The following list includes all candidates for the upcoming 2012 FSC Board of Directors election to be held this month. Only active FSC members may vote in the election; electronic ballots will be sent by online survey service Survey Monkey-Zoomerang.
FSC members may vote for nine seats available in this year’s election, from the field of 14 candidates. First-time candidates include Vivid Entertainment’s Marci Hirsch, veteran performer Amber Lynn, Madness Pictures’ Mo Reese, Girlfriend Films’ Moose, and Porn Guardian’s Peter Phinney.
If you are an active FSC member and DO NOT receive your electronic ballot by Dec 27, please contact the FSC office at (818) 348-9373 or email email@example.com.
If you are interested in information about the election, please use the same contact information.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE! This is an opportunity for active FSC members to choose those who will represent the FSC and the adult industry’s business & legal interests for the coming year. Thank you.
In alphabetical order by last name (* indicates incumbent status)
Peter Acworth was born and raised in rural England. While pursuing a doctorate in Finance at Columbia Business School, Peter came across an article about the nascent online porn market and began Hogtied.com, a subscription site selling bondage pictures.
In 1997, after the success of Hogtied.com, Peter moved to San Francisco and founded Kink.com. From its headquarters in the San Francisco Armory, Kink now employs about 125 people and operates two dozen sites. Kink.com prides itself on producing high quality BDSM entertainment, and is currently investing in live and social networking products.
WHY I’M RUNNING
I’m running again to bring the perspective and voice of the producer to the table. Kink.com does production, post-production, and distribution under one roof; we work in concert with affiliates, models, developers and retailers — their concerns are our concerns. These are a few issues about of which I’m particularly passionate.
Models deserve to have access to safe and sane working conditions. But Measure B — and many of the Cal OSHA regulations — ignore both the ways in which the industry has worked to make this a reality, and the calamitous effects forced condoms will have on production and existing protocols. We cannot let a vocal minority force companies out of state and out of business. We need to be more forceful in reframing the debate in the media, and with the public.
I’m proud to have helped design the APHSS, the central database which protects both models health and privacy. APHSS lists only if a given model is available or not, but does not store a model’s personal information — such as ID or medical data. If this database were to be compromised, there would be little damage to the models and no repeat of the Porn Wiki Leaks incident. During a second term, I’ll continue advocating for model rights and model privacy.
The requirements of 2257 are overly cumbersome, and too vaguely written—and disproportionately effect certain producers. For instance, a strict interpretation of 2257 means that we cannot admit an unpaid participant to one of our ‘community style’ shoots if they have an expired ID, or a foreign passport. The 2257 requirements placed on secondary producers and companies involved in live programming make the law almost impossible to comply with.
Free speech should cover sexual speech. The government needs to get out of the business of criminalizing and censoring consensual sex between adults. If there are statutes, we deserve to know what they are, and how they apply. As it stands, obscenity laws are an arbitrary political tool. Why are some companies prosecuted and not others? An attack on one of us is an attack on each of us. As an FSC board member, I’ll continue to fight to make sure our rights as an industry are preserved.
Jeffrey Douglas is a Santa Monica criminal defense lawyer, representing all segments of the adult entertainment industry since 1982. He has chaired the Board of Directors of the Free Speech Coalition for over 15 years. He is deeply committed to our trade association. The opportunities and challenges of the next two years inspire him to work even harder for the growth and success of the adult trade. A nationally recognized spokesperson for the adult entertainment industry, as well as an expert witness, Mr. Douglas appears regularly as a media commentator, and on invitation, has testified before Congress.
Mara Epstein is with Maia Toys and a current FSC Board member.
“As a member of both Boards of the Adult Video Association and then the Free Speech Coalition for over a decade, I bring to the table an experienced knowledge of the adult industry and the problems facing it. I have also worked on the vanguard of each new technology as it has evolved.
Like most FSC and industry members, I have been a small business owner and independent consultant, so I understand the issues that affect small business people. I will work to develop resources and services that will benefit the many diverse businesses in different segments of the industry.
With nearly a quarter century of immersion in this business, I have, and always will, work to improve its impact on society. I believe I have made a difference and ask that you give me the opportunity to continue doing so.”
Sid Grief’s (aka Redrob) background includes 37 years of adult retailing in Texas including adult bookstores, video rental stores, newsstands, Internet websites, internet content sales and internet fulfillment operations. His education includes a BBA with Highest Honors, with majors in Marketing and International Business and a BA with High Honors, with major in Asian Studies from the University of Texas. Sid was one of the original founders of First Amendment Coalition of Texas, which rose over $1 million for lobbying in Texas. Sid served on the PBAA’s Anti-censorship Committee, on the VSDA Adult Advisory Committee and two terms as a VSDA Chapter President. During Sid’s four terms on the FSC Board, he has served as President, Vice President and on the Legal, Internet and other committees.
