Interesting News (3/15/13)

Today – the sad (performer suicides and a general lack of services), the good (the EU will not ban porn!!), and the conundrum (“before and after”)… it’s all Interesting News!!


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This is sad…

From XBIZ: “Michael Lucas Addresses Gay Porn Suicides” (3/12/13)

In an open letter to the gay porn community, Lucas Entertainment CEO Michael Lucas writes, “porn actors are among the highest-profile casualties of gay suicide.”

We do not have good support systems in place for people in our industry. We need to talk more about this as a community. We need to be there for each other.” (emphasis added)

Lucas’ letter is in reaction to the suicide deaths of Roman Ragazzi, Arpad Miklosand most recently Wilfried Knight. Alarmed by what is becoming a disturbing trend, Lucas not only asks the gay industry to look after its members, but offers himself to those in need of someone to talk to. (here)

I cannot stress the importance of Michael’s statement and sentiments enough – all adult performers are highly stigmatized, but there seems to be something especially troubling going on with gay performers. These issues need to be addressed in a manner that is appropriate for the particular population.

LGBTQ folks face unique challenges, porn performers face unique challenges, and most certainly gay porn performers face their own unique challenges and issues. Developing programs and providing services for folks in this community specifically would be invaluable – productive, timely, and humanitarian.

Read Michael’s entire letter here.


This is good!!

EU votes to reject ‘porn ban’ proposals” (March 12, 2013) – ummm… yay!!

In spite of what seemed like complete and total bonkersness, you still have to pay attention when anything like this comes up. Accordingly:

[On March 12, 2013], 625 members of the European Parliament voted 368-159 in favor of passing a report aimed at stamping out gender stereotypes in the region, with 98 abstaining. However, the controversial “porn ban” section of the proposal was rejected…

Because the opinion of the Parliament has now been made, it will be extraordinarily difficult for the Commission to draw up similar porn-blocking legislation only to pass it back to the Parliament for another vote.

These porn-blocking proposals, initially introduced by Dutch Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Socialist Party Kartika Tamara Liotard, were buried within a report titled “Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,” which was first submitted to the Parliament in early December. The report no doubt had positive intentions as a bid to close the gender inequality gap in the region by developing awareness and effective measures to reduce the prevalence of gender stereotypes in education, employment, and the media.

However, controversy quickly stirred because the report included such wide-ranging and ill-defined measures as calling on the European Union to reaffirm its position on an earlier resolution for a “ban on all forms of pornography in the media,” as well as giving Internet service providers “policing rights” over their subscribers. (here)

wooosh… and what a classic, attempted, double-barreled dirty trick!! – something good (“stamping out gender stereotypes”) with something bad (“porn ban”).

Here’s the thing: the world is saturated with gender stereotypes that range in intensity from meh to horrifying. We as a culture need to work on this. But treating people like mindless simpletons while engaging the vague, slippery slope of censorship is not the way to go.

I am 100% wholly and completely glad this ban was blocked, but now let’s see some education EU!! Maybe some social wellness programs and outreach that attempt to educate folks about gender inequality, sexism, and any number of other things… Then, people can make their own decisions about what they want to be watching (porn-wise and otherwise). Producers will respond accordingly.


And finally, this is a bit of a toss up…

Something interesting happened at the beginning of this week, something that I’m still mulling over… Consider Melissa Murphy. Affectionately known as “Melissa Makeup,” Melissa is a much loved, award-winning makeup artist. She’s one of a small handful of individuals known for their work on the adult industry’s biggest stars and in some of the most high-profile productions.

As a testament to her skill and the beauty of her subjects, Melissa regularly posts pictures of her work on her public Instagram and Twitter pages, including “before and after” photos in which a performers is featured before and after camera-grade makeup has been applied. She’s been doing this sort of sharing for a long time, and her practice is common knowledge to anyone even remotely involved in social media.

This past Monday, the internet exploded when Melissa’s “before and after” images – 80+ of ’em – went viral all over the interwebs. They were on HuffPo, Gawker, and the New York Post (and probably some other places too). According to Melissa (here), the images were initially taken without her permission and posted in a gallery without crediting her (I think this is the one). Then, all these other sites contacted her for permission to share the same images, which she granted figuring that the images were already public. They had been for some time.

Then, the adult social media corner of the interwebs exploded. Some performers were happy, congratulating Melissa on her work’s wide visibility. Some performers were pissed, saying it was a violation of trust. Others didn’t seem to care one way or the other.

My initial response to this was “Amazing!!” …and I still think it was amazing. As I tweeted the day of, Melissa’s pictures showed performers’ humanity is such a beautiful way. So many people hate on porn for (allegedly) lauding only these exquisite unicorns of girls – women so far outside “average” appearance norms that the rest of us peons are left to feel shitty about our ho-hum selves.

But Melissa’s images showed a range of women, all uniquely beautiful (as all humans are), but all also not too far removed from the everyday… until they had a professional artist glam them up and do their hair. It was a real step towards transparency and social justice.

But some thought-provoking additional points about what Melissa (supposedly) did wrong were raised. These included…

– Not getting permission to share the images… but didn’t someone initially take the images without her permission? (according to Melissa, that’s exactly what happened) …and weren’t the images already public? (yes) …but public on Instagram, etc is not the same as public on the New York Post? (no, it’s not)

– Compromising identity by showing what performers “really” looked like… This is a tricky one. On one hand, this would mean a performer compromised her identity every time she went outside not-camera-ready. On the other hand, performers also don’t usually walk outside not-camera-ready with a giant made-up photo and a sign saying “Here’s Me As You Might Also Know Me” …this point is an interesting conundrum.

In a perfect world, someone would’ve contacted Melissa a week in advance and asked her to select a gallery of images. Melissa would have then had time to ask each person in her selected gallery if it was ok to re-purpose their image in a far more high-profile venue. And then everything would’ve been fine. Except that, guess what – someone probably would’ve been pissed that their image had NOT been selected.

If the world were perfect, we’d do a lot of things…


(pictured: Dani Daniels (above) and Brooklyn Lee (below) – I use these two image sets as examples of Melissa’s work because I read assertions from each of these performers that they did not mind what had happened. These and the rest of Melissa’s images are here)


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Interesting News – news that’s interesting!!

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