Meeting Face to Face

Diane Duke
It was in San Francisco at the Cybernet conference that FSC and Hot Movies tried something revolutionary — we provided a forum for people to have actual, face-to-face conversations; people looking each other in the eye; people talking to each other; people sharing ideas, questions and concerns. Unheard of! That’s crazy-talk! What were we thinking?

We were thinking that the time has come to balance the Internet boards with real-time, real-space conversations. What happens in a room — not a chat room, but an actual room with walls — when people sit down, face-to-face, and have real conversations? People listen, learn, and seem to enjoy each other’s company — at least that was our experience during the FSC Roundtable discussion at Cybernet.

Participants grabbed lunch at the buffet provided by Hot Movies, then chose the topic of most interest to them and sat down in the designated area for the discussion. John Stagliano, owner of Evil Angel, and Jeffrey Douglas, FSC board chair and industry attorney, facilitated the first group discussion. In that discussion, people talked about obscenity, including participant questions, concerns and views on upcoming and recently decided obscenity cases.

Tom Hymes, FSC board member, XBIZ executive editor and news director for Sex.com, facilitated the second group along with Michael Fattorosi, managing partner of Fattorosi & Chisvin and owner of AdultBizLaw.com. People in this group discussed issues such as OSHA citations, bareback content, condoms vs. testing and other workplace safety issues.

FSC Board member and adult industry attorney Eric Bernstein and FSC Board member and adult journalist Theresa Reed (Darklady) facilitated the final group. This group discussed tube sites and free and pirated content.

All of these issues are controversial in their own rite. All of these issues have been battered around on the boards. All of these discussions were stimulating, insightful, respectful, informative and substantive. Participants shared their knowledge, skills, questions, concerns and biases in an environment that allowed everyone to speak. People heard stories of how their industry peers confronted problems and what their successes and failures have been.

FSC had scheduled one and a half hours for the roundtable discussions. When time was up, I went to the podium to thank everyone for their participation and to announce that the roundtable discussions were officially over. No one left. Participants politely listened to what I had to say and then went back to their conversations. People stayed for another half hour and left only as the hotel staff began to clear the room.

This told me that there is a hunger in our industry for this kind of conversation. The boards are a critical component to our industry’s communication and success, and for immediate answers to technical questions the boards can’t be matched for their usefulness. But, for a high level, intellectual conversation in which ideas can be appreciated and flourish, there is no substitute for face-toface conversation. For our part, the Free Speech Coalition recognizes the need for these substantive discussions and will commit to provide additional opportunities for our industry to come together to discuss issues of importance. Special thanks go out to Hot Movies for its help in making FSC’s first issues roundtables a reality.

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