Should Anonymous Bloggers’ HIV Statuses Be Revealed?

Following today’s NY Times piece on Erik Rhodes, which mentions his HIV status, there’s now a poll running on a fairly popular gay porn blog (at least among hardcore fans and people within the gay porn industry) that asks if gay porn stars’ HIV statuses should be “revealed.” First of all, given the fact that Rhodes is dead, the Times printing his HIV status has no effect on him or his career, and in the context of the article, it was a relevant piece of information. Second, the word “revealed” is, of course, a poor choice of words (the proper one is “disclosed”); as if someone’s private health information is some sort of contrived surprise. Anyway, back to this poll.

“Should the HIV status of a gay porn star be revealed?” they ask. You’re given two options in the poll: Yes or No. Technically, there are three options if you consider the two “Yes” options they provide as somehow different from one another (“Yes–only to other fellow porn stars and studios” and “Yes–everyone including the public”), but I don’t. Imagine if, for example, Erik Rhodes’ HIV status had been disclosed to one of his less than mentally stable scene partners from the past and how that might have played out, first on the set and then, undoubtedly, in some sort of public meltdown on Twitter. So, once one person finds out, everyone finds out. There are HIV-positive actors working steadily in gay porn without ever transmitting the virus to scene partners. Identifying them as positive and, what, segregating(?) them from performers who happen to be negative would easily lead to public outings and discrimination, and we’ve already seen how that plays out. Furthermore, if you think that this is an industry that is administratively or economically equipped to start self-segregating and/or sorting its performers into positives and negatives without violating HIPAA laws, you’re even more delusional than a blogger who thinks that “revealing” someone’s HIV status is something that should be voted on.

And with that said…

104 thoughts on “Should Anonymous Bloggers’ HIV Statuses Be Revealed?”

  1. I actually cried when I read some of these comments. As a HIV positive guy who became infected through an act that did not include sexual activity I am deeply saddened by the ignorance of some posters. Two quick thoughts. HIV though a life altering disease is manageable and when treated responsibly can make the posititive uninfectious to a high degree. Segregation is a horrible and demeaning thought. I’d choose HIV over gential warts or Hep C any day. Warts and herpes can be spread through skin on skin contact. But if proper steps are taken even those conditions are manageable. If negative men could live one month in the shoes of a positive man you would be much more empathetic and considerate in your words. Look sex is a dirty act. It is essential an exchange of sweat spit and a miriad of many things. But it is also risky. If you get into the porn industry you need to embrace all the risks as acceptable. Not just attempt to regulate and single out one condition to feel more at ease with your job. Be smart and use a condom which is highly effective and stop dehumanizing, and degrading positive men as pariahs of society.

    1. I understand that you are hurt, and yes, the term segregation is a bit too dramatic of a word to use. But despite the comments on this thread, this issue is really, in my humble opinion, about choice. Whether an HIV negative actor has the right to know about the HIV (and STD) status of their scene partner so that they can make an informed decision about whether they would like to perform with that performer. To me the question and grant of choice is a more paramount concern and to the extent that studios can afford their actors that choice they should. I believe that one poster had a suggestion that, absent unethical practices by the industry, is worth serious consideration – the questionnaire. Ask all actors as a part of their orientation “do you mind working with an HIV positive actor”. If the answer to the question is no then the company would not pair that actor with an HIV positive actor, the HIV positive actor’s status is never revealed, the actor that declined to work with him is not exposed as being “closed minded” or “bigoted” (not that he should be), the studio could and would be held liable if they knowingly paired the actor with an HIV positive actor (there is the legal control) and above all else choice would be preserved.

  2. News flash–when you are a public persona (and “Erik Rhodes” was to a degree), you do not have an entitlement to privacy about your life once you are no longer breathing. The sum total of your life becomes available for public view. A lot of you shrieking hens here don’t like that, but, that is the way modern life works. James himself was a party to this public inspection of his life by revealing aspects of his life that were seen as socially unsavory. The screams of “they had no right to mention his HIV status” shows anyone reading this thread that gays STILL stigmatize people with the disease. Were some aspects of the NYT article tacky? You bet. Do those aspects also serve to paint a fuller picture of the person? Uh huh. Did his brother moralize in the article? Uh huh…but then he was James’s brother, so he can do that. Part of me wonders why some of you are screaming so loudly…since in about a month, most of you will have forgotten the name “Erik Rhodes”…..which was something James himself frequently pointed out in his writing. Rest in peace, James.

  3. After reading a majority of the comments here about the revelation of Erik’s HIV status, I can’t help but think about the fact we have HIPAA rules in place to protect the privacy of one’s health information in the doctor-patient relationship. I would think that true “friends” with any ounce of integrity would think about that simple fact before opening their mouths to the media dishing on someone’s confidential health information, regardless how that information pertained to the “news story.”

    Let this be a lesson to all of us about what we share with people we think we can trust or on social media/hook-up web sites, you never know when it might come back to haunt you.

    1. Samuel Colt has a lot of nerve claiming to be Erik’s friend. He was nothing more than a hanger on who betrayed his confidence even in death.

