LOS ANGELES — After serving 30 months of a 46-month prison sentence, Max Hardcore is not only looking physically fit, but also has become a new man with a fresh perspective on life.
“I never want to forget the experience because it’s an important part of my life and a turning point for me and the industry,” Hardcore told XBIZ.
“I feel in great shape and mentally I feel that I’ve really grown and improved myself in ways that really matter.”
Now alcohol and cigarette free, he considers himself a winner because he had a unique opportunity to fight for free speech rights.
“I’ve evolved and come to a better understanding of my situation and the free speech movement and America in general,” he said.
Hardcore was convicted in federal court for violating U.S. obscenity laws. Five of his titles came under scrutiny in court, including “Golden Guzzlers” and “Fist of Fury.”
Hardcore said these releases were intended for European distribution and not in the U.S. But the mail order company he used began selling them in the U.S.
Hardcore said that even though he indirectly knew the titles were being sold in the U.S., he didn’t do anything to stop it.
“I didn’t monitor the situation strongly enough,” he said. “The money was rolling in, the girls were hot, the cars were fast, the booze never ran out. I just went with it. That was my mistake. I thought that if [the mail order company] was selling them, and not me, that I was protected.”
But, the owners of the mail order company received immunity from prosecution, while the prosecutor recommended Hardcore serve more than 12 years behind bars and fined $85,000.
Hardcore says he takes full responsibility for allowing his material to be distributed in the U.S. and has come to terms with his fate.
“No man deserves four years in prison because 12 people didn’t like his movie,” he said. “But I’ve accepted it and come to terms with it.”
In retrospect, Hardcore says he would have done many things different, such as more tightly controlling his European product.
Going forward he says he now knows what the federal government is looking at when it comes to obscenity prosecutions and that is urination, fist fucking and rape. He says producers who want to shoot this kind of content should think twice.
“Just don’t do it,” he says. “No matter what kind of disclaimer you put on the video, after you tie up and rape a girl, it’s too late because a jury is going to watch it and convict. I can pretty much guarantee it.”
He says once any producer gets to that point where his or her videos can be seen by a jury, the fight is over.
“Once you’re in court, it’s too late and you better make a deal,” he said. Hardcore said that producers should think about how potential jurors would react to their movies because most of them are not usually exposed to this kind of aggressive and explicit content.
Hardcore says that there’s a herd mentality among jurors and that no one is willing to stand up and say the video isn’t obscene, for fear of being labeled a pervert. He says producers should also understand that the government can take all their money, house and possessions including any online properties.
“They’re going to take all your stuff and put you away,” he said. Not only has this experience cost Hardcore hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, which he is still paying off, but it has also cost him valuable time away from his company, which was decimated.
But he says he is making a comeback.
“I’m rebuilding my life and business from the ground up,” he said.
“I have a tremendous library of more than 200 videos that are still very much in demand.”
He says he is now focusing on jump-starting his company, rebuilding his website, MaxHardcoreTV.com, and reaching out to fans like he’s never done before through social networking sites such as Facebook.
Hardcore wants to emphasize that his movies are completely safe for U.S. distribution.
“I was prosecuted for Euro versions, which are no longer available,” he said, adding that all the U.S. versions of his movies are in compliance with acceptable community standards.
Hardcore also plans to release never-before-seen movies from his library and would like to get into mainstream productions.
Hardcore is on probation until July 2014.
“They taught me a good lesson,” he said. “I took my medicine and kept my mouth shut. I took it like a man. I have a new appreciation for life.”