Paul Morris Treasure Island Media Interview: AHF crusade causing 'wonderful rise in the number of guys who are applying to work with us – both poz and neg'

pAUL mORRIS CONDOMS IN PORN.jpg

The current push prohibit condom-less porn from being shot in California has been interesting to watch. Most recently, the push to require condoms in porn has centered on California Assembly Bill 332 (CA AB 332), which would require them in all porn produced in the state of California. This bill comes on the heels of the 2012 passing of Measure B, a similar piece of legislation that only affects Los Angeles County.

To get some perspective on the confusing political mess, I invited Paul Morris owner of Treasure Island Media to share his perspective. While controversial, Paul Morris is a man who is known for his ability to unflinchingly offer truths that make people think. As a result of our previous interview with Paul Morris, I had to unpack some of my own prejudices.

In this interview, Paul Morris does what he does his best and gives an alternative view to pro-condom crusaders, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Some of his theories, like one involving AHF President Michael Weinstein, are a little Manchurian. But he does call out quite a few questionable motivations behind this AHF pushed bill. Paul also discusses the role of Cal OSHA and how all the legislative drama has been great for business.

Click here to check out our 2010 Interview with Paul Morris of Treasure Island Media

 

LTASEX: With the passage of Measure B and progress of CA AB 332, there seems to be a focus on getting the porn industry, much of which is based in CA, to wrap it up. Proponents of these moves are claiming that it’s necessary to protect workers. Opponents say it’s an anti-business babysitting. What do you say?

Paul Morris: “If you look at it closely, it's neither.”

Those funding and working for these measures are either employed by or funded by AHF. The truth is that they are being at best disingenuous and at worst fraudulent. 

“Those funding and working for these measures are either employed by or funded by AHF. The truth is that they are being at best disingenuous and at worst fraudulent. If you've had any experience in actual porn production (and obviously none of these people have) you know that the picture the AHF-ers present of porn is so completely off-kilter as to prove that they have no interest whatsoever in porn itself. It feels very much like 19th-century Victorians insisting on ‘bettering’ the lives of peoples of other cultures they'd never experienced.  But in the case of AHF, there's an even more pernicious intent.”

“Personally, it looks to me to be not only a play for attention and publicity (Weinstein admitted as much in a recent statement, stating that ‘We've gotten more publicity about condoms from this campaign around porn than anything else we could have ever done.’ Remember that AHF makes money from condoms.), but also a case of classic misdirection of public attention.”

“I think the real point of all this is an effort on the part of Mr. Weinstein to develop closer ties and associations with political power in California.  The actual agenda has little or nothing to do with either porn or HIV. It's about building connections with state politicos in order to grow his pharmacy business and his influence. I'm reminded of Charles Keating who, in the 1960s, used his very public anti-porn stance to extend his influence all the way to the White House.  In part by working with the associations he developed through his extremely sanctimonious and strident anti-porn "work", Keating was able to build an extraordinary business empire.”

 

LTASEX: Considering there was a syphilis outbreak last year caused by one of the industry’s most respected stars (Mr. Marcus), doesn’t that give some credence to the fears? Could you see why there are concerns over worker safety?

Paul Morris: “I think some perspective is helpful here. As you know, California has the worst safety record for workers of any state in the country.  Literally thousands of workers die in horrific ways every year. And we are, of course, in a period of economic etiolation that's only compounded by the "sequester".  Cal-OSHA, in documents they've published, admits that thousands--that's right, thousands--of California workers are dying on the job annually because they don’t have the resources to investigate or even notify companies and workers of deadly problems.”

"You have an odd situation where a very small group of people – the AHF-ers – are using a systemic loop-hole to coerce a state agency to police the one industry in the state that has supreme self-policing and a record of zero deaths, no injuries and a highly effective process concerning any and all disease." 