  4. The question that is pressing on my mind is did Falcon Studios reveal to Erik’s scene partners that he was HIV positive? I’m hoping that Falcon and the other studios are doing the responsible thing and informing their models about the STD status of their scene partner(s).

  5. Regardless if the reporter knew before hand..Samuel Colt should of NEVER confirm it..with friend like that who needs enemies!!

  6. As far as I’m concerned, the only person who needs to know about HIV status is a sexual partner, be that a scene partner in porn, or somebody in their private life. These public revelations serve no other purpose than making a salacious story to be blogged and tweeted about.

  7. As everyone can read above, I totally don’t get why Samuel Colt should be attacked for telling that anecdote.
    That said, I am a bit surprised he hasn’t given some reaction to the reaction. It could be very well “Fuck off” (although it would be more constructive and interesting to hear how that came about in the interview in the NYT).
    He doesn’t owe anybody any explanation for sure but since we know he is a reader of The Sword, I would have loved to hear from him.

    1. If I had to hazard a guess, I think that most people object to the fact that Mr. Colt responded at all. Whether he volunteered the information or simply confirmed what the reporter knew, I think what people are objecting to is the fact that he is on record sharing information that was both irrelevant to James’ death and that further damages an already flagging reputation. Someone said it above, it might have been better for Mr. Colt to decline to respond to any question of that type as James’ never publicly admitted his HIV status. I believe though that this outing of sorts might contain the tiniest sliver of a silver lining because it might encourage his past sexual partners to get tested.

      1. As I said, *I* would not have volunteered the anecdote but it is puzzling to me people would feel like Colt “betrayed” anyone by telling it.

        First, undoubtedly it was told with the goal of furthering the point of the article about how porn enabled – or even actively cause part of – Rhodes’ self-destructiveness. It was meant to defend Rhodes and explain his untimely demise, not sully his reputation! On the contrary!

        Secondly, we can go back and forth on whether his HIV status should have gone to the grave with him but again the information had undoubtedly seeped to the journalist already and the point of the story was certainly not the status – but the callous way in which he found out and had to deal with it! If Colt was under the impression that fact already going to be in the article, I certainly can understand why he’d want to tell a story that emphasized the pathos of it all.

        And finally, as I said before, it is puzzling to me that this specific quote – where Rhodes comes off as a bit desperate but RB comes off as much worse – is what people are upset about when it is certainly not the most degrading story told about Rhodes in that article, far from it. If you want to be angry at people around Rhodes for volunteering unnecessarily humiliating details of his life, how about being angry at his brother for showing the journalist those text messages and telling the guttingly trashy details of his last night? That puts Rhodes in a much sadder light than his HIV status IMO.
        His brother is obviously in pain and blames the industry for Rhodes’ death. He went to the NYT with the story and details to further his agenda – at the risk of revealing some not-so-pretty details of his brother’s life. We may or may not agree with his choice – certainly Rhodes himself volunteered a lot when he was alive and seemed quite self-aware so he may have understood – who knows? – but again Colt was a secondary element of the article.
        If there is blame for oversharing, it shouldn’t be directed in his direction.

        1. You seem to be preoccupied with the question of which was worse – sharing James’ HIV status or the lurid details of his last night alive. Comparing the two I believe misses the point of the objection to Mr. Colt volunteering or at least confirming the information. The objection I believe is founded on a set of rational propositions that when taken together would suggest that Mr. Colt should have declined to respond to any question concerning James’ HIV status. First, James was not public about his status despite being candid and forth right about most of his life. Second, presumably he shared this with Mr. Colt in confidence with the expectation that he would never share what he was told (a desire that I am sure he intended to survive death). Third, when confronted with a question, the answer to which might cause a person to reveal something that they reasonably believe that they should not, the proper response to decline to answer. Simply put, Mr. Colt, to this group, seems as if he betrayed James’ trust and yet still maintains that he was a friend to him. There is something about that claim of friendship that seems suspect to this group. You can certainly question his brother’s motives for sharing what he did, but that would not make the claim of Mr. Colt’s objectors any less sustainable.

          As for his brothers alleged anti-porn industry campaign, I would say that what you are seeing is a brother and best friend grieving the loss of a brother and best friend. Moreover, I believe that from his perspective, pornography added nothing to his brother’s life that it did not take away from him in increasingly greater and disproportionate sums, and from that perspective his indignation is understandably justified. I am not sure that I see a crusade brewing as you do, but I definitely see him raising concerns about the reality of an industry that at least played a part in his brother’s demise. Again, I could be completely wrong.

          1. Maybe in the course of making my point, I made too many side points that confused my main point.
            All I am saying is that I doubt the information came from Colt and therefore I can easily see a scenario where the journalist would have said “How do you think the fact he was HIV+ affected him?” and Colt would have answered with that revealing anecdote (in that it shows the callousness with which studios treat performers even in highly emotional situation like finding out one is HIV+) without thinking he was “revealing” anything. He was not betraying any trust if the information was already circulating within the context of this article.