“I think the FSC’s major challenges will be monetizing new technologies for our existing members, preventing ‘the cloud’ from becoming a piracy platform, securing the recognition of our intellectual property rights for content owners, and challenging restrictive legislation such as ‘Measure B’ in LA before it spreads to other communities. Also, one of my goals is the development of new financial and political resources for the FSC to meet these challenges by means of expanding our membership base and political clout through the recruitment of new industry segments such as the hotel industry and the sale of individual memberships to our customer base.”
Alec Helmy is the founder and president of XBIZ, a leading publisher of industry news and business information, providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the global market at XBIZ.com and in three trade publications — XBIZ World, XBIZ Premiere and XBIZ Sensuals. In addition, XBIZ produces five trade events, which culminate with the annual XBIZ Awards show in Los Angeles. XBIZ is frequently cited in mainstream media for coverage of the industry and has been published in CNN, Fox News, Newsweek, MSNBC, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, CNET, ABC, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times among others. One of the early pioneers of the online adult entertainment industry, Helmy is also the founder of ASACP and currently serves as a board member of the Free Speech Coalition.
The Free Speech Coalition serves a vital role in protecting the best interest of adult oriented businesses. Whether it be 2257, obscenity or zoning laws, you can count on the FSC to aggressively explore and pursue any and all avenues of relief. In my capacity as an active board member of the FSC, I intend to continue to provide close guidance and contribute to the organization’s objectives through both personal and company experience and resources.
Marci Hirsch is VP Production & Licensing for Vivid Entertainment and is a tireless supporter of civil liberties causes, particularly on behalf of The Free Speech Coalition. Marci is a strong, behind-the-scenes senior executive, well known in the industry as someone who takes on big challenges and completes them successfully. She is a veteran of adult entertainment, having worked with her father’s companies, AVC and its 8mm division Sunrise International, starting when she was 18. Her brother Steven Hirsch is the founder and co-chairman of Vivid and she joined him in the company in 1992 as a special projects manager. She took on increasing responsibilities and quickly focused on building relationships with Vivid’s clients as well as in production. She has played an important role in helping Vivid become a global leader in adult entertainment and in winning more awards than any other single studio in the industry.
A native of Cleveland, Marci graduated from the University of Las Vegas. She lives in the Los Angeles area and has two sons.
“We must all be on the alert to safeguard our Constitutional liberties and the freedoms that make America the great country that it is. I am particularly passionate about our First Amendment rights. I believe that freedom of speech is the cornerstone upon which all of our laws rest. That’s one reason I am so committed to the mission of the Free Speech Coalition and have worked actively to support its ‘No on Measure B’ campaign. I’ve worked to organize our industry to support the FSC, helped raise funds and organized events to gather leaders together — and I will continue to do so in the future.”
Joel Kaminsky, 59, is president of Good Vibrations…a woman centric chain of retail stores and e-tailing business. Joel is the father of 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren.
Growing up, Joel worked as a paperboy for two newspapers, cut lawns, shoveled snow, worked in a clothes factory, a rack jobber, and often in the adult distribution warehouse his brother Mel headed. The latter job is one that exposed Joel to the adult marketplace, and provided income while between semesters and winter/spring breaks in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
After graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1976, he moved back to Cleveland to assist his family in handling his dying mother. His brother Mel found him a temporary warehouse position, but an upper level manager moved him to the retail store division. Before long, Joel was supervising stores in Cleveland and surrounding areas…and soon after was promoted to Pittsburgh, Pa. to run a larger retail operation.
In 1978, Joel was again promoted to San Diego to take over an ailing retail operation and open more stores for the headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. In a matter of 5 years, Joel opened 9 stores, a discount magazine pack route, and an arcade vending machine operation.
In January of 1984, Joel was offered a district manager position in San Francisco, Ca. that would include running 16 stores. Soon after, he was instrumental in the opening of dozens of more stores including Hawaii and Australia, and along with the CEO of Bay Management was the chief architect starting GVA-West, Sin City Video, and numerous other ventures. Under his direction, which included a nearly two year stint running the operation without a CEO (prison sentence), the company grew from a few million annual revenue into the mid to high eight figure range and hundreds of employees.
