Nomination Period for FSC Board of Directors Election Opens Friday, November 1
Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the adult industry trade association, will open its call for nominations for the 2014 Board of Directors Friday November 1, 2013. There are five board positions up for election, out of 13 board seats.
You must be an FSC member to make a nomination. Active FSC members will receive an email form that allows them to nominate candidates for election (sent through survey service Vertical Response). Any member making a nomination must supply contact information for each candidate.
Candidates must be active FSC members.
The FSC 2014 Board Elections Schedule is as follows:
November 1 – Call for nominations
November 4- Record date – individuals must be members by this date in order to be eligible to nominate, run or vote in the election
November 22 – Nominations close
November 25 – Slate of nominees announced
December 2 – Ballots sent
December 19 – Elections close
December 20 – Results announced
“This is a great opportunity for FSC members to take ownership in their trade association by nominating and voting for Board Members,” said Diane Duke Free Speech Coalition CEO. “It is the Board of Directors that sets the policy, direction and tone for the organization and member participation in the election is not only welcome, but also greatly appreciated.”
For more information about the election process or to join FSC, contact (818) 348-9373, or email@example.com.
Words, Consequences and Priorities: 'We Can and Should Expect Better'
No really, I'm fine...but it's the industry I'm worried about
I have been getting a number of calls and emails of late asking me if I am okay. Friends, industry members and even some people I have never met have been showing up in force to provide kind words of support. Why do these people feel the need to reach out to me? Because lately I have been the target of a couple of bloggers rage-filled ramblings. It's fascinating really that these bloggers feel so compelled to try and bring me down. I don't read their blogs, I have trusted friends who will tell me if there is something there...so far, nada. I am not the only one under attack and, to be honest, I feel honored to be amongst their list of distinguished targets who are some of the people I most respect in the industry.
I have been accused of meeting with terrorists, having connections with the mafia, leaking confidential medical information, fiscal impropriety and so much more. Anyone who has spent more than a minute with me understands the absurdity of these and other allegations. It would be funny were it not so tragic. Clearly, these bloggers are striking out in a desperate attempt to be relevant despite their impotent lives. I learned early on that hate and anger are wasted emotions, and I do feel compassion for their dismal circumstances. However, despite my personal viewpoint, my first priority is to protect the good people and companies that make up the adult entertainment and pleasure products industry.
These bloggers claim to represent the adult entertainment community — obviously, they do not. Worse yet, their myths and misinformation have been used against us by industry enemies as "insider information and fact." AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which spent more than six million dollars to pass mandatory condom regulations in Los Angeles and is responsible for AIM's demise, links directly to one blogger's site. And, it is my understanding that another blogger went to Sacramento to lobby against the industry in favor of strict governmental regulation of the industry, including mandatory condoms, testing and barrier protection. These so-proclaimed "representatives" are now allies of the industry's most powerful opponents. More importantly, a blogger need never try to form a consensus among affected groups in this diverse and complex industry. A blogger need only shriek loudly and be controversial.
The First Amendment and free speech are near and dear to my heart, hell it's why I took this job in the first place. But words matter and there are consequences to what one says. Much of what is written on these blogs could reach the point of slander or libel and that will likely be settled between the bloggers and their targets. But the misinformation they spread could harm the people and businesses of our entire industry. If your company advertises on these bloggers' sites, you may want to consider the obvious negative return on investment. If you know or do business with any of the advertisers on these blogs, you may want to explain to them that these blogs are hurting the very industry on which they rely for their livelihood.
This article will no doubt bring on vicious attacks from the bloggers of which I write, the consequences of my words. But as an industry we can and should expect better than to allow these disenfranchised bloggers define who we are.
Free Speech Coalition Applauds AHF Employees Protesting Working Conditions
While the non-profit AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) leadership under founder and executive director Michael Weinstein continues a self-aggrandizing publicity tour attacking the adult film industry, his own doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners staged a protest today at AHF offices over poor working conditions and understaffing that has put patients at greater risk.
“Michael Weinstein has been crusading against the adult film industry while the patients under his care and the medical personnel working for him have suffered the brunt of his neglect as he seeks more publicity for himself,” said Diane Duke, chief executive officer for the Free Speech Coalition (FSC). “If Mr. Weinstein paid as much attention to caring for the doctors and nurses working for him and the patients under his supervision as he does every radio and TV appearance, the plight of AIDS patients in Los Angeles County might be much improved.”