            I was also not worrying about comparing anecdotes. I was simply stating it was hard for me to understand why the obsession over Colt on this. The decision to share these personal details was the brother’s. I completely understand where he is coming from – I would have done a different choice but I understand why the porn industry may have some degree of responsibility in his mind – but clearly all this started with him. So if people wanna be upset with Rhodes’ memory being sullied with unnecessary revelations I don’t understand why Colt should be held primarily responsible.

            Because again, while I’d love to hear from him directly how it came about, I am 100% sure the journo already knew about Rhodes’ HIV status.

  8. First of all, it was not Samuel Colt who “outed” Erik Rhodes’ HIV status. Its status is introduced by the journalist. Samuel Colt only tells the story on how Erik Rhodes found out.

    Secondly, who is damaged by this revelation? nobody. Erik Rhodes is dead now (on something completely unrelated with his HIV status) so it won’t have any impact on him, rest in peace. If the disclosure of Erik Rhodes’ status somehow diminished your esteem or consideration of the man, well, the problem is yours.

    Of the whole article the part I feel disturbed by is the conclusion. I understand the point of view of the poor brother, but I don’t agree with the preachy conclusion (“porn is bad, morally bad, doing it won’t lead anywhere good”). It all depends on the person.

    1. When you have sex with someone , ESPECIALLY AN ESCORT , you should suppose that he is HIV+ , for safety reasons. Chances are about 50-50 with this population.
      Escorts should see their clients as HIV+ too if they don’t want to get anything .

  9. DAMMIT….just not to the other performers!….the studios should have the choice to require a neg test, so yes they would need to know… egads….even proofing I keep fucking it up! Where is the edit button Zack?

  10. A sex worker, whether in porn or escorting should be aware/educated about STDs and how they are tramsitted. Given that, they should assume all their partners may be poz, and act according to their limits. Especially if the site/studio does NOT require tests, even if they use condoms.

    If a studio requires testing prior to shooting a scene and if their policy is to not use poz models, I would assume the performer would just quit without telling them or the studio/site would just simply not use them if the model felt he/she needed to disclose that info(in the case of Mason Wyler how did he get to film without a neg test result?)

    I do think that revealing Eriks status was not a good thing, and not relevant. It just gives added fuel to the fire against porn in general and even more towards the gay community. He will be used as an example of why being gay and/or in porn is completely wrong.

    The bottom line is that all performers should be aware of the risks and how to prevent them. It is their responsibility to their own health. It is the sex industry. Not a dating, hook up or relationship situation where it is relevant. It’s the career they chose.

    1. LOL I had a brain freeze! I meant to include that the tests results and status should NOT be required to be disclosed to other performers and the studios/sites

  11. I’ll say it again “i smell bullshit”…but it really doesn’t matter i will never become a member of the RB site!
    Sean Cody /Corbin Fisher and Bel Ami will be the recipients of my disposable funds :-)

  12. It’s mind blowing the criticisms you all can throw without knowing the whole story. We don’t know what really happened. We don’t know who else the reporter talked to. We don’t know who else may have revealed his status. Why do you feel the need to jump to conclusions and judge someone? I think the reporter is inconsiderate for even including anything about his status in the article. It had nothing to do with his death.

  13. I work for Randy Blue and I photographed Erik Rhodes’ solo shoot and the article regarding his visit to Randy Blue was 100% NOT TRUE. We have never booked a model at RB for a sex scene without shooting a solo first. Not once. He was always booked for a solo shoot (in fact it was his first) and we planned it ahead of time, like always. Since it was a solo shoot we did not require an HIV test for it. RB was not the one to break this news to Erik Rhodes at all.

    Even if Erik Rhodes (or any model) would have gotten a STD test for his shoot it would be done prior to flying into town… Models get their own test done, we don’t see the results until the model gives it to us. He would have gotten it in his own state and at his own clinic and they would have read him the results. The story just made no sense to us.

    The other thing to remember about testing is we require a full STD check, not just for HIV. Nobody wants their scene partner to be dripping, do they? There are some awful strains of Gonorrhea and other fun stuff out there that can put a damper on a porn set.

    1. Yea rite…after all these years of Erik on film for Falcon etc…RB still needs a solo vid from him bullshit…i smell damage control…i was born at night but NOT last night! SMH

      1. What damage? Anyway all you have to do is look at Randy Blue… Chris Porter, Johnny Hazzard, Erik Rhodes all did solos.. That is how our site works. OK now I am going back to work.

      2. @Max: You’re an idiot. It doesn’t matter how “famous” the model is. A solo video is a way to stretch out their involvement with the studio. One extra video to pour on the paying audience and fill the release schedule.

      3. I’ve had a membership before. he’s not lying. Almost all of them if not all do a solo shoot first. hell, some of those solo guys only do just that one time and then you never see them again. I’m like wtf after that. but I’ll bitch about that later

    2. my question to you in regards to that is this: for some of the guys who do solo scenes once and never return; what’s the deal behind that? do these guys just simply agree to just that one video? is it because of something behind the scenes that they don’t come back? actually this can expand to a few other guys who even partner up with other models. do you know anything in regards to that?

