Porn's Mr. Marcus, Man Behind Syphilis Scare, Paid By Industry Anti-Condom Campaign
Updated at the bottom with a new response from the pro-condom side. First posted at 3:04 p.m.
In its battle against mandatory condoms, the porn industry has enlisted the help of ... the guy who sparked the adult biz syphilis scare and production shutdown in summer?
Yep. The performer who goes by the name Mr. Marcus, who admits he started the scare after testing positive and blocking his results so he could continue working, was paid $2,500 by the No on Measure B folks, according to public, campaign-expenditure documents:
They're running the industry's official war on an L.A. County initiative, measure B, that asks you to vote in November on mandatory condoms in adult video. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has been trying to get porn to practice safe sex for years, is behind the measure.
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The adult biz says consumers won't buy condom porn and that its regular testing of performers works. (In the case of Mr. Marcus, it did not).
Now why in the world would the anti-condom side pay Mr. Marcus when, it could be argued, his own lack of safe sex sparked embarrassing headlines for the smut biz?
Wouldn't his affiliation with the anti-condom movement raise eyebrows? Good question. Ged Kenslea, communications chief at AHF, told us this:
It's noteworthy and raises eyebrows in that, as you know, Mr. Marcus was at the epicenter of the syphilis outbreak that shut down the industry for two weeks in August. At the time the industry was doing a pretty good job at demonizing him.
James Lee, a high-powered Republican political consultant hired by the No on Measure B camp, told us this was the reason Mr. Marcus is being paid by the anti-condom camp:
Apparently AHF had contacted him offering tens of thousands of dollars to sensationalize his positive syphilis test. The campaign paid him a $2,500 honorarium in case we needed him to set the record straight and respond.
So it was a matter of who got to him first? (We reached out to Kenslea again to allow him to respond, and we'll publish his take on that when he gets back to us).
Things that make you go hmmm. Interestingly, the documents show that Mr. Marcus was paid under his stage name. If No on Measure B had used his real name, we probably wouldn't have noticed.
[Update at 4:46 p.m.]: AHF's Kenslea got back to us and said that while the organization had met with Mr. Marcus a few weeks after the syphilis controversy, the accusation that he was offered any money is false:
... No discussion of a payment to Marcus took place whatsoever ... Completely untrue.
-With reporting from staff writer Gene Maddaus.