opinion

Cartagena, Patient Zeta and Who Do YOU Want Running Your Industry?

Diane Duke

What a week, last week.

Between the ongoing campaign waged against the adult industry by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the 10-year struggle to defeat the proposed .XXX sTLD – today seems like the aftermath of a siege staged on multiple fronts with a nonstop barrage of bullshit bombs being lobbed by our opponents. We are still trying to dig ourselves out from under the debris.

And this week, more than ever, we would like to ask the question: Who do YOU want calling the shots for the adult industry? People that are your colleagues and represent your better business interests? Or people like ICM’s Stuart Lawley and AHF’s Michael Weinstein?

On the AHF front – seems like strange timing that on Dec 9th, Patient Zeta, aka Derrick Burts/Cameron Reid/Derrick Chambers, would go public AND within 24 hours, Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM) was shuttered by the county over a paperwork issue.

And while the LA Times took advantage of sensational headlines and published Burts’ tawdry confessional via video verbatim, the LA Weekly raised some interesting questions, including whether or not the adult industry was in danger of being run out of California. LA Weekly writer Dennis Romero also asked some questions as to the credibility of Burts’ claims – like any skeptical journalist might.

On the 13th, AHF President Michael Weinstein praised LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl for making a motion to the city attorney for an explanation of the process the city’s employs to make sure that adult production sets are “safe workplaces” before being issued necessary permits. Weinstein also wrongly stated that FSC and FSC Executive Director Diane Duke called for “the industry [i.e. AIM and adult production studios] to continue to operate outside the law.”

FSC’s position is the same as it’s ever been – we are working with lawyers, CalOSHA’s Board of Directors, experts in regulatory procedure, industry businesses and INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS to help develop industry-appropriate regulations. If adult content producers are “operating outside the law” whatsoever, it’s likely because the regulations imposed on them were written for medical clinics, not adult production sets. We are calling for regulations that are appropriate and acceptable to concerned parties. Mr. Weinstein seems interested in calling attention to his campaign.

And as for AIM “operating outside the law,” it quickly was apparent that the clinic was briefly closed due to a paperwork error. AIM has until the end of January to correct the error, according to a letter issued by the county. Not exactly the perfect storm of opposition against AIM that Weinstein seems to want to call down on the clinic and spin for his own purposes.

Meanwhile, FSC’s Diane Duke and FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas were in Cartagena, Columbia, when Patient Zeta broke his silence – another bit of strange timing.

The pair were there to oppose the .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain, proposed by Internet registry ICM and it President Stuart Lawley. We are happy to report that, after battling against approval of the domain for ten years, Internet regulatory organization ICANN decide on Friday to put off any decision until it can consult with its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).

Some blogs today say that a decision won’t be made until ICANN’s next meeting in February. And, surprisingly, some newspapers are reporting, complete with quotes from Lawley, that .XXX was passed – specifically, papers located in Florida where ICM is based.

Well, we can say that we are certain .XXX has not been approved as of last week. And we hope that it is never approved because it will provide no benefit to the thousands of adult webmasters that will have to pay fees for domain addresses that they don’t want; that .XXX will make it much easier for anti-adult entities to block adult websites; and it will be easier for underage users to locate adult material. And that’s just for starters. It sets a dangerous precedent to classify domains by content, and for fees from those domain addresses to go to fund a regulatory board that gets to call the shots in regards to that content.

Over here at the FSC, one of our mottoes is an old one: “The truth will set you free.” And while some industry members may not have warm and fuzzy feelings for FSC or may not understand what we do over here – we hope that you can see that we are working hard to defend your rights, promote your better business interest and protect your businesses and way of life. Because there are people out there that have their own agendas and could profit from targeting the industry with weapons of mass confusion.

As the adult industry trade association, we are a pro-adult voice for the industry to our opponents, the media and the public at large. And without a voice, you might not have a choice. We should mention here that the 2011-12 FSC Board of Directors election is now taking place; if you are an active FSC member and have not received you ballot, please contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com. This your opportunity to choose who will represent you, as the industry faces many challenges.

Last, but not the least bit of news from last week – sadly, on December 5th, legendary performer/director John Leslie (aka John Leslie Nuzzo) passed away. Many touching tributes were written about Leslie but in the Marin Independent Journal, a quote from his wife Kathleen stood out, as she commented on his career.

“I never had a problem when I met him with what he did,” Kathleen Nuzzo said of her husband’s career. “It was our livelihood. It’s an incredible industry with people fighting for First Amendment rights and freedom of expression.”

Thank you Mrs. Nuzzo. They had been married for 23 years.

A memorial for John Leslie will be held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, CA, on Dec. 15 at 7pm. – jc

(Photo: Some rights reserved by James Yardley)

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