Responding to Emergencies

Alex Henderson
After a massive tsunami ravaged coastal areas of southern Asia and eastern Africa on Dec. 26 — claiming, according to some estimates, more than 300,000 lives — an abundance of adult-oriented businesses were quick to respond to the tragedy. YNOT Radio joined forces with ARS head Mark De for an online event that was billed as the Tsunami Charity Auction, which raised an estimated $300,000 for the American Red Cross, and Wicked Pictures launched a special month-long fundraising sale for tsunami relief in late February, 10 percent of which was tagged for the Red Cross.

"With the tsunami relief, it was very heartening to me to see how quickly people in the adult industry moved," said Michelle L. Freridge, executive director of the adult industry trade association the Free Speech Coalition. "It wasn't about, 'Let's help these people because they consume our products' — it was about, 'Oh my God, this is a horrible thing happening to human beings. Let's do something to help them.'"

YNOT President Bob Rice stressed that the Tsunami Charity Auction showed how compassionate adult webmasters can be. "It was fantastic," Rice said. "Some of the big players in the adult Internet stepped up — including Tony Morgan from NationalNet and Mike Price from SilverCash — and there were no industry politics involved. I have to give credit to Mark over at ARS because in order to get a bunch of people in this industry together for a charitable cause, you have to make sure that no industry politics get involved. Mark did a fantastic job."

Daniel L. Metcalf, director of publicity for Wicked Pictures, is quite pleased with the support that the company's fundraising sale enjoyed on the film and video side of adult entertainment.

"As the scope of the tsunami disaster became better understood, the urgency for immediate relief funding and sustained support became a paramount concern — and helping out with the sustained support is what the sale has been all about," Metcalf said. "Wicked Pictures has been involved in a lot of charitable causes over the years, often making contributions privately. But we chose to do this one publicly so that we could involve other companies, customers and distributors in the process. That's why we did it in the form of a sale."

Adult, Charity
Tsunami relief isn't the first charitable cause that adult-oriented entrepreneurs have made generous donations to. Several years ago, Bob Rice was part of a charity auction that raised $200,000 for homeless children and Mistress Cyan, a professional dominatrix based in Los Angeles, has held S&M/fetish events to raise money for Toys for Tots.

The Charles M. Holmes Foundation, which was started by the late Falcon Entertainment founder Chuck Holmes, also has been a consistent donor to gay and lesbian causes and Adam & Eve leader Phil Harvey has been a longtime contributor to family planning in developing countries as well as to AIDS prevention. Harvey, who heads the nonprofit family planning organization DKT International, estimates that he has donated at least $45 million to family planning efforts over the years.

"Historically," Freridge noted, "mainstream charitable organizations weren't particularly interested in accepting donations from adult companies — and if they did accept the donations, they didn't want to publicly acknowledge who they were getting the money from. As a result, a lot of people in the adult industry started their own charities. The adult industry is continuing to grow, and there is no reason why they shouldn't make donations to causes they believe in."