Porn Rights?

I know very little about lobbying and discrimination laws, but I’m beginning to think that porn makers have no Rights.

I am a big fan of the Michelangelo Signorile show on Sirius/XM OutQ 108 (TheGist) I avidly listen to his show, and often topics come up that I think I have a unique perspective on, but because I run a gay porn site, I figure they will think I am plugging it, or someone will take issue with the content of the site. Like today they were debating the “Do Bisexuals Exist?” report, and I definitely have opinions on that! Having straight guys do gay sex ALWAYS brings up the “Bi” word!

The show tackles important things like marriage equality, don’t ask don’t tell, equality for all etc. Topics are far-ranging from the marketing and popularity of bottled water and its politics and effects, to using the word Dyke or Fag being appropriate in certain contexts. I usually agree with Mike, sometimes don’t, but always respect his opinion, and love the variety of topics and him trying to see all sides of issues. He is a honey badger for issues that effect us all, gay or straight.

That’s why I feel kind of lame about this post. In perspective to the Rights he takes on, I probably won’t get much sympathy.

For some reason, I think the general public thinks porn producers are fat cats, sitting on a pile of money. I long ago learned that any company that I do business with that knows I shoot porn, basically will charge me the highest price possible. It’s difficult to say why exactly it happens – for me it could be the content, or that it is gay porn vs straight porn, or could simply be companies raise their prices in an effort to not do business with me.

It was a lesson my Dad had to learn the hard way when we built my studio. Because I am on a tight budget and got a pretty strict construction loan (people think I pay cash for everything in full- No I have a mortgage like everyone else.) Both my parents are actually very proud of what I do. It has been tough for my Dad to stop him from, well, not necessarily bragging about what I do specifically, but what I have accomplished pretty much on my own over the last 5-6 years.

As an aside, Wells Fargo would give me a line of credit for my business in California, but was declined a loan in Texas by the same company because “Type of Business” Clearly they are allowed to discriminate on who they give loans to, but it is definitely not a evenly enforced discrimination.

So when building the studio he found anytime we got a bid, if my name or company, or product was in the mix, the price was always significantly higher.

He is so used to walking in and getting respect, and since he believes, as do I, most people enjoy their porn, that a discount might be in order. Ha! When it came to pricing and permits, I had to teach him that we literally have to bend over and take it up the ass.

I felt like George Lucas and him naming the sequel to Star Wars “Blue Harvest” in order to avoid price gouging during filming. A tactic not lost to the creators of Family Guy and their wildly successful send-up of the three movies. A must-see if you grew up during Star Wars mania.

Recently I posted an entry that I am looking for a new PHP/SQL programmer to update the site. It has been almost a two-year-undertaking. Most programmers are out of India, where they basically have programming farms or sweatshops. Programming porn in an open room is problematic, as well as religious issues that seem to run a bit deeper there than here in the U.S.- Though at times it feels ‘just barely.’

And the programmers I have found in the US that are independent are downright flaky. They are like rainbows. You can catch a glimpse, but they have a habit of disappearing. I am not alone in this opinion as I have approached two companies that do programming and when I tell them about my experience with freelance programmers, they nod their heads as if it is a story they hear over and over.

Yet neither company would work on my site. One company tried really hard. They answered my advert for programming an “adult gay website” and felt certain it would be no problem. They didn’t actually have programmers on staff, but a list of contracted programmers. They never could find anyone to take on the task. They felt really bad, and I really do wish that I could have worked with them. The salesman there was gay, and he too was surprised at the problem finding ANYONE to work on the site.

After my vacation, I had some time not filming to tackle other projects. A new DVD line-up for the next two quarters. Redesigning two of the studios (I really want to do a big “Porn Studio Reveal” ala HGTV!) as well as various other projects that are for the new year.

One of those task was to buckle down and find me a gay porn friendly PHP/SQL programmer and if I had to hire him/her full time then I would just have to bite the bullet and do it. I have so many things that need to be done to update the site, or hell, even do a complete overhaul. The site still uses small images, which I thought would be a problem, but with everyone using mobile devices, I found that sticking with smaller camcaps and such has actually been a bonus for mobile devices.

My tiny previews are now back in fashion!

Still, the site needs to become free of Flash and move to HTML 5 since Apple is determined to not allow it on it’s devices. Plus I would like to get my own payment processor and start doing some of the hard core stuff that my current processors won’t allow. Still keep the same Chaos style, but offer up something a little less Vanilla.

Hell, I have most of the HD videos re-encoded in 720p in MP4, but I can’t even get someone to touch the site to update it for those options to appear.

Anyway, back to my search for gay or porn friendly programmers.

I did a Google search on the words Gay Porn Austin Programmers and Onramp came up first.

Slick site. Big company. They have a cool option to chat with a live salesperson. Talked to Deb. VERY nice and I laid it out what I was looking for. I didn’t want a single developer, but a team that could handle my site for a long haul, even when their own staff would come and go. Knowing it was gay adult, she asked for the URL and then looked at it, then asked what kinds of changes I needed.

Went through them, and she said she would talk to her Dev Team to see if they could help. Not really seeing any issues with the tasks/programming needing to be done itself. Progress!

Next day I get a nice apologetic letter saying that she actually didn’t know that Onramp would not work on adult sites of any nature.

I understand of course, but I guess I don’t know why programmers can’t turn off images as they browse the site. It has been a feature of every web browser for years.

Even so it was the first time it dawned on me that I was being discriminated against. If I was creating a Jewish-oriented site, or a site for African Americans, or heck, even a Gay Sports League, and they declined my business, all kinds of Hell would have broke lose.

So like overweight people and I guess gays, it is still OK for a publicly run company to decline doing business with me based on my content/views/ or my form of “art.” It’s not like they are religious institutions exempt from certain discriminations.

I doubt I would make any headway in a discrimination charge, as companies have all kinds of policies, but I just thought I would share just another thing that we, as adult content producers, are up against. I wonder who programs all the Pirate and Tube sites that steal my content? Oh Google and Yahoo give a big helping hand!

So once again, if you know a good solid programmer that wants lots of hours, I’m hiring! I don’t care if they are Jewish, Indian, African-American, or play in a Gay Sports League. They just need to want to make money, and not discriminate against adult content.

Porn, loved by billions, yet one of the last things left available to openly discriminate against in a supposedly discrimination-free market.

Yeah, I know there is a ton of other people being discriminated against for just being themselves, gender identity, or their beliefs, but still, I can’t help but feel like I am having to sit in the back of the bus.