Industry News

Xbiz Talks to Industry About Syph/Mr Marcus

NL_ Well done and interesting story on how the industry feels about the Syph/Mr Marcus.

Porn Industry Reacts to Syphilis Outbreak, Mr. Marcus

By Nelson Ayala from http://www.xbiz.com/news/153448  read the whole story at the link.

        LOS ANGELES — Producers and performers are expressing mixed emotions over the syphilis outbreak that has put livelihoods on pause and endangered the health of performers. At the center of the controversy is veteran adult performer Mr. Marcus, who on Aug. 21 admitted he had performed in three sex scenes after doctoring his STI test to conceal that he had contracted syphilis.

The revelation struck the adult film community as a betrayal and reaction was swift and merciless. While Marcus drew the brunt of people’s outrage, many also suggested that industry testing lab Talent Testing Services and the Free Speech Coalition’s Adult Production Health & Safety Services may have mishandled the crisis due to “politics.”

Now, two weeks into a moratorium that is close to being lifted — thanks in part to the availability of a new syphilis test (Treponemal EIA) — some have softened their outlooks and are prepared to move on, while others remain hurt and angry. Both sides, however, agree on one thing: change is necessary, whether it means more due diligence and/or supporting mandatory condom use in adult films.

“Obviously there was a lot of confusion, and it has taken awhile for all the facts to surface,” Wicked Pictures owner Steve Orenstein said. “I appreciate the Free Speech Coalition and APHSS stepping up to try to work this issue out from the start, but I also realize it was an uphill battle that didn’t come with a ‘magic bullet’ solution. I am happy to hear that a better and quicker test was found to offer to all talent and specifically to those who were opposed to taking medication if not infected.”

Kink.com CEO and FSC board member Peter Acworth was pleased to see the majority of adult studios put performer well-being ahead of profit, and felt the industry responded to the crisis in a more uniformed manner than it had in the past.

“As soon as the first case was confirmed — before even — we shut down production. And we weren’t the only ones,” Acworth said. “A lot of bigger companies immediately agreed to halt production in order to stop it. There was no wait and see. There was only stop-and-treat. Porn doesn’t get a lot of support from outside agencies, so it’s really important that we take care of our own.

“I think we’ve made real leaps in the past few years, thanks to groups like the FSC and the APHSS,” Acworth continued. “You didn’t see the suspicion or doubt that you might have a few years ago. There was a unified front, and it’s a good argument for self-regulation in the face of detractors who’d like to push it to the fringes, or outside the country.”

Thirty-year industry veteran Tom Byron saw things differently. “It couldn’t have been handled any worse,” he said.

Alluding to the industry’s lack of syphilis education, Marcus’ allegations that TTS aided in the doctoring of his test and the ongoing debate between TTS and APHSS in regards to testing practices, Byron painted a picture that presented the industry as anything but unified.

“I think syphilis threw everyone for a loop,” he said. “There were loose protocols in place for HIV, but since syphilis is curable, but more dangerous than chlamydia and gonorrhea, people were confused about how to isolate it. Throw altered test results into the mix; it was just a big mess. The infighting didn’t help, one side claiming the other was being complicit in said altering, differing opinions about inoculations, agents fining girls for refusing to work during the moratorium. We’ve really shown the world we can’t police our own.”

Immoral Productions proprietor Dan Leal echoed Byron’s sentiments, and took issue with the FSC’s support of Marcus.

“Things have been handled very poorly since the syphilis outbreak,” Leal said. “The supposed leaders in the adult industry who jumped the gun and tried to defend the actions of someone who has jeopardized the health of hundreds of performers need to step down.”

As those following this story will recall, Marcus had been advised and assisted in the crisis by Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke and FSC board member — and Evil Angel General Manager — Christian Mann since Aug. 18 when the APHSS identified him as a syphilis carrier.

Duke and Mann stood by Marcus on Aug. 22 when he officially confessed to altering his syphilis test, commending Marcus as “courageous” for his decision to tell the truth.

“[Mr. Marcus] didn’t come clean; he was outed,” Byron said. “Had he not been caught, who knows how much longer he would have continued? Seriously, how do you show up on set with your penis in the condition his was in on that Bang Bros. shoot?

“People need to understand that what he did was monstrous,” Byron continued. “He didn’t ‘make a mistake.’ He deliberately and deceitfully exposed other talent to a very serious disease, forced a moratorium that cost not only talent, but lighting crews, makeup artists, a whole host of people who make their living in the biz.”

Byron, who said he has known Marcus since the 41-year-old California native joined the industry as a “pup,” called for Marcus to retire.

“Pete Rose was banned from baseball forever because he gambled on his sport,” Byron noted. “Marcus gambled with people’s health and potentially their lives. This is the one thing you don’t get a second chance on. I think Marcus should never be allowed to perform sex in this business ever again.”

Director Jim Powers is less forgiving. “I think it is horrible that Mr. Marcus knowingly worked with a disease and gave it to women,” Powers said. “I think he should be forced to sit in a cocoon of yeast infection scrapings for six months.”

For those who have known Marcus as a friend and/or role model, his deception has cut even deeper.

Evil Angel producer/performer and 20-plus-year industry veteran Sean Michaels said he and his family were “highly disappointed and sad.”  Adult performer Prince Yahshua described Marcus’ actions as “mind-blowing and very, very crushing.”

“I’ve known Marcus for almost eight-and-a-half years now,” Yahshua said. “I didn’t even call him Marcus; I called him what he was to the industry. I would say ‘what’s up legend?’

“I never would’ve imagined that somebody of his nature, his status, would put hundreds and hundreds of his co-workers at risk with something like that,” Yahshua said. “Not only would we have passed it around to each other like giving out candy on Halloween, but more than 70 percent of us, we go home to our families… girlfriends, wives, husbands, whatever. I have no more love [for Marcus] at all.”

Not everyone has turned their back on Marcus.

“His actions have been selfish, irresponsible, and reprehensible,” Mercenary Pictures owner and adult star Lexington Steele said. “That being said, my feelings toward Mr. Marcus are unchanged. He has been a friend of mine for 14 years. He has been my mentor. While what he has done put me and my livelihood at risk, I will not turn my back on him as a friend. None of us know the depth of circumstance that led him to make such a selfish and unforgiveable decision.

“The XXX industry is indeed a glass house, its’ constituents, including myself, should not throw stones. It is only the magnitude of his stardom that has made this front page news. Perhaps we should continue to protect our own, both on set and otherwise, instead of excommunicating them when they falter. We as an industry have experienced and witnessed, in the not too distant past, far worse than a treatable STD. My heart goes out to those who have been exposed and are now being treated, including Mr. Marcus.”

Read the whole story here http://www.xbiz.com/news/153448

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