In October of 2002, Joel moved to Cleveland, Ohio to assist family in a transitional time of business succession. His brother Mel was retiring and selling GVA-TWN to his daughter Rondee. Joel was offered a COO position there and the chance to work with family was enticing enough to come “home”. There, he assisted in running distribution, over 50 retail stores, opening new locations, publishing, a web division, and the purchasing of a video manufacturing business in LA.
In 2007, the company purchased the renowned woman-centric retailer Good Vibrations, which Joel went on to purchase solely from them in 2008.
Joel was instrumental in turning Good Vibration’s near bankrupt condition into one of solid general business health. This led to his decision in ending his career at GVA-TWN and devoting full time attention to Good Vibrations at the beginning of 2010 as the president.
Joel was indicted in legal cases because of the industry he worked in and was a personal witness as a member of companies that were involved in some of the most significant cases of its time. From this, he gained first hand knowledge and experience the “threat” the adult industry is cloaked under. Additionally, he has been involved in zoning cases, has worked with cities on amending laws, has witnessed his family’s commitment to a long running 2257 battle.
Mark Kernes is a senior editor and legal analyst for industry trade publication AVN.com and current FSC Board Secretary.
Certainly, one of the most important subjects the FSC Board can deal with over the next few years is making the public understand how fucked up the government and many social institutions are about sex and sexually-related subjects. And of course, the war has only intensified since I last wrote in this space. Both the City and County of Los Angeles have their versions of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-sponsored ordinances which, in the first case, will force any adult company looking to shoot in the city to promise that the shoot will be all-condom, though the County’s Measure B is worse. I know because I actually studied the ordinance, and was the first person in the adult entertainment community to point out that that law requires not only condoms, but latex gloves, pussy-covering “dental dams,” Goggles, face shields and possibly a complete hazmat suit for people having sex on camera. I also thought up the idea of filming a fully-Measure-B-compliant sex scene, which anyone can now see on YouTube.
It’s that kind of activism you can expect from me on the FSC Board.
I have served five terms on the FSC Board. I now ask you, the members, for another because I believe that I offer the Board and the organization a background and perspective which remains valuable as the adult entertainment industry faces new and on-going threats to the freedoms upon which it depends.
Although the industry’s adversaries are not always of the traditional “culture wars” variety, they continue to present problems which need to be addressed in cultural, political, and sometimes legal terms. For this reason, I think that my organizing background, lobbying experience, and legal training have been and will continue to be helpful as the organization strives to represent and serve a dynamic but still controversial industry.
Although recent events have provided little time to breathe, we continue to envision and work toward an organization which can serve and defend the adult entertainment industry and its fans not only by promoting all aspects of adult commerce but also by making our society and our communities safe for those who want to enjoy their legitimate freedoms in peace.
I hope that you will allow me to continue to be a part of this work.
An adult superstar since the ‘80s, Amber Lynn (real name Laura Allen) is symbolic of a California born-and-bred, rockin’ wild child – blonde, bold and smokin’ hot. Ginger
and Amber were often known as “the Lynn sisters.” But the mark Amber would leave on the hearts of XXX fans, far and wide, would be indescribably her own.
Amber’s career is long and distinguished. She was already a bikini and figure model and involved in the raucous Sunset Strip club scene when she met Althea Flynt, the wife of iconic pornographer and Hustler founder Larry Flynt, and famed Hustler photographer Clive Mclean. Starting out in photo spreads for Hustler, Chic and Penthouse, Playboy, High Society and Club, Amber’s 1983 film debut is titled “Personal Touch III,” directed by Bobby Hollander.
After a few years in the movies, Amber then succeeded as one of the most famous feature dancers on the gentlemen’s club circuit and opened the doorway for adult performers to become headliners in cities all over the world. A hiatus from film work in the late 80’s saw her earning up to $25,000 a week in clubs from coast-to-coast and throughout Canada, performing to sell out crowds.
She has also survived tragedies and turbulent times. While many close friends and co-workers were affected by the scandal surrounding underage performer Traci Lords, Amber avoided involvement in the now-notorious circumstances. However, the suicide of fellow performer and friend Shauna Grant was the catalyst for a break from the adult industry in the late ‘80s. And like so many celebrities of the time, Lynn found herself involved in substance abuse. The limelight dimmed for a period, before Lynn entered rehab in 1999, and successfully put those issues to rest once and for all.
Amber also has the unique distinction of being the actual younger sister of another well-known male performer Buck Adams. Sadly, Adams died of heart failure in 2008.
Male performer and ‘70s icon Jamie Gillis had a onetime relationship with Amber after they met on the set of her second movie. Gillis passed away in 2010 after a short bout with cancer.
