LOS ANGELES — One year after becoming the central figure in an adult industry-wide syphilis scare that became a national story, Mr. Marcus says that in spite of repeated calls for him to “just go away,” he has no plans to leave the business.
“I can’t just go away from something; this is all I’ve known,” the 42-year-old performer told XBIZ this week in an exclusive interview.
The 19-year porn veteran has not performed in a professional sex scene since Aug. 8, 2012, just two weeks before his public admission to altering an STI test result that showed he had tested positive for syphilis last July.
Even though now he is “totally clear” of the disease, he said not a single producer or director has called to book him since the scandal broke.
If an opportunity comes, Mr. Marcus said he has not ruled out a return to performing, but it would have to be “special.”
“There’s still Mr. Marcus the performer that really wants things to go back to normal. I just want to go back to work,” he said. “But then there’s another part of me that says whatever I do now, it has to be more thought out, it has to be more special.
“I think I need to just for peace of mind. People have the impression that once they get an STD that you can’t have sex again for some reason. It’s just not true.”
But remaining in the adult industry in any capacity has been difficult at best for Mr. Marcus, who says many of his friends and peers have distanced themselves from him.
“They don’t return my phone calls. They’ve turned their back against me, and they’re people I’ve known for 20 years. People that I’ve known for a long fucking time,” he said.
He said the loyalty of his fans is what gives him hope that his porn career can be salvaged.
“They’re probably the reason why I’ve lasted this long because they still show me love,” Mr. Marcus continued. “But put yourself in my shoes. You’re blasted out to the hemisphere as having an STD. You’re labeled as someone who doesn’t care about other people and you willingly and knowingly exposed people. You shut down an industry. You cost people jobs. And those things are in my head when I go to the grocery store, when I walk into a club or when I try to go to an adult function and try to hang out. All that dialogue is in my head, man.
“But you know better. You caught an STD, it happens. You got it treated, it happens. You know the media can turn things. And you know that people are only going to read so much because they don’t really give a fuck. People are going to go back to their lives. You’re not fucking them. You’re not affecting them in any way. They just like the story because it’s entertaining. It takes their mind off of their problems. They get to look at you deal with yours. I’ve had all this shit I’m processing, and then it’s a dark place.”
Mr. Marcus’ recent legal problems only have complicated matters. On May 2, news broke that performer Lylith Lavey in September 2012 had filed a lawsuit against Mr. Marcus alleging emotional distress stemming from their sex scene for Bang Bros in June 2012. That case at post time still was in the discovery process.
“I really don’t want to say anything about her,” Mr. Marcus said.
On May 9, he was arrested for DUI and released the next day. But the performer went back to jail on May 22 when it was discovered that his DUI arrest was a violation of his probation from 2011, when he pled guilty to speeding after originally being arrested for suspicion of DUI.
“I blew under the limit [in 2011], but me and the cop got into it, so he basically arrested me because of attitude,” Mr. Marcus said, noting his blood-alcohol content was .06. After pleading not guilty to DUI, he eventually pled guilty to exhibition of speed, “which is the lowest that you can plea to with a public defender. So they put me on a three-year probation.”
Then on June 4, the L.A. City Attorney’s office announced Mr. Marcus had been sentenced to 30 days in jail for “knowingly exposing at least two co-stars to syphilis after testing positive” and subsequently filming scenes. The performer got out of jail two days later, receiving credit for time served. He still has 15 days of community labor to complete based on that sentence and three years of probation. The performer intends to do safe-sex PSAs as part of his community labor but has yet to begin the process.
Mr. Marcus maintains he was prepared to fight the charges leveled by the “two co-stars,” which he would not name, but that he and his attorney only decided to enter a “no contest” plea with the city to expedite his release from jail, where he was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.
“I was prepared to defend myself of the two charges from the two girls that pressed charges against me,” Mr. Marcus said. “I wanted to show people what I did and when I did it because there was this assumption that I never went and got treated.”
In late February, photos surfaced online of Mr. Marcus having sex with a civilian friend during a live broadcast on SiriusXM satellite station Radio Sex. Veteran porn stars Jessica Bangkok, Debi Diamond and Nicki Hunter each were fired from Radio Sex a week later as a result of the in-studio escapade.
“What happened at the radio show had me really step back, because all I did was have sex with a girl that I know. And it became like a big... people lost their jobs. It was all over TMZ,” Mr. Marcus said. “If that was a version of being blackballed, or blacklisted, that was a very brutal version of it. That’s a form of it.”
He continued, “The producer took a picture, because that’s how involved everybody was. We were having a good time and got carried away in the moment. He takes a picture of me, puts it up on Twitter. And it’s a firestorm. Because there’s no video. There’s no filming going on. It’s in a laid-back, casual setting. It’s something I’ve done before.”
Mr. Marcus said that now looking back on it, he would have approached that in-studio visit in a different way.
“But in hindsight would I have done things different? Hell yeah. The interview, if you ever listen to the interview, it was a good interview. We talked about things, about my situation, about how people have treated me and about moving forward,” he said. “That was me testing the water. That was me trying to see can I go forward? Can I do what I’ve done before? And then all hell broke loose.”
Mr. Marcus said that because he isn’t earning money from sex scenes that he’s had to “cut a lot of my expenses” and that he’s made a living from royalty checks from his Doc Johnson sex-toy line and official website. He has also begun collaborating with Damian Kutzner, who is the president of the Serious Pimp extreme clothing line and record label based in Orange County.
“I met him before everything had happened,” Mr. Marcus said. “And I met him randomly. I was hanging out with [Snoop Dogg] one night and ran into Damian. Snoop’s people introduced me to Damian.“
Kutzner told XBIZ that he is throwing his support behind Mr. Marcus’ porn brand in a venture that is separate from his mainstream businesses. He said they were in the early stages of development of an all-in-one STD test package that would produce results within 30 minutes. Mr. Marcus ultimately would be the spokesman for the product, according to Kutzner.
“This is a whole other chapter,” Kutzner said. “He got his beatings and now he’s coming back.”
Kutzner took an interest in Mr. Marcus’ situation because, “I’ve been that guy in the business world.”
“Good can come out of bad,” Kutzner reasoned. “I feel for what he’s gone through. I think he genuinely wants to try to help.”
Kutzner also said that Mr. Marcus is exploring the idea of talent management with the help of some of his resources, which include a team of attorneys on retainer.
“We’ve retained a legal defense team that will help him as well as new performers in the industry, from the criminal side to the civil side,” Kutzner continued. “I told Mr. Marcus he’d be a great manager. He’s been in the business 20 years and still has a soul.”
Meanwhile Mr. Marcus, who still has pending court dates for his DUI arrest and his civil case, reiterated that he’s in the industry to stay.
“The main thing is you want to show people you can move forward; it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “I’m not asking anybody to do anything for me at this point. I get it. A lot of this shit I brought onto myself. So dealing with it is probably the best example I can give for somebody else. I’m still here, and I know people don’t like that.
“I just felt like, I didn’t want to be banished. I didn’t want to walk away from this industry. I gave it too much. I’m not done. Everything I’ve been through has taught me something that I can turn around and teach other people.”