to clear your mind from anything, ‘cuz that can help calm your nerves – if you don’t think about it so much.”

After the shoot, Burts returned to Micky’s for a “Cocktails With The Stars” event produced by legendary (and notorious) talent manager and self-described “male madam”, David Forest.

Burts tested HIV-negative at AIM on September 3rd, and then left for Florida, where Marr already had several gay shoots booked for him.

On September 10th, photographer Gio Caruso shot some photos of Burts and model Diego Vena on the set of Suite 703’s Men Hard At Work line, before the video shoot was canceled for reasons unknown. Later that week, Burts shot a scene for Out In Public.com with director Joey Ray, entitled, “Wham Bam Thank You Man!” in which he bottomed for Cristian Ray.

On this same trip, Burts bottomed in a gay scene for Bang Bros./ Venetian Productions – the particulars of which remain in dispute to this day

Upon his return to California, Burts returned to Orange County to be arraigned for his probation violation, and probation was re-instated.
 
On October 6th, Burts shot another scene for Robert Chandler, in which he bottomed for model Christian Mohr.

The universal standard for HIV testing on the “straight” side of the porn industry is every 30 days, so Burts’ September 3rd AIM test was by then three days out of date. But since the gay side of the industry does not universally require testing, on the October 6th shoot, the issue never came up.

POSITIVE

Burts had been working in the adult industry for less than four months when he returned to AIM on October 8th for an updated test. His old test was five days out of date on the 8th, and since a PCR-DNA test has a one-day turnaround, he couldn’t shoot on the straight side until at least the 9th.

When his test came back “detected” the following day, the clinic’s general manager, Jennifer Miller, called him. It was a Saturday, and Burts asked if he could come in Monday, but Miller said no, it was urgent.

When Burts arrived at AIM, Miller informed him of his test result, and tried to put him at ease, telling him that even if his status were confirmed, it was “not a death sentence.” She then asked Burts to provide names of his recent sexual partners for the necessary follow-up investigation and quarantine, and to be tested again with another PCR-DNA test as well as a Western Blot, as required by law. His re-tests would later confirm his seropositive status.

The clinic, which was prohibited by medical privacy laws from revealing his identity, or even his gender, nonetheless had to announce to the industry, and the world, that a performer had tested positive. AIM also called a complete moratorium on porn production while it dealt with the situation.

After AIM made the announcement about the performer it referred to as “Patient Zeta,” industry watchers tried to put the story together to determine his identity.  The fact that AIM’s database, accessible by producers, no longer listed Burts and Crystal as available for work, and OC Modeling pulled them down from its site, led observers to speculate that Burts was Patient Zeta.

Burts was “outed” by online gossip sites on October 14th, and he immediately deleted all his porn-related social media profiles, reportedly on the advice of OC Modeling. His RentBoy ad, however, remained up.

On October 23rd, two weeks after his first PCR-DNA test came back reactive, Burts was back at AIM with Crystal. It was now confirmed that Burts was HIV+, and that he had not passed the virus to Crystal or any other sexual partner whose identity Burts had made known to AIM.

AIM later announced, “It has been established that Patient Zeta acquired the virus through private, personal activity and there was no transmission of the HIV virus from Patient Zeta to anyone else.”

Robert Chandler received a text message from Burts in November: “he needed the money and asked if I would do a shoot with him. I knew he was the guy then being called Patient Zero. But he’d always been a sweet guy and a great model.” Chandler agreed, and shot a new solo scene of Burts on November 14th — more than a month after he had been diagnosed as HIV-positive.

“I didn’t know Derrick was so torn up,” Chandler recalls. “I knew he was going through some tough stuff, and I thought doing the shoot with him would help. He said it would. And he seemed very enthusiastic doing the shoot and said he had a good time. I had no idea he felt so betrayed by the industry or that he was planning to go public.”

That’s because Burts had not yet fallen into the loving arms of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

To be continued….

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