      1. Solos are an audition. Does the model have a tough time getting hard? Can they stay hard? How long can they stay hard? How does the model appear on camera? You’d be shocked at how some beautiful men just don’t shoot well – whether its certain wrinkles and shadows become more prominent to the camera than the eye or muscle development doesn’t come across.

    3. Lies. ERIK Rhodes/James posted THIS, “Randy Blue.. I feels as if i kinda have to hold my tongue about… but will say… if that whole company and everyone in it dropped dead tomorrow… well i would lose any sleep”… talk about DISDAIN. Why? Because he got the news. THAT day. Reliable source outed this entire story. RB is trying too hard to cover that naked ass of theirs.

      1. Especially since he had been hired for a sex scene and … for Heaven’s sake, HE HAD JUST FOUND OUT HE WAS HIV+ that very day!!!

  14. GayPornReviewer

    What makes the circumstances of Erik Rhodes’ death so sad is that here was a troubled and hurting human being who did not receive the help and support he so obviously needed! A tragedy!

    The hypocrisy of the “safe sex” studios knows no bounds. In your face “cover up” ads from the main studio, while promoting “bareback” videos from their subsidiary studio! The porn industry is a crass industry — the bottom line is the bottom line. The industry as we knew it when Erik started his career is rapidly disappearing. Desperate studios will cut corners and bend or break their own rules.

    As in the world at large, like other celebrities, gay pornstars can have no expectation of privacy. As a reviewer and researcher, who was a secondary performer in the Toby Ross era of the gay porn industry, and have been following the industry for over 30 years — from film loops, to video cassettes, to dvds and now online video-on-demand — I search for facts and the truth. If the information that has been made public is factual, then what is the problem? There can be no condemning of the truth.

  15. The NY Times reported this story as they should have. The fact Erik had a twin brother to contrast his life to was central, as were all the dirty details about how his life spiraled lower and lower. And I would imagine someone so open and honest about so many other aspects of his life, it was horribly depressing to have a disease that you had to stay quiet about as it would certainly have affected his income from escorting.

    Randy Blue’s policy is what I find more distasteful. Is this 1989 again where we should be afraid of people with HIV and segregate them to the back of the bus? I’m all for proper testing and letting the models decide for themselves if it’s an issue, but some studio wide ban is ridiculous. Just ask a simple question when you sign new models up: Are you willing to work with HIV positive scene partners?

    Oh, and their attitude of “I’m sorry you tested positive and you’re probably in a really shitty, depressed mood. And if you weren’t depressed before, did I mention we think you’re totally and completely unfuckable in our eyes now – we don’t even want to see you fuck another HIV+ model, that’s how tainted you are. But can we still get you to jack off for us on camera?” Not that I expect much from porn companies, but that’s really a new low in how shitty they can be.

      1. I can’t imagine what’s distasteful about declining to use poz models in a duo scene. Just asking his prospective partner whether he minds is risky to the model and the business. Even if the neg model signed a full medical informed consent waiver, a good lawyer would tear it to shreds in court and demonize both the studio and the industry should the model convert. Condoms aren’t 100% effective (I can’t believe we haven’t learned that by now), and the studio has every right ethically and morally to choose to avoid all risk to their models.

    1. I don’t think the model should be given the choice. A studio that knows one of their performers has HIV should not facilitate a sex between that person and someone who doesn’t. Segregate them.

      1. That is like saying segregate the gays from the straights, you sound just like those awful west baptist Christians whom would should your ass for opening your damn mouth fucking shithead.

  16. Sad, but not surprised

    Now that Eric’s blog is down, I hope his brother is planning to work with an author to use the blog entries to tell his brother’s story in a cohesive way. Erik was well written, thoughtful and often funny in his blog. Using his own words (which were already out there for public consumption), as well as his brother’s interjections to ‘fill in the blanks’ about their time growing up and what was happening during the times the blog entries were written could tell a really powerful, relevant story.

    Now that the story of Erik’s death is being discussed more in the mainstream, there are a lot of folks who didn’t have a chance to read the blog or read is pretty infrequently. Obviously there’s a story there and I think Erik would like it to be shared in some way. It would certainly add a different take on Erik’s ‘legacy’. Some of Erik’s responses in his Q & A section of the blog were often sad, but others were also often laugh out loud funny. Erik was pretty fearless about saying what he wanted to. That alone needs to be preserved and remembered.

    1. It was clear from James’ blog posts (at least to me), and D. Hartley’s tribute (he encouraged James to write a one man show) that James resisted writing a memoir because he felt that he would be doing nothing more than “regurgitating the same old disgusting stories” he told before. Further, according to one of his tweets, he was quite upset that most people thought that his “stories” were fabricated and that those who did believe him pitied him in a way that he found condescending and hurful. I can imagine that the readers of a book about him might very well do the same. Moreover, he did not share everything with his brother because he knew that “his brother’s heart sank every time that he heard more bad news about him [me]”. Based on that alone it is likely that his brother would not know enough to fill in the blanks, and have a difficult time confirming what was true about James’ experiences adequately enough to write the type of cohesive story that you want to read. Last, James wrote in an attempt at self-help, self guided therapy, and he was clear that any help that others received from reading what he wrote was merely incidental to that. I do not think that James intended for his writing to be anything other than personal reflection and expression and that intention should be respected. Then again I could be wrong, he was on the whole a paradox of sorts.