‘Now, if you have any actual experience with porn, you know that everyone involved is intensely concerned with everyone’s' well-being.  Everything is very open and above-board.  And if you remember, when the outbreak of syphilis occurred, adult companies in the state voluntarily stopped shooting until it was cleared up and taken care of.  The same can't be said of any other industry or profession in the state.  So, you have an odd situation where a very small group of people – the AHF-ers – are using a systemic loop-hole to coerce a state agency to police the one industry in the state that has supreme self-policing and a record of zero deaths, no injuries and a highly effective process concerning any and all disease.”

 

LTASEX: “6,500 worker deaths a year from chemical exposure alone. In porn, 0 worker deaths.  That’s zero. As in, not a single one.” Wouldn’t it make sense that some people might see exposure to HIV and other STIs as reason for concern?

"Or suppose you are shooting a scene with two men who are in a long-term relationship.  One is poz, the other is neg and on PrEP. They regularly fuck and never use condoms. How would you deal with the issue of condoms and/or testing in their case?" 

Paul Morris: “Those who shoot straight porn are not only concerned but have taken reliable and responsible steps to guard against any infections. AHF and their cohorts (e.g. Shelley Lubben) have consistently exaggerated and even fabricated the numbers of incidents in the porn industry. The truth is, it's much, much safer to have sex in the context of a straight porn shoot than in the world outside of porn.  That is a fact. My porn is, of course, quite different. For instance, I happily and constantly work with poz men.”

“Suppose, for argument's sake, that you were shooting an encounter for TIM between two men who are both poz.  One is a bareback escort who lives to take loads, whether you pay him or not.  The other goes to the baths or gloryholes nearly every night and never uses condoms.  They've known each other for several years and have dozens of sex-partners in common. For them, sex is perhaps the central fact of their identities, their lives. How would you handle testing and/or condoms in such a situation?”

“Or suppose you are shooting a scene with two men who are in a long-term relationship.  One is poz, the other is neg and on PrEP. They regularly fuck and never use condoms. How would you deal with the issue of condoms and/or testing in their case?”

“I could go on with examples that are drawn directly from my daily work. The point is that the organization behind these bills completely fails to take the actual human beings, the complexity of their lives and practices into consideration. To say that AHF is ham-handed and blind would be far too kind.”

 

LTASEX: Many STIs (HPV, gonorrhea, meningitis, etc) can be transmitted through sexual contact not covered by Measure B (ie oral and skin-to-skin), what do you think that suggests about the bills and the motivations behind them?

Paul Morris: You know as well as I do what the real motivations are.  Publicity and profit.  None of this is actually about porn or the men and women who work in porn.

 

LTASEX: Has any of this affected TIM? How would AB 332 affect TIM? Does any of this worry you?

"It's given us great publicity and increased sales. There is a wonderful rise in the number of guys who are applying to work with us – both poz and neg."

Paul Morris: 1. It's given us great publicity and increased sales. There is a wonderful rise in the number of guys who are applying to work with us – both poz and neg.

2. It wouldn't affect us at all. Nor would it affect porn production in general, aside from making it either underground (and less safe) or out of state. Despite the repeated statements on the part of the AHF people to the contrary, if this bill or anything like it were to pass, porn would indeed go underground and it would be a very bad thing.

3. Does it worry me? No. I worry about Syria.

 

LTASEX: Perhaps these small steps suggest a trend that may lead to efforts that to prohibit the sale of condom-less porn in California or nationally. Where do you see it going?

Paul Morris: Much more likely is that the voting public finally will pay attention to the corruption of organizations like AHF and will investigate their financial history, their political connections (including lobbying) and their ongoing malfeasance.

 

LTASEX: If AB 332 passes, the California-based porn industry will have to find a work around. Most likely, companies will start shooting in Las Vegas or other nearby locations. That gives me the impression that this is more about in removing the porn industry from California than protecting workers. What are your thoughts?

