POLITICS OF PORN

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Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Michael Lucas is a dominant force in gay porn today. He is the president of New York’s largest gay-adult-film company, Lucas Entertainment, and its biggest star. But arguably, it isn’t his films that are getting the most ink in media these days. Michael’s controversial commentary on everything from pedophilia, bare-backing and anti-Semitism in the gay community are what seem to grabbing the most headlines. We spoke with Michael to discuss why he has chosen to be so vocal about his views and how mixing politics with porn is affecting his porn empire.

What is rattling your cage? Is there an issue that you feel particularly adamant about today?

I define myself as a Jewish atheist so no religious issues bother me. Politically, I am deeply worried about the situation in the Middle East, the increasingly aggressive posture of Iran and the growing worldwide hostility towards Israel. Here in America, my main concern is the stalemate of vitally important issues that comes from the absolute polarization between the two political blocks.

It’s rare for an adult film star to use his celebrity as a platform to express his thoughts and opinions. Why have you chosen to be so open?

I have always been vocal in expressing my opinions on issues I care about deeply, even opinions which are not so popular. If my popularity as a porn star gives my opinions additional resonance, then all the better.

What has influenced your activism?

Life. Growing up in communist class rooms in my native Russia, I directly experienced anti-Semitic discrimination and the hurt and the shame that comes from it. The security of a Jewish homeland where none of this will ever happen again has become deeply important to me. I also read history and follow current events and travel a lot.

Did being gay in communist Russia add to your struggle?

Yes. Russia is both anti-Semitic and homophobic, so I got it from both sides. Such discrimination will either break you or make you a fighter. Fortunately, I became a fighter.

Has being so vocal hurt or helped your porn business?

I actually don’t care. I speak out on certain issues because I feel strongly about them and that’s quite apart from my work as a businessman.

Does it upset you to read the negative comments that are rampant all over the web?

Some negative responses do upset me, some amuse me. The many positive responses encourage me.

What do you think is the biggest misperception about you?

That I am a cold and distant person. I am actually very warm, funny and sensitive. I care deeply about my friends and family.

Michael, are you anti-Muslim?

Yes. I believe all organised religion throughout history has been a force for the bad. I believe that whenever religion has influenced politics, the world has become a worse place. Most Muslim countries prove this point. Their leaders are hypocritical and corrupt and its the people who suffer, especially the women and minorities. Is it a coincidence that the ten countries that still impose the death penalty for same sex relationships are all Muslim? Even in the worst days of the old Soviet Union, gay people were not sentenced to death. And, of course, I get personally mad at them whenever I have to take off my shoes at airport security.

Do you truly believe the gay community is increasingly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic?

In my mind, being anti-Israel is just a new way of being anti-Semitic. And yes, the gay community does sometimes make unthinking alliances with supposedly progressive forces who think Muslim countries are nuts just because Israel exists.

Is that why Lucas Entertainment is now sponsoring gay tours of Israel?

I sponsor gay tours to Israel because Israel is a beautiful country and gays and lesbians have a wonderful time there. Everybody who traveled with me last year loved it. My next tour leaves May 11th.

Queerty labeled your political opinions on Israel as virulent, frightening Islamophobia. Your reaction?

I think if Queerty calls you names, its sort of a compliment.

Do you support pedophilia?

Of course not. This question probably comes from a column I wrote in The Advocate, which was misunderstood by some. In it, I made a clear distinction between pedophiles and child molesters. Pedophile inclinations are much more widespread than we realize but most pedophiles are in control of their feelings and never touch a child. I also made it quite clear I firmly believe that child molestation is a crime.

What are your feelings about President Obama?

I think he was a much better campaigner then a president. As a President, he appears weak and indecisive. Decisiveness is a very important quality in a President.

What government leader has come closest to meeting your ideal?

Winston Churchill; for his bravery when all Europe surrendered to the Nazis. I admire his perseverance because he didn’t let his country fall while the rest of Europe submitted. He united his country and was a real fighter. And he was one of the few people who knew Hitler’s true nature from the very beginning.

How did your colleagues in porn react to your opposition to bareback films?

I chose early on to follow my ethics and always promote safe sex in my films. Those who produce bareback movies don’t like that I so vocally condemn what they do. I actually think that their argument that bareback movies don’t do harm because “porn is just a fantasy” is dangerous bullshit because porn does strongly influence community norms.

What bothers you most about the current state of the adult film business?

People who are illegally downloading my films. I consider it stealing. There is no difference between shoplifting clothing from a store and downloading an adult film for free. It costs a lot of time, hard work, and money to produce these films.

In today’s world, where naked pictures are all over the web for free, is porn still profitable?

Most free porn (except what is stolen) is actually crap. That’s good enough for some people but there are still plenty who enjoy really good porn made by professionals.

When will you turn 40?

Next year. March 10th, 2012. I think I am the only person in the industry who doesn’t lie about his age.

How much longer do you plan to remain in the business?

I have no plans to retire anytime soon. I actually consider 40 to be quite young. I also consider 50 to be young. It’s all about how you feel and how you make other people feel about yourself.

Can you see any of today’s young stars following your footsteps and launching their own porn business?

I am sure some will try, but I don’t see other companies opening. It’s very hard to build a brand in today’s environment.

How has porn changed since you launched Lucas Entertainment?

It’s become a complicated business. There is much more competition and many more different ways to reach the customer. It took forty years to go from 8mm reels to VHS tapes to DVD. Today, there are dozens of ways to deliver the product and new ones pop up regularly. You really

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