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Porn Film Biz Rocked by Syphilis Scare
Aug 20, 2012 2:40 PM EDT
The industry calls for a moratorium on shooting, as reports emerge that one actor has the STD—and may have continued working with the disease. Richard Abowitz reports.

The lobbying group for the adult-film industry is calling for a teen porn
nationwide moratorium on shooting in the wake of a syphilis scare. Last Thursday, the adult industry trade publication XBIZ sent shock waves through the porn world by quoting two agents announcing that the unidentified performer had tested positive for the STD and allegedly worked for weeks shooting scenes, using a doctored test. By the following day, LATimes.com was reporting that the Los Angeles County Health Department was looking at a cluster of five possible syphilis cases related to the adult industry.

Over the weekend, the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the lobbying group for the adult industry that also established porn’s STD-testing protocol and database, called for a nationwide moratorium on shooting . While the moratorium is voluntary, it is expected that porn producers represented by the association will adhere to it. The FSC is working with doctors to determine the length of the hiatus, and to arrange for syphilis testing of performers who may have been exposed to the disease.

In the absence of more specific information, performers were left panicked, bewildered and furious—with the most damming vitriol focused on the male performer who allegedly worked with syphilis. Typical was Kristina Rose’s reaction. The diminutive porn star sent a Tweet: “I think the next person to lie about their test should be tortured & killed. If u agree please RT.” And, close to 40 of her followers swiftly did Re-Tweet that message, including some of her industry peers.

The issue of doctored tests strikes a particularly raw nerve in the adult industry, because a performer who cheated the old system is believed to have been behind a serious HIV outbreak that infected a number of porn stars in the ’90s. The current testing database was created last year by FSC in response to the sudden shuttering of the longtime clinic that served the adult industry, amid lawsuits and a controversy over alleged leaked medical records. The syphilis case is the first major test of FSC’s new system service, APHSS (Adult Protection Health and Safety Services).

Reached for an exclusive phone interview with The Daily Beast on Sunday night, Diane Duke, executive director of FSC, denied that the performer fabricated his tests. “There have been a lot of rumors,” Duke says. “I would say the performer did not cheat the system. I would say other factors were at play.” Asked to elaborate, Duke demurred for now. “More information on that is probably going to be revealed in the future,” she says. The two talent agents who made the claim about the fabricated tests in the XBIZ article did not respond to requests for interviews.

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