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but James book would/could be a rehash of Portrait of a Drug Addict as a Young Man by Clegg, which was widely panned for being self-indulgent drivel that offered the reader little to nothing in the way of meaningful insight. To be honest, the people who would buy a book about James’ life would do so for the dubious reason(s) of seeing if they were mentioned (fare weather friends), to sate prurient interests, or further confirm what they (unforgiving, distant and curious onlookers) thought they knew of him. None of these individuals appealed to James in life and I doubt that he would want to share intimate details from his life with them in his passing. One of James’ tweets following his last release from Bellevue referenced Hunter S. Thompson’s 2005 suicide note. Of all the things that I remember about James’ writing, that short tweet (which was really a retweet with him adding “right on, you tell ’em”) was revealing. He identified with an iconic figure whose life was also devoted to excess, defiance, and in the end, was reduced to an almost indecipherable demand for finality – “no more…”. I believe that James deserves the same and a book about his life not written by him would seem intrusive and frankly inauthentic. Again, I could be wrong.

      1. Sad but not surprising

        A.C.— Thanks for taking the time to write an insightful post. Having read it, I have to agree a book probably isn’t necessary.

  17. People deserve respect. When you don’t disclose your HIV poz status to (potential) sex partners you disrespect your (potential) sex partners. It’s because of individuals who treat their (potential) sex partners with disrespect and lie or not share the info at all (and push the blame and responsibility to the – potential – sex partner) that makes the general assumption that every (potential) sex partner is HIV poz a life saving defense mechanism that results in major trust issues.

    Zach, your poll is of poor taste, because it is mocking HIV transmition and the necessarity of disclosing your HIV status to your (potential) sex partners in order for your (potential) sex partners to make an informed decision.

    Does someone’s HIV status matter outside the realm of sex and the sex industry? No, but given that this very blog is about sex, the sex industry (including porn and escorting), and porn stars and porn performers it is important. Are readers supposed to be left outside while you, Zach, share some inside ‘jokes’ with porn industry insiders that make no sense to the outside world but make you feel superior? Is that the purpose of this blog (well, apart from promoting gay porn releases)?

    You (= porn performers in general) are not comfortable to discuss your own real HIV status in public? Well, maybe the porn and sex industry isn’t your kind of venue then. Oh, you still want the money that comes with it? Oh, well then let us trivialize HIV and AIDS to suit you, because after all it is all about you.

  18. It was malicious to disclose his status, because he is dead doesn’t constitutes a free for all..he still have family members etc that he might have want this kept secret..i’m sure it wasn’t porn that he contracted this from but his pvt life ie escorting..i know for a fact many escorts in porn or other wise bareback!

  19. I’m for full disclosure , everyone should properly inform their partner of their HIV status . Get tested regularly if you have multiple partners , this is how it should work . Hiding things under the carpet doesn’t help and may facilitate transmission . Also if nobody comes out as HIV+ it loses visibility and people tend to forget about it ( noticed the bareback trend in porn in the last few years ?).

    As for Erik , I think he said he barebacked on his blog so this comes as no surprise, I understand he was probably terrified it would make him lose clients or degrade his image . I guess he didn’t expect to find support anywhere ( or didn’t want to be pitied?), which is REALLY sad.

    I don’t know how things work in America but I remember reading many soridid details after Whitney Houston’s death from the autopsy papers ( like how many false teeth she had o_O). Isn’t this information public over there, like the criminal records , mugshots , etc…?

    RIP Erik :( You will be missed

  20. The gay studios either need to start testing or stop portraying themselves as responsible entities that care about the health of their actors. Why was Rhodes enabled for years, when everyone knew about his drug addictions much less his HIV status? Throwing some condoms on the situation is not responsible conduct- just window dressing. I would rather see two negative performers going bareback than the ridiculously hypocritical trash we are being fed by Falcon/Raging Stallion and others.

    1. Well studios like Falcon, Raging Stallion, Titan, Michael Lucas do hire bareback performers in condom porn. Some of you guys need to get with the program. Don’t bitch about the gay porn industry, there is a lot of shit that goes on behind closed doors. This shit has been going on for many years, some of you guys either are too young to know or was just born yesterday.

  21. hmmm I think Im going to reveal every gay porn star’s status that I know of. THEN I’m going to say “whoops!” it was cajoled out of me!!!!

    1. Does it fucking matter, like really and we wonder why most men stay in the closet cause gays like you want to gossip and spread rumors

  22. @Zach: “There are HIV-positive actors working steadily in gay porn without ever transmitting the virus to scene partners.”

    LOL. This is where I stopped taking you seriously. This is also the point where you stop being a bitch and start being an utter disgrace. I can just imagine the amount of money you are being paid to be an apologist for the industry and ALL of its facets. I would call you “stupid” but after such a comment, I’m pretty sure that somebody has already told you that. Now I feel like it is completely beneath me to do so.