Clean and sober since 2000 Amber is a member of the AVN Hall of Fame, and the recipient of The FSC Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as Hot D’or Lifetime Achievement Award, and countless others.
Her most notable charity work in 1992, to benefit the Youth AIDS Foundation of Los Angeles set a new standard for acceptability of adult performers by the public and marked a first for nonprofit charities accepting contributions from the adult industry. At times when she has stepped away from her adult career, Amber has been a sober counselor working with world renowned interventionists on extremely high level cases, as well as a real estate broker.
Most recently, Amber was vocal in her opposition to the Los Angeles “Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry” initiative, or Measure B – an initiative to mandate condom and barrier protection use in adult films in L.A. County. Though she has been a “condom-only” performer throughout the latter part of her career, Amber recently performed a non-condom scene with U.K.-based performer Keiran Lee. The scene was meant, in part, to show her support for performer’s choice in regards to condom use, as well as support for industry self-regulation through frequent performer STI testing.
Loyal fans have followed Amber for nearly 30 years and she remains one of the most recognizable names in the adult industry.
Although I have been intimately involved with the Adult Entertainment Industry for over 30 years, it took the imposing impact of Measure B for me to realize just how little my performances have really mattered until I became active in the fight to defeat the constricting “condom-nation” of what I had essentially been taking for granted.
To that extent—with my passion to repay the business that has allowed me to become a formidable presence in the minds of millions of fans – I am humbly seeking to serve on The Free Speech Coalition’s Board of Directors.
With my on-going opportunities to deal with the public as a feature performer in adult clubs, I can provide a conduit between the public and the FSC, and in the process keep the organization abreast of what those who economically support our industry are looking for as well as what they are afraid of losing.
And as a highly respected actress, I would be honored to provide leadership within the talent circle, creating a series of meetings wherein the actors and actresses can express what they are looking for as well as what they are afraid of losing.
A friend of mine has said, “Freedom is a privilege, and if you don’t fight for that privilege 25 hours a day, you should expect it to be taken away.”
I believe that I am ready, willing, and remarkably able to fight as a member of The Free Speech Coalition’s Board of Directors.
As the recipient of XBIZ Media’s 2011 Executive Leadership award, Girlfriends Films’ Vice President Moose operates with integrity, dedication, and ethics. Moose was integral in making Girlfriends Films the premiere lesbian studio and recipient of three 2012 Studio of the Year awards – Xcritic.com, TLARaw.com, and NightMoves Magazine. Since starting in Girlfriends Films’ warehouse in 2006, Moose quickly established himself as owner Dan O’Connell’s “go to guy,” as he assisted in growing the company. Now the Vice President, as well as Director of Foreign and Domestic Sales, Moose helps drive the company towards innovation and forward thinking. In addition to heading up sales, Moose is credited with overseeing the brilliant marketing and advertising campaigns implemented by Girlfriends Films, as well as distribution deals with Viv Thomas, Tammy Sands, and B. Skow.
We saw great change in the adult industry in 2012, too much of it being to our disadvantage. If we don’t effectively deal with these problems, more good people will be out of work and still more companies will shut their doors.
As the head of sales and marketing for Girlfriends Films, I have many conversations each day with company executives in the United States and Europe. These are two-way conversations, of course, in which I not only hear what’s going on but also disseminate information.
I am a big believer in this industry and I work tirelessly to build respect for it, both inside and outside the business. In the past two years I have attended nearly every public meeting held by Cal/OSHA and FSC, and have made it a point to keep abreast of all issues and trends. In 2011, I received the XBIZ Executive Leadership Award. Two of my strongest personal assets are that I am a very creative problem-solver and am very effective when it comes to facilitating change.
I ask for your vote to the FSC Board because I believe in this industry, our right to do business with those who want our products, and the freedom of all individuals to conduct their sexual lives as they wish. I am angered that a small group of outsiders such as AHCF can kick us around. I am angered that video piracy has gone unchecked and caused us incalculable damage. What’s next? If elected to the Board, I promise to work tirelessly in the best interests of our industry and free speech for all.