The FSC has long maintained that the crusade by AHF and Weinstein against the adult film industry has come at a high price in terms of the care and level of services provided to AIDS patients, especially those from poor, minority communities where AIDS has been the most devastating, Duke said.
The protest by AHF physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants follows a July 31 vote to unionize in an effort to improve working conditions. Among the complaints cited by protesting medical personnel are:
- Heavy handed policies on patient loads and quotas, some as high as 21 patients a day per doctor
- A lack of Spanish-speaking translators for patients
- Patient quota decisions being made by supervisors with no medical backgrounds
- An increased focus on politics and advocacy while clinics see an increase in urgent-care patients
They allege that Weinstein and the organization’s involvement in politics – notably, AHF’s anti-adult industry mandatory condom campaign, as well as its initiative to create a new health department for the city of Los Angeles – have overrun AHF’s mission of caring for patients.
All of this comes in the wake of an audit in which Los Angeles County alleged AHF overbilled the Department of Public Health by $1.7 million in fiscal year 2008-09.
“The Free Speech Coalition has long maintained that Weinstein is more concerned about headlines than providing real care and like any large healthcare provider, making money and driving fundraising is a very real issue for him, which is why he has used a bogus health issue in condoms in filming to drive his media efforts,” Duke said. “It is clear there is no media interview Weinstein will turn down, but there are apparently plenty of patients that will have to wait longer for care at AHF facilities.”
FSC Reports That Production Moratorium is Lifted
The FSC announced late Tuesday that the moratorium on adult filming has been lifted. A PASS (Performer Availability Screening Services—formerly APHSS) panel of three doctors met and confirmed the following:
- All performers who worked with Cameron Bay have been tested and cleared
- It is safe to lift the moratorium
- August 19th is beyond the 2 week window date for the Aptima HIV test
Therefore, the following conditions are immediately in effect:
- Any performer who tests clean after August 19th is safe and available to work
- All test panels taken prior to August 19th are now expired on the PASS database
- In the process of reviewing the case the PASS Medical Advisory Council agreed to, meet later this week to consider revising the minimum test requirement from 28 days to 14 days.
Special thanks to industry producers, directors, performers and agents for honoring the moratorium to ensure performer safety.
APHSS Announces New Protocols for Performer Testing Starting Monday, August 19
APHSS (Adult Production Health & Safety Services) has announced that beginning August 19, 2013, additional tests will be added to the regular STD testing panels for adult performers. These include screening tests for Hepatitis B, and C, as well as a test for Trichomoniasis Vaginalis.
“The medical advisory council that works with APHSS has recommended the addition of these tests to the regular monthly and twice-monthly tests for performers,” FSC (Free Speech Coalition) CEO Diane Duke said. “Plans to add these tests had been in the works for the past few months and were scheduled to go into effect on September 1. However, at the request of several industry stakeholders, we will start the new protocols as of August 19.”
Information submitted to the APHSS database for tests taken on or after Aug 19 will be required to include these test protocols. The added protocols are as follows:
Every 28 days, performers will be required to take blood tests for Hepatitis B and C.
Every performer panel (28 or 14 days) will require a urine sample for Trichomoniasis.
These tests are in addition to HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia tests that are the current standard.
“Trichomoniasis is a common sexually-transmitted bacterial infection,” Duke added. “The doctors on the APHSS advisory council have helped to develop protocols for Trichomoniasis – as well as Hepatitis B, and C – because these are the next steps for guaranteeing that we have a robust and comprehensive system of testing for performers.”
FSC operates APHSS in order to uphold industry health & safety protocols and standards for self-regulation. For more information on APHSS or testing protocols, please contact (818) 348-9373 or visit APHSS.org.
Members Spotlight: Wasteland’s Colin Rowntree
FSC: How/when did you start Wasteland?
Colin Rowntree: It was a dark and stormy night in 1994 and my wife, Angie, and I stumbled across an idea. At that time, we had two little mail order catalogues—one selling Celtic and metaphysical jewelry, and the other selling kinky leather gear and BDSM toys. This little idea was to see if we could figure out how to put the pictures from the catalogues on that new thing, the internet. So, we invested $347 on a used and beat-up IBM 286 and a dialup modem, had a friend scan the pictures of our kinky-gear catalogue at the mental institution where he worked, and stuck them on a web page, written in notepad, optimized for Mosaic. The goal was to get people to call or email us to ask for a free catalog.