"In each of their public statements the AHF-ers have been universally careful to argue that porn won't leave California. It's their way of arguing that their efforts won't lose money or jobs for the state. But they are utterly wrong: porn is the most nimble of all industries.  It moves, transmutes and metamorphoses to suit its needs. "

Paul Morris: No, this has nothing to do with wanting porn to leave California. AHF, in fact, is terrified that porn income for the state might decline or that that state might actually lose the SoCal porn industry.  In each of their public statements the AHF-ers have been universally careful to argue that porn won't leave California. It's their way of arguing that their efforts won't lose money or jobs for the state. But they are utterly wrong: porn is the most nimble of all industries.  It moves, transmutes and metamorphoses to suit its needs. California is most definitely going to lose an enormous amount of adult-related business. Regardless of whether or not the bill passes, the changes are already in play.

 

LTASEX: The porn industry has long been a lightning rod for sex-negative legislation and witch hunts. Do you think the porn industry is unfairly burdened? Do you think that there needs to be more protections from the anti-porn minority?

Paul Morris: Yes and no.  If porn ever becomes uncontroversial it will be a problem. It's a crucial genre that represents the unexpressed fantasies and needs of those who live in a terrifically repressed society. The catharsis it provides depends on its being liminal and extreme.

Nevertheless, it's absurd that porn has to deal constantly with a nearly systemically complete ignorance as to the importance, the functions and the cultural legitimacy of the genre. It's extremely common to encounter anti-porn policies in many support industries--finance, pr, and so on. It's commonplace to hear "We don't work with the adult industry." This has to be rectified.  It amounts to ignorant and illegal bigotry and has to go. 

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Paul Morris Treasure Island Media Interview: AHF crusade causing 'wonderful rise in the number of guys who are applying to work with us – both poz and neg'

In this interview, Paul Morris does what he does his best and gives an alternative view to pro-condom crusaders, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Some of his theories, like one involving AHF President Michael Weinstein, are a little Manchurian. But he does call out quite a few questionable motivations behind this AHF pushed bill. Paul also discusses the role of Cal OSHA and how all the legislative drama has been great for business.


Shut the fuck up about other people barebacking already. You're the real asshole.

I think it’s about time that we realize that even though we may have rabid compulsions to prevent this behavior, we cannot. If we do then we are just as bad as those who seek to prevent homosexuals from getting married or women from getting abortions. Unless we are willing to rid ourselves of all choice, we mustn’t remove anyone else from any choice. We must live and let live.

Paul Morris, Treasure Island Media's Maverick Talks About Porn, HIV, & "The Complex Behavioral Language" Of Gay Sex - Part 2

We continue our chat with porn pariah Paul Morris. If you didn't read part 1 of our interview with Paul Morris of Treasure Island Media, you can check it out here.

Paul Morris, Treasure Island Media's Maverick, Sets The Record Straight About Porn, HIV, & "The Complex Behavioral Language Of Gay Sex" - Part 1

Porn is and will always be a hot button issue. In today’s porn world, there is no greater lightning rod than Paul Morris and his porn production company, Treasure Island Media. Morris has built a small empire on the backs, and cocks, thousands of willing men, an empire which shows no sign of recession. In fact, Treasure Island Media is currently enjoying near obscene levels of success, despite the overall downturn of the porn industry during the past decade.

The great success of Treasure Island Media and Paul Morris is underscored and, arguably, bolstered by their well-deserved rebel status in the porn community. To be honest “rebel” is a bit too sexy of a title; leper is definitely a more accurate adjective. Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media are vilified in boardrooms and press rooms for their choice to shoot exclusively condomless porn. Some have called him the “shepherd of slaughter” and a “murderer” for his fetishization of not only so-called “bareback” sex, but also his laissez faire approach to HIV.

With all the drama surrounding Paul Morris and Treasure Island Media, it is hard to get a handle on the real story. So, over the course of four months Paul and Me corresponded, what follows is the result. If you thought that you knew Paul Morris, if you thought that you knew Treasure Island Media, if you thought that you knew porn, it may be time to re-evaluate that hypothesis.

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