By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Leave us alone and we will destroy ourselves.-Bill Margold,testifying to the Meese Commission, 1985
On the TV screen, sweating, entangled bodies heave and thrust before a backdrop of blue tinsel. The cameras bob and weave with no particular point and the lighting shifts without warning as three or four women service a parade of men. They approach in waves, looking for an opening, some finding one, others waiting in line, masturbating like pale human oil rigs. The women seem barely interested; occasionally one will giggle. It's rote copulation: one, two, three, next.
Now and then the director's voice is heard in the background, giving instructions. "Put a condom on" is not one of them.
This is Fluff Whores, one of two videos made out of extra footage from The World's Biggest Anal Gang Bang, shot earlier this year and released a few months ago by Chatsworth-based Midnight Video. The tape hit the X-rated racks just as the adult video industry was hit by its most serious crisis since porn entered the mainstream with Deep Throat.
Since January, five performers - one male and four females - have tested positive for HIV, the worst outbreak yet in the heterosexual side of the industry. At least two of the infected performers appear in Fluff Whores.
Brooke Ashley is one of them. The 25-year-old Asian-American believes it was on that shoot that she was infected, during unprotected anal sex. Marc Wallice, a veteran male performer who was one of her partners, has also tested positive for the virus.
Production manager Randy Munee, whose job it was to check the HIV-test results that performers are supposed to bring with them to the set, recalls that "the producer let Wallice work without proper paperwork. Wallice had a Xerox so bad . . . it looked like a Xerox of a Xerox. I told him that it didn't fly with me." Munee also maintains he never saw Ashley's test results at all.
"I was known as an anal girl. I was a girl they called for D.P.'s [double penetration]," says Ashley, who lives alone in a Los Angeles apartment. (Her 7-year-old son lives with her father back home in Kansas City.) Over the past six years, Ashley has made lots of porn videos and lots of money - in one month late last year, she estimates, she came close to raking in $20,000. She spent it just as fast. "I worked a lot and I did well for myself. But when you make that kind of money, you don't think it's ever going to end. I used coke and speed and I don't deny it, but I never used needle drugs. Part of the hard part of this business is dealing with how fast you are going. You need to cope. You get depressed."
Though she has required her partners to wear condoms before, Ashley says that on Fluff Whores, "I was going on faith that no one would shoot with forged documents. I had known Marc for years, so I didn't make him wear one. I was going on good faith."
The party is over for her, and she doesn't have much to show for it. "This business has been a part of my life for so long it's like a part of my family. I was practically a kid when I got into this," she says, near tears. "But I never put anything away on the side. I have no retirement, no savings. Nothing."
That Midnight Video decided to release Fluff Whores in the wake of the AIDS outbreak has her seething.
"I can't believe they are releasing this video," she says, noting that the company duplicated and shipped the video after her test results, and Wallice's, were known. "They know what I'm going through, and they don't care."
"Yeah, I heard she's got AIDS or something, or HIV, whatever," says Midnight Video general manager Karl Sorvino, pointing out that his company did not shoot the video, but merely acquired it for sale. "It doesn't mean anything that she has AIDS. Look, this chick took 50 guys in the ass in one video! This is a surprise? If anyone was going to get it, it was Brooke. Now she's raising a big stink, but no one cares. The video was shot - of course it's going to be released."
Cash Markman winces when he hears these comments repeated - and, as director of Fluff Whores and The World's Biggest Anal Gang Bang, perhaps he should. A scriptwriter-turned-director who usually works with bigger budgets and actual plots, he seems slightly embarrassed about his participation.
"That's the only gangbang I've done, and I am not trying to pass the buck, but I had to do it," he says, sounding remarkably like a man who's passing the buck. "I was obligated contractually." The scene was the producer's idea, Markman swears. Though the plan was to find 50 men to have anal sex with Ashley, Markman estimates about 40 finally performed, and recalls that Ashley did, in fact, ask some of the men to put condoms on and declined to work with a few others - who were promptly told to leave the set. (Ashley has claimed that "it was in the contract that I could only have half the guys wear condoms.")
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