Within a month, we discovered that a LOT of people were coming to look at the dirty pictures of pretty girls in leather corsets but were not ordering the catalogue, and it was costing us money for bandwidth! So, we thought, let’s figure out a way to charge them, let’s say, $10 to look at the dirty pictures and hide the catalogue pictures in a “secret directory” (this was before we heard about .htaccess) that we would email to the customer after we got the ten bucks. We redid the little website and woke up the next morning to 15 members. HOLY SHIT! A hundred and fifty bucks! That’s half a week’s salary at the day job!
But, alas, still no one ordered a catalogue. Well, we theorized, maybe they just want to pay to see dirty pictures of pretty girls in leather corsets? Kinda dumb, but why not try it? So, on our 14.4 modem, we uploaded as many photos as we had and over the course of two weeks (a total of 100 pictures, one hour each per upload), added them to the “member’s area,” and upped the price to a whopping $50 a year, thinking the world would laugh at this obscenely greedy folly. A little search engine called Yahoo listed us, and people came. Then a new little link list called Persian Kitty listed us. And then they came in droves, phoning and faxing in, and, yes, even emailing their credit card numbers. Wasteland was born.
FSC: Talk about some of the things that set Wasteland apart; innovations you’ve made to expand your market…
CR: Wasteland has always stood apart in various respects from other adult sites. Yes, it is a bdsm site with the expected photos and movies, but as the site has always been very focused on providing information and educational resources for the bdsm and fetish communities, it is also a very large library of how-to guides, safety guides and forums where members can share ideas, ask questions and meet-and-beat other like minded people.
As for innovations, having started the site in 1994, pretty much everything we did over the first 5 years was an innovation as we were helping lay the tracks for what the internet was becoming from day one. Online credit card billing, recurring billing, the pay-per-click model, and the affiliate model were innovations that we were part of in the early days. In the next decade, we were also in the early introduction of video on the internet (really BAD video quality at first!), live chat, social features and the other interactive features which now dominate the adult internet today. We were also part of the vanguard of early sites that began presenting VOD, Pay-Per-View and the concept of vertical content platforms such as mobile devices, Roku and other platforms that re-task our content for different devices and cloud services.
FSC: What are the biggest challenges for the online adult market right now?
CR: Now THAT’s a big question! Historically, there are generally at least one or two concurrent vexing challenges to our industry, but I’ve been seeing that in the past year or so, the number of these going on at the same time has increased. A lot. Here are the ones that stick out in my mind as being the most resource and labor intensive to meet and overcome (or at least stabilize):
- Free Content. Yes, I know, gentle reader. This sounds like a broken record. Since the days of picture posts and thumbnail galleries, there has always been a flood of free content on the internet, both pirated as well as provided to lure surfers to paysites for purchases. It’s different now though. The sheer astronomical volume of free video content has obviously taken away the need for most surfers to ever buy a premium content membership, VoD or Pay-Per-View movie. And, to compound this, the function of free video on tubes is not generally (with some exceptions) to drive curious surfers to pay for video content, but as the “better mousetrap” to keep them coming back for more free content in order to present them with ads for live chat, dating and other intangible and tangible goods (i.e. things which can not be pirated) This results in the content production and studio sector serving the function of providing the “swill for the pig’s trough”, with marginal chances of monetizing their content as the revenue it generates goes to other industry sectors. Many tubes do offer Content Partner Programs to help out with this quandary and although, from personal experience, many of these programs DO drive sales to premium content sites, this is pretty much a fly speck in the bigger picture of how the “volume of biblical proportions” of free video content erodes the profitability of content producers, affiliate programs, VOD and PPV sites and the like. While this does no obvious harm to the novelty sector, live chat, dating or other non-video goods and services, it does harm the very foundation of the adult industry: the studios, producers, performers and paysites that traditionally serve as one of the pillars on which our industry is based.