    1. I agree. How can the author know that there are HIV+ performers still working who have never transmitted HIV to a partner? He cannot. There is simply no way to know. Condoms do break, as we are all aware, and thus it is more than likely that these positive performers not infecting their partners is simply a fantasy. I find this article to be in poor taste, and the “poll”, although I think it is unfair to even refer to it as such, is in even worse taste.

      Furthermore in a number of states it is a criminal offense, punishable under the law with jail time, to have sex as an HIV positive individual without telling your potential sexual partner about your status and consequently infecting them, even accidentally. It is seen under the law in these states similarly to someone accidentally shooting another person with a gun they did not mean to fire. It is still assault with a deadly weapon whether you meant to shoot it or not.

      1. Thank you for being the voice of reason and sanity. If only others would be as astute without insulting the intelligence of the enlightened.

        I’d like to see a poll conducted to determine the replacement candidate for Zach. It’s long overdue since Anderson Cooper he is not!

  23. Sad, but not surprising

    Erik was pretty specific about his offscreen activities. His partners had a better knowledge of risks than lots of people do in their day to day lives.

    He obviously chose to keep this information out of the public eye for his own reasons, which was his choice. I am kind of disappointed that his friends and family did not do the same (but, perhaps it was his wish to let people know, if he died. I hope that is the case.)

    Hearing rumors about his bad childhood, as well as from his blogging …. it’s also interesting to me that they chose to disclose his HIV status and talk about the ills of the porn industry ……but didn’t take the time to also discuss how childhood abuse can also fuck someone up as well.

    An HIV diagnosis isn’t a great addition to anyone’s mental health issues, but clearly Erik was damaged long before he got the diagnosis.

  24. Samuel Colt revealed his status, not the NY Times. Why he would mention that to the reporter is beyond me. He should have known better.

    1. How do you know what the line of questioning was that led to the HIV mention? How did the NY Times cajole the information out of Samuel Colt, and for what purpose? You don’t know.

      1. Oh please, Samuel is an adult and knows better regardless what I reporter asks….saying “I have no knowledge of that” doesn’t take a college degree but it does take common sense which clearly was not exercised here.

      2. that is irrelevant. are we supposed to know every detail behind every interview ever? the fact is: Samuel told the reporter about Erik’s status.

        1. Again, is it really that big of a deal that his HIV status was disclosed?

          I think it’s for the better that Samuel Colt gave this information. HIV carries more stigma and hurt than necessary- maybe this will add enlighten many people who looked to Erik Rhodes for his godlike status. He was a grieving, hurting, sick, human being. But we still fantasized about him. We still wanted to look like him.

          HIV status shouldn’t have to be a secret. Until we live in a time without HIV, we should acknowledge its presence and place within our community. Making vicious comments about so-and-so outing so-and-so isn’t going to help anything. If anything, wouldn’t it have been nice if we had all been much more understanding?

        2. No. Samuel told a story on Eric found out about his status. He didn’t reveal it – it is quite likely the reporter already knew since his brother clearly had volunteered a lot of personal information otherwise.
          And clearly someone put the NYT in touch with Colt while they were writing the story. He wasn’t the first source. I am pretty sure the journalist – and you may have read in my other comments I am not necessarily thrilled with this article either – had already many sources in Rhodes’ entourage. He may have needed a direct quote to share an information in the article he didn’t want to volunteer himself in the text of his article – so colt may unwillingly have enabled him that way – but I would bet my right arm Colt didn’t “reveal” anything.

      3. Makes no difference. He was his friend, and went on the record talking about his HIV status, which is something Erik never went on the record talking about. He obviously didn’t want the world to know about it.

  25. Erik’s status was obvious to anybody with a brain…see my comment in the thread of him sitting on Parker perry’s face (re: trash can).

    One thing I took from the article…I have a new respect for randy blue!!!!

  26. Personally, I found the details of his last night much more uncomfortable to read about than his HIV status. Not sure I understand why it was necessary to tell. I get his brother wants to tell the tale of what he feels was Rhodes’ sordid life but I am not sure it was necessary. It made me uneasy and it made the whole story even sadder.
    I think that, he should have kept to himself. But clearly he is now on anti-porn-industry crusade so I guess oversharing was the price to pay.

    1. Sad that he was paid to have sex in front of somebody when he clearly would happily do it for free? Rhodes wasn’t ashamed of being an escort and it sounds like he got paid to do something he enjoyed his last night anyway.

  27. What if you want to vote both A and B but not C ?

    A good blogger would dig and try to out the “wealthy client” Rhodes was “performing” for.

    1. Hum, no. Why would we care? How would the “good blogger” find out? And in any case: total invasion of privacy. the wealthy client had nothing to do with anything of this – he just happened to be the last person Rhodes was hired by.
      At best we could find out what other performer he was with if he is a name in the industry. But the client? Why would we care? How would anyone find out? People don’t go around saying they hire escorts!

      1. It was more a light-hearted remark than anything. I don’t give a damn it’s a gross invasion of privacy. When I read the article the first thing I thought when reading that Rhodes and another escort had “just finished performing for a wealthy client” was Gee, Wonder who that was, Would I recognize the name? So did everybody else reading it.