Peter Phinney has been fighting copyright infringement online since the earliest days of the Internet. He formed Porn Guardian in 2009 with partner Dominic Ford, to work from inside the adult industry combating DVD bootlegging, tube site infringement, illegal peer-to-peer “sharing,” and cyberlocker distribution of stolen property. The company has removed more than 4-million stolen video files using existing US law and international intellectual property treaties. Phinney has spoken as an expert on content theft in London, Prague, Los Angeles, and Phoenix and he will deliver a keynote on piracy in January at Eurosonic Noorderslag, the International Independent Music Festival near Amsterdam. Representing over 350 adult client brands across all content niches, Porn Guardian employs more than 35 people in 20 countries over 17 time zones to search for illegal content in 16 languages including Russian and Japanese. The company works with several adult industry attorneys, providing pivotal evidence in recent successful high-profile prosecutions, even shutting down Oron.com in summer 2012.
In order to “effectively protect and support the growth and well-being of the adult entertainment community” (Part One of FSC’s mission,) we must professionalize our efforts against content theft. For years the industry has struggled to maintain appropriate control of digital distribution. Even our recent successes are dwarfed by the continual blood-letting that makes adult content available “free” online to anyone with a computer, including children, and infringes on our rights as content owners, robbing us of our profits. I want to work with FSC members to develop new weapons in the war on content theft, including innovative monetizing strategies, cutting piracy’s profitability, fighting money laundering through payment processors, and enhancing the legitimate user interface to draw a clear distinction between grainy stolen videos and high-quality porn distributed legally. I also want to increase public awareness of piracy’s impact on performers, writers, producers and others, to enlist consumer assistance in policing piracy and understanding the important distinction between the free exchange of information online, and digital entertainment worth paying for.
Mo Reese is an adult content producer and photographer with an extensive and rich professional background. Mo, as he’s most commonly known, was born and raised in Oregon state. He moved to Los Angeles after graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle in 1997. He then worked in mainstream commercial photography for eight years before actively making the transition to adult.
Mo has since worked in a variety of production capacities for several noteworthy studios – as a Director, Producer, and General Manager for Madness Pictures; as a Production Manager for Adam & Eve; and as a PA for New Sensations and Wicked Pictures (among many others). Ever invested in the entire creative process, Mo has directed, edited, and performed in several award-nominated POV titles including Latin Mouth Club and Asian Mouth Club 5 and 6. And, though his skill set has diversified, Mo’s passion for photography has not fallen by the wayside – he has continued his work with the camera, shooting some of the industry’s top performers and hottest rising stars.
Fueled by his love of porn and politics, Mo has become a vocal activist for adult industry rights and welfare. He maintains: “I’m an average guy – I don’t have fame, I don’t run a big company, and I don’t have a political agenda. But I have built many close personal and business relationships over the years. I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m committed to helping make the industry a better place for everyone.”
Mo Reese – average guy, not so average job.
www.theaveragemo.com, Twitter: @MOXXX
When I first began contemplating running for a seat on the FSC’s Board of Directors, I was faced with a difficult question: what exactly did I have to offer?
I’m really just an average guy, one who cares immensely about the industry in which I work. I have a broad professional skill set, but I don’t specialize in any one thing. I talk about industry-relevant information with people throughout our community, but I don’t speak for anyone but myself. At the same time, however, my experiences relate directly to the experiences of a large proportion of the industry. I thought about all this, and then it dawned on me – the voice I bring to the table is that of the adult industry’s general public.
As a member of the FSC Board of Directors, I hope to bring a more “average citizen’s” point of view to our trade organization. I feel this type of “daily life” perspective would be beneficial in at least two ways. First, I am closely connected to relatively typical “life and work in porn” experiences. Conversations about issues impacting our community could benefit immensely from this sort of familiarity. Second, my involvement will provide FSC with an additional way to connect with members of the industry. Ideally, this will make the organization feel more accessible to the entire adult community and will foster increased performer awareness.
Ultimately, I am running for a seat on the FSC’s Board of Directors because I want to actively work toward bringing members of our industry closer together. This way, we can take on the challenges we collectively face.
Lynn Swanson is a true veteran of the Adult Entertainment business. With a resume spanning practically every facet of the industry, Lynn offers over 30 years of experience including retail (Goalie Entertainment), distribution (General Manager of M&M Sales), manufacturing (Topco Sales, Pipedream Products). As a current Board member of the Free Speech Coalition, Lynn offers a broad understanding of the entire industry.
As a long-term member of the industry, Lynn understands the many obstacles and challenges we face today. Her dedication to the cause of free speech has been a priority, and she understands that decisions she helps make today will have far-reaching effects on the industry in the future. With her vast knowledge and long-standing relationships with members of the domestic as well as foreign adult marketplace, her voice on the Board resonates with the wishes of the many, rather than the few.
Lynn is running for re-election to the Board, and her goal is to help lead the industry into a future that is free from government intervention, and the strengthening of our First Amendment rights.