- One of the biggest problems for the adult industry in general at this time is the swift and merciless “ghettoization” of adult content on the internet. During the 10 years of the “lively discussions” about the threat of Dot-XXX having this effect (which, thankfully, it has not that I can see), who could have anticipated that corporate media would fill the role of the ultimate judge in driving adult content into the dark shadows of the internet? To be sure, mainstream has always distanced itself from “porn”. Since day one of the net, most credit card processors would not do adult. Most mainstream news, information, dating and community sites have never taken adult advertising. That all made sense for a variety of reasons. But, the recent fast trend is that this is happening in a big way now in other sectors that have traditionally, if not we welcomed adult, at least allowed it into their spaces as it drove traffic to them. But this has changed. Looking for generic sounding porn words on google these days? Well, be prepared to wade through the first 2 or 3 pages of wikipedia results. Want to have a Google+ page for your brand? Be prepared to have to use your real name on it, and then be very careful not to slip a nip on there or get banned instantly. Facebook ads, Twitter Vine, Blogger.com Tumblr….. The list goes on and on with a rapid fire list of new developments in which adult is being thrown under the bus. Even the unlikely candidate for doing such, the traditionally liberal Huffington Post, seems to be climbing onboard. A great story about this was written by producer Mike Stabile that is well worth the read. About this HuffPo example, Tom Hymes cut to the case and nailed the core issue, saying,”Unfortunately, it’s much more than that; it’s actually corporate cowardice alert. The Huffington Post, despite its pretentions to being a progressive voice is like any other mainstream corporation: risk averse and very conservative in practice. In effect, it is an entity that perpetuates the very harms that Stabile writes about in his piece.”
So, as much as our industry has always been vigilant in fighting government censorship, those fights are within the realm of free speech protection under the 1st Amendment (and, in the U.K, the Magna Carta, which apparently Prime Minister Cameron need to re-read) and generally “winnable” (or at least, slow-downable) in the courts. But, there is no court for “corporate cowardice” and though I’m sure it is just “easier” for the mainstream networks to take porn off the radar to keep their advertisers and stockholders in a calm and happy “cute kittens on the piano” paradigm. But, once again, the adult industry does need to take a bit of responsibility for this situation. We as an industry have a long and consistent history of “poisoning the well” and alienating mainstream but seeing opportunities for often inappropriate exploitation of consumers and mainstream media, and then flooding those venues with a volume of free content, offers and possible scams that have lead over the years to everyone from PayPal and American Express to now Google and social media to enthusiastically exit stage right from any connection with adult.
FSC: If you weren’t in the adult business, what would you be doing?
CR: Conducting opera and music theater, with a bit of vintage wooden boat restoration on the side. And, maybe playing the bagpipes in Harvard Square!
FSC: What do you see in the future for online adult?
CR: One REALLY BIG pornsite network that offers everything, with the only links to it being on Reddit.
Kidding. Sort of…
AHF Gets it Wrong Again: Confirmatory Syphilis Test is Negative
FSC (Free Speech Coalition) wishes to report that, once again, AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation) has gotten it wrong. Results from two separate confirmatory tests, conducted by the original testing facility for the performer in question show that the patient is negative for syphilis. Doctors from both Cutting Edge and Talent Testing have coordinated their efforts to ensure that APHSS (Adult Performer Health and Safety Services) medical protocols were followed.
APHSS industry protocols dictate that testing facilities utilize the TrepSure test a highly sensitive and specific test for syphilis – far more sensitive than a standard syphilis test. The result is, from time to time, the test will indicate a positive for syphilis when in fact the patient is negative, which is why APHHS protocols dictate that confirmatory tests are required with a positive TrepSure.
“Unlike AHF, we choose to get our information from medical professionals rather than from the gossip or conjecture of bloggers,” said Diane Duke, FSC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Unfortunately AHF has gone on another witch hunt trying to cause a media frenzy by suggesting an ‘outbreak’ when the performer in question has tested negative. Patient privacy and respect are of utmost importance to us and we encourage responsible reporting rather than the spread of misinformation by rumor mill opportunists who may take this situation as prospect for media attention.”
ABOUT APHSS: Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS) is a system developed and operated by the Free Speech Coalition to uphold STD testing protocols for adult industry performers, as well as medical protocols put in place to safeguard adult industry productions.