        1. Honestly I wondered who the other escort was since a lot of escorts are pornstars and recognizable names.
          Wealthy client? No. 99% of wealthy people are not famous.

          1. Why does it fucking matter, what he did and who he did is his fucking business and for his so called friend to out his medical history in public and all over the internet he should be shot. I seriously hope the family sue him and the NYT big time. That is invasion of privacy

  28. I don’t agree that revealing Erik’s HIV status was appropriate in the context of the article; HIV didn’t create the mental health issues Erik clearly had, HIV didn’t kill Erik and HIV didn’t prevent him from working in the industry, ever. Erik may have been open and honest about his steriod use, drug use and the times he may (or may not, we weren’t there) have had unprotected sex but I don’t recall ever a time that Erik spoke publicly about his HIV status. True “friends” don’t out a friend’s health information, period.

    1. I agree. As D said above and as the conclusion of the article very unsubtly states, the point of the article was to show being a porn star is a self-destructive life and his Hiv status is very very clearly listed as an “illustration” of why porn had a bad impact for Rhodes. The implication was clear and not only erroneous (no one knows how Rhodes got HIV) but borderline offensive.

      1. HIV status is completely irrelevant to the story and “outing” it served absolutely no purpose. Erik’s personal and mental health issues started long before he became HIV positive, that is what is absolutely relevant and the story would have served a greater cause by bringing to light the need for people to have access to better mental health medical care so that things like this don’t have to spiral out of control, as they did for Erik.

        1. He did allude to HIV being an “awful thing to live with” in the comment section of The Sword story about the Next Door Studios “Go Get Tested” PSA

          Next Door Studios Celebrates World AIDS Day With PSA

          “A bunch of porn stars smiling into a camera saying “go get tested” is not going to make anyone get off their asses… its a swell attempt to show concern, but you need to show everything that makes having HIV such an awful thing to live with to get results… just saying.”

          but I suspect the awfulness of it paled in comparison to his depression and bipolar disorder or whatever he had.

  29. i think we all know why Austin Wilde left Raging Stallion for NDS. it was the testing aspect. He has a right to know if his partner is HIV +

    1. As much as I sympathize with Zach’s discomfort with the hideous idea we should segregate porn performers – or gay men in general – according to HIV status, I do not think it is unfair to say some people should be left the choice to decide what they wanna do.
      Yes, more often than not they may have sex with someone HIV+ and not know. But if the information is out there, I can’t be mad for everyone to want all the information to make an informed decision.
      When I was volunteering at the HIV hotline, we would have a stock answer about unprotected oral sex that the risk was infinitesimal to non-existent and that while there has never been any verified case of oral sex transmission of HIV, the theoretical risk exists. Shouldn’t people be in charge of what level of risk they are willing to incur? But on the other hand, do we want to run the risk of studios going overboard and HIV+ being actively shunned?
      In the end, I dunno how I feel about this. There is no right answer.

      1. I’m all for segregation.

        The lives of people who don’t have it are at risk. Political correctness (or I’ll even admit it…fucking human dignity) takes a backseat to protecting the performers health.

        Don’t risk the health of the performers who don’t have it.

        1. Fuck you, Gnormie. And enjoy celibacy. That’s the ONLY way you can be sure you’re not having sex with someone who’s poz.

          1. No, actually fuck you. That’s the argument every poz person has made since the 80s. It’s stale. Come up with something new. Every human should have the right to know their parenet’s status, including porn performers. If you chose nori waive that right that’s your choice, but it should always be truthfully offered to you. What you do with it is on you.

          2. What bullshit. If I’m gonna have sex with someone, I can and should ask what their HIV status is. If HIV+ people are offended by that, then they can get out of the business. If they don’t want other people knowing that they’re positive, then they’re in the wrong business. If they don’t care if other people know, then you shouldn’t care either. And if performers choose not to have sex with someone because they’re HIV+ that’s their right to do so! This idea that sexual self-segregation is a greater crime than uninformed sex partners is absolutely absurd and is typical San Francisco politically correct bullshit.

            If you’re pissed off that people don’t want to have sex with you because you’re HIV+, maybe you should have thought of that before you had unsafe sex and exposed yourself.

        2. There are these new fangled contraptions called condoms. Maybe you should read up on them. I hear talk that they can be pretty effective in halting a myriad of sexually transmitted ailments.

      2. That’s not true. There are verified cases or oral transmission. Few, but they absolutely do exist in the medical literature though they often get swept under the rug. I have also encountered 2 people in my life who were infected that way, and I believe their account and have no reason to distrust their stories.

        1. I know people who claim that’s how they got infected. I am sure they sincerely believe it. I don’t think it is true.
          Again the facts of what we know about HIV transmission makes oral transmission so unlikely as to be impossible.

          And I know what my training was at the California AIDS Foundation (see above). If you have specific instances of medical articles in scientific reviews documenting such transmissions, please share. I am genuinely interested. I don’t see how that would be possible because how could anyone identify the moment they were infected and what they were doing in a scientific environment? They cannot. People “claims” are not reliable. So I doubt there are medically reviewed articles claiming otherwise since it is impossible to prove following a scientifically reliable method.

