LOS ANGELES — Now TMZ has added its take on the Assence Films' offer to donate to The National Education Association (NEA) on behalf of sales of "Anal Artists" starring Sasha Grey, and the controversy it sparked.
The NEA had said publicly that it would reject donations from Assence. The studio announced plans to give a portion of the title's proceeds to the NEA, the country's largest teachers union, earlier this month after Grey caused a public outrage last year by being a guest reader at a Compton, Los Angeles grade school.
TMZ boss Harvey Levin defended the studio's decision on Tuesday's national TV broadcast. The TMZ cameras also caught up with Grey, who said she had no knowledge of the planned donations and the company "exploited" her and the NEA's Read Across America program.
Assence CEO Mike Kulich on Wednesday issued the following statement regarding Grey's derogatory remarks to TMZ about Assence Films' offer of donations:
"Miss Grey's response to TMZ is nothing short of alarming. It seems to be okay for her to further her mainstream career by reading to kids, but if we try to help we are referred to as pathetic. Seems hypocritical to me. Just because Miss Grey hasn't heard of Assence Films doesn't mean we don't exist.
"It is not a pathetic attempt to donate money, it is a real attempt to donate money for Reading Across America and help a struggling education system, that just in Los Angeles County, has an appaling consistent 34.9% dropout rate. At no point did my company ever state that Miss Grey was involved or endorsed what we were doing with this campaign. What is the difference between her helping the NEA and us helping? In fact, we did not make a big deal about what we were doing. Our charitable efforts only became public once the Huffington Post picked up on it, and here we are being slandered. We have already received a call from LAUSD saying they would love the donation and they could use all the help anyone is willing to offer."
The statement continued, "No one said the scene featuring Miss Grey was newly shot footage. We clearly state that it was one of her last anal scenes that she shot before her retirement. We didn't realize we had to clear it with Miss Grey and in fact, we were in no way legally obligated to clear it with Miss Grey.
"The bottom line was to help the program and our failing schools. If Grey was so concerned about education she would have applauded our efforts."
Assence Films movies are distributed by Exile Distribution.