FSC Statement on Possible Syphilis Case
In response to media reports of a possible incidence of a positive syphilis test being returned for an adult performer, FSC (which operates APHSS.org) has released the following statement:
“FSC wishes to address rumors of a syphilis ‘outbreak’ in the adult industry. A performer tested positive for syphilis on one type of test and negative on another, and we are awaiting the results of definitive confirmatory tests.
“FSC’s Adult Performer Health and Safety Services (APHSS.org) will follow sound medical practices for either positive or negative test results as directed by the doctors associated with the program. Only if and when a positive confirmation is received, FSC will follow the notification protocols already in place.
“Patient privacy and respect are of utmost importance to us and we encourage responsible reporting rather than the spread of misinformation by rumor mill opportunists who may take this situation as prospect for media attention.”
Member Spotlight: Pipedream’s Nick Orlandino
Every week, FSC members are asked to answer a few questions for the FSC’s X-Press newsletter Member Spotlight. This new feature helps you get to know your colleagues better, as well as their perspectives on the industry.
In the spotlight this week, Pipedream Products CEO Nick Orlandino.
FSC: How/when did you start Pipedreams?
Nick Orlandino: Pipedream was founded in 1973, and I relocated to Los Angeles from New York and joined the team in 1992 as Vice President of Sales/Marketing. In 1994, I became a partner and I’m currently CEO of Pipedream and run all day-to-day operations.
FSC: Talk about some of the things that set Pipedreams apart; innovations you’ve made to expand your market…
NO: I’ve always been one of the industry leader’s in innovation, and this is what has set Pipedream apart from our competitors. In the past 30 years, I’ve created some of the best-selling adult gifts and novelties in the world, it’s hard to keep track of all of the time-tested favorites. We’ve also created an exclusive merchandising and marketing program, powered by our award-winning Planogrammer software. We’ve changed the ways adult retail stores merchandise and market Pipedream Products, and it’s allowed us to stand out from the rest of my competitors because the software is proprietary.
FSC: What are the biggest challenges for the adult pleasure product market right now?
NO: Saturation of the market and way too much redundant product. I try to set Pipedream apart by creating unique, one-of-a-kind items that no other manufacturer can duplicate.
FSC: If you weren’t in the adult business, what would you be doing?
NO: I have no idea, i’ve been in this business for 30 years, since I was 15 years old. This business is my passion and I love what I do.
FSC: What do you see in the future for adult pleasure products?
NO: There’s definitely going to be some narrowing of the field, the strong and innovative companies will continue to grow and expand, and the smaller, weaker imitators will go away.
Porn Star Bowling Event a Great Success
The Porn Star Bowling fundraiser on Sunday night was a great success, drawing upwards of 300 adult industry members and fans together for an evening of fun. Co-hosted by the Licensed Adult Talent Agents Trade Association (LATATA) and Free Speech Coalition (FSC), both organizations benefited from event, which netted revenue of more than $6,000.
“We’d especially like to thank Shy Love for spearheading this event,” FSC Membership Director Joanne Cachapero said. “Also, we’d like to thank each of the LATATA member agencies for volunteering their models; the event sponsors that contributed product; all the performers that gave their time; and everyone that came out to bowl.”
Corbin Bowl, located in Reseda, CA, was packed with a lively crowd that enjoyed tournament-style bowling, karaoke and a silent auction stocked with baskets of adult DVDs, books, T-shirts and other premium swag. Fans also were tempted by items including a day on the set with Immoral Productions, as well as a yearlong membership to Kink.com sites.
Serious bowlers competed for cash prizes, with the team from Evolved Novelties taking the top prize of $500.
Sponsors for the event included: Doc Johnson, Hustler, Immoral Live, Penthouse, ATKingdom, Zero Tolerance, New Sensations, Digital Sin, Fantasy Lingerie, NS Novelties, Juicy, Vivid Entertainment, Girlfriend Films, Adult FriendFinder, Kink.com, Wicked Pictures, Adam & Eve, Manwin, Evil Angel and Exquisite.
LATATA talent agencies include: LA Direct, ATMLA, Matrix Models, Foxxx Modeling, OC Modeling, Type 9 Models, and Spiegler Girls.
“Folks were really having a good time,” Cachapero added. “It was great to see so many industry people getting together with old friends and fans. Looks like we may have to do Porn Star Bowling again next year.”