…without recourse to human resources, unions, or health insurance.”
Just what you wanted, another article about why gay porn stars are committing suicide, or at least dying too soon. (Because all the people who work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds who have no access to unions or health insurance and who also kill themselves aren’t as exciting as gay porn stars, I guess.)
It’s called “The Porn Problem,” it’s in Out (surprise), and it’s looking for answers:
…[C]ould some of the fatal brew that brought these sex gods to their deaths be rooted in the industry itself?
It’s looking for answers as to why Arpad Miklos and others keep killing themselves, but maybe gay porn stars are killing themselves because of too many articles about why gay porn stars are killing themselves?
One key factor is economics: Porn alone does not pay the bills. These days, an actor lucky enough to have an exclusive contract with a studio won’t make more than about $24,000 yearly. Many do videos mainly to advertise their escorting, where they can charge $250 an hour or $1,200 for overnight sessions.
Maybe gay porn stars are killing themselves because of articles that help to perpetuate the notion that the gay porn industry is the dark and seedy basement of (whatever’s left of) gay culture that should be avoided at all costs? Maybe gay porn stars are killing themselves because of articles that call them unlucky, broke whores who have to sleep with strangers just to make ends meet (so to speak)? God, if I was a gay porn star reading about how awful my life was supposed to be, I’d kill myself, too.
It all makes for a secretive, isolating career, without recourse to human resources, unions, or health insurance. “There isn’t a strong or organized community of sex workers,” particularly among men, says Dr. Christian Grov, an associate professor at Brooklyn College. […] “You can enter the industry through Rentboy.com or Craigslist, so you’re not connected to others. And you can be emotionally exhausted from the work but can’t talk to family and friends about it to decompress. Then you resort to coping tools like drugs and alcohol.”
Coincidentally, the CDC just last week released new data showing that everyone is killing themselves more these days because things are pretty horrible everywhere, but why let national statistics that implicate everyone get in the way of an article that is entirely dependent upon shaming a specific set of people in a specific line of work? Even more coincidentally, this article appears in Out, which is (sort of?) a magazine owned by Paul Colichman, who is even more ashamed of gay porn than all of the dead gay porn stars were, according to Out, before they killed themselves.
Maybe this article appearing in Colichman’s Out isn’t a coincidence. Remember, Colichman is the Here Media CEO who bought up Unzipped, Men, and Freshmen magazines in 2007, and then quickly started dismantling them one by one (along with their affiliated websites) in 2009, all the while trying to hide all evidence of the magazines’ existence by stuffing away their production and their staffers (myself included; I worked for all three magazines from 2008 until their demise in 2010) in the almost secretive, isolated back corner of a Wilshire Blvd. office building, with Colichman’s entire Out/Advocate staff and their Adam Lambert covers gracing the same building’s front offices and lobby. To Colichman’s credit, he appeared at one point towards the end to want Unzipped to stay in production, so long as instead of having gay porn stars on the cover, we could use straight women and drag queens.
Of course, print was already dying anyway, so with or without Colichman’s porn shame, the magazines wouldn’t have lasted much longer. The point, clearly, is that nowhere will you find more shame about gay porn than from gay men, gay media and so-called gay-friendly institutions. Even some of the people who are supposedly gay porn fans who comment on this very blog seem to be ashamed of gay porn (or at least themselves for leaving a comment on a gay porn blog). More from the Out article:
With porn, there’s another factor: Your work lives on forever and can torpedo future career moves. In 2007, [Roman] Ragazzi, an Israeli whose real name was Dror Barak, quit his job at the Israeli consulate after the New York Post outed him as an escort and porn star. In 2011, teachers in Miami and Boston were fired after their porn pasts were revealed. That stigma can make porn stars feel there’s nowhere else for them to go, even as they age in an industry where everyone has a shelf life.
Instead of just observing the stigma and wallowing in a pile of shit with the dead gay porn stars, why can’t Out and other gay media condemn the stigma and reject the idea that sex workers, whores, prostitutes, and gay porn stars are doomed? Maybe it’s because gay media is too busy, too intellectually weak, or too ashamed of their own sexuality to embrace and support gay men in any context other than sports hero, Boy Scout leader, or someone who can finally get married in Delaware.
Out never once wrote about Erik Rhodes until after he died last summer, and when they did, they wrote that Rhodes and other gay porn stars were “destroyed” figures with no skills “beyond that of persuasion, perseverance (all those hours at the gym!), and charming personalities.” Out never once wrote about Roman Ragazzi either, until after he died. And Out didn’t come to Conner Habib’s defense (neither did The Advocate) when his gay porn work got him booted from a college speaking event in March—an event hosted by an LGBT group on a seemingly gay-friendly and liberal campus—but they did interview him for this article, and he’s quoted as asking to be thought of as more than just a “dirty whore.” OK, Conner, how about a secretive, isolated, dirty whore?