          The theory warrants caution. The practice so far seems to show the risk for strictly oral sex to be infinitesimal to non-existent. Setting aside the unlikelihood of the circumstances that’d make it possible (who sucks a cock with an actively bleeding wound in their mouth?) the medical literature actually found a mildly HIV-fighting effect in saliva.

          On top of it, to be honest – and I say that respectfully – I am suspect of arguments in the vein of “swept under the rug”. Why in hell would they want to do that? If it had been proven, why in the name of God would they choose to let people be infected? Urgh. Conspiracy theories are so pathetic. Especially when they are used to justify unnecessary paranoia and anxiety on a topic that is already sad enough as it is.

          But since you are affirmative that it exists, please show me but until then, I will choose to believe the people that trained me and have focused their lives on fighting this hideous disease.

        2. Be sure to keep all of that in mind the next time you’re sucking an uncovered dick, teeMDV. And enjoy that tasty little bitty drop of precum!

        3. Sigh….Doctors that work in the infectious disease community have put the risk of HIV infection through oral sex at 1 and 10000 and most of those doctors think that number is too high. To get that risk you would have to suck the dick of an HIV+ person everyday for almost 25 years. The long term studies of +/- couples that have unprotected oral/protected anal/vaginal sex have shown that not one person became HIV positive. It’s a theoretical risk not an actual risk.

          1. Thanks, Estelle. In other words, there’s no need for the type of “segregation” that some posters here advocate, provided that everyone strictly adheres to the use of condoms when fucking.

            It’s behavior that matters” folks, not status.

  30. why aren’t you addressing the fact that your good friend Samuel Colt outed Erik in the article?

    Zach: ohh no big deal…sam gets a free pass because it was “relevant” in the article. he is dead anyways…

    you are a fucking joke.

    1. I think you really missed the point of the article. The NYTimes has better things to do than to get involved within the snark of gay politics. In my understanding, the article was written to comment on a microcosm within our society.

      The NYTimes made it very clear that this was a tragedy. By using the twin brother as a foil to Erik Rhodes, we are shown the life that Erik might have had in a more ideal society.

      The NYTimes brought this story and this aspect of the gay community to a massive audience, one that is a little more respectable than internet gossip (no offense to any bloggers.)

      And on the idea of HIV status- don’t you think this is kind of illuminating in light of recent events? Don’t you think this fact adds a different dynamic to his life? Don’t you think this plays a slight factor in how much help this man might have needed?

      He was a person. Yes, he existed as your masturbatory image, but that doesn’t make him any less of a person.

      1. thanks for the well thought-out reply. I got the point of the article, but I don’t know why Samuel included his HIV status in there. If I die, I don’t want every little piece on information revealed about me just because it won’t “affect my career”. It can affect many other things in his family and friend’s lives. Like pretty much outing his bf as positive because Erik publicly said how they only fucked bareback. (yes I know this doesn’t mean his ex-bf is positive blah blah blah).

        1. But remember James Naughtin was a sex worker. Therefore, knowing about his HIV status does become important within that context.

    2. Your attack on Zach: ridiculous

      Your point about why Colt volunteered that story … I’d be interested too. As I said below, clearly the NYT used that story to supposedly link Rhodes’ HIV status and the “porn star lifestyle”. Maybe Colt agrees – we know he and Porter are not as fond of the industry as they used to be.
      But I actually read the story differently so maybe that is why Colt told it. Doesn’t RB sound a bit callous in how they handled this? Shooting him in a solo scene the very day of his status reveal – after they humiliated him by cancelling the sex scene? Or am I the only one who is misreading that anecdote? It both shows Rhodes’ desperation and RB’s callous human practices if you want my opinion. Since Porter’s stint at RB was … unexpectedly short, let’s say, I thought maybe Colt had a reason to dislike RB and tell that story in the context of what he thought would be a story on how porn studios used Rhodes and enabled his emotional problems
      Or maybe I am totally reading too much into it.

      1. My attack is quite justified actually. Zach HAD A FIT about wylers status being outed on some pig-loser-fuck’s blog a few years ago. How is that different from what Colt did? He revealed it in the NYT of all places!! I don’t think Chris Porter is on bad terms with RB, I think he just decided to slowly fade from porn into his rapping career or w/e.

        1. The circumstances were quite different between the two reveals though.
          For one, Mason’s career was destroyed by the reveal. Not only Rhodes’ status can’t destroy his for obvious reason, but it flourished even afterwards (good on Falcon on that note btw).
          And Mason’s status was revealed maliciously. Not only I doubt Colt volunteered a secret information – I imagine the reporter already knew – but the intent was not to hurt Rhodes or his image.
          I wouldn’t have told that anecdote but the circumstances are quite different.

          1. Wyler shouldn’t have a career in porn if he’s HIV+

            Rhodes shouldn’t have either.

            Either quit doing porn or go to one of those sites that more or less promotes HIV like Treasure Island. Don’t continue to do porn and put the lives of non-HIV workers at risk.

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