CYBERSPACE—A man with a very familiar face sat in a chair in what appeared to be the ground-floor lobby of an office building, and began talking to the camera.
"I subsidized my income by doing modeling work," he said, to a droning organ music dirge, "and one particular job, a makeup artist handed me her card and she said, 'If you ever want to do any nude work, give this number a call, make some money.' Well, I took it and I was grateful, thanked her, knowing full well that as soon as I did anything like that, I'd ruin my career."
That was just one of a series of surprising statements that a number of adult industry members heard from the lips of retired performer Randy Spears, identified in the simply as "Greg"—but what they didn't know was that the video they saw, on an anti-porn website called FightTheNewDrug.org (FTND), was carefully edited to make it appear as though Spears had turned against the adult industry, when in fact Spears has nothing but love and respect for his former colleagues.
"I saw this thing and I thought, 'Ohmigosh, this is not what I intended at all. This looks like I'm a cancer patient on my last leg,'" Spears told AVN in an exclusive interview. "It was sad and gloomy and the way they edited really made it look like I was down on porn, and it freaked me out. I got a call from Christy Canyon and Brad at Wicked, and some of my closer friends, and they were like, 'Are you all right?' And I was like, 'What do you mean?' This was before I saw it. And they said, 'Well, we saw this video, and it's on this Mormon website.' I go, 'What? What video?'
"So I did a little bit of homework," he continued. "I actually learned where it was from talking to Kelly Holland, because I was going to write a piece for Penthouse ... and I said, 'Do you want me to write the piece?' And she goes, 'Yeah, you're a legend, Randy; people still remember you, although there's a little bit of a bad taste in people's mouths right now because of that FightTheNewDrug thing.' And I said, 'What?!?' Again, I had no idea. So I went on their website and I investigated. Sure enough, I found it. They call it 'Greg's Story,' and I started watching it, and first of all, I was appalled and surprised that they were that good editors, because they really left out a lot of stuff that I was talking about, and they made it look very anti-porn."
It had all started innocently enough, with a young videographer, John Burroughs, approaching Spears at the nondenominational Christian church that he regularly attends near his current home, and asking Spears if he would allow Burroughs to shoot a video of him "with the idea," Burroughs said, "being that you could talk about your past and some of your drug use and alcohol use and living in excess and maybe we could help some of the young people avoid some of those pitfalls."
"And I said, 'Sounds great to me. Why not? I'm not ashamed to admit I partied a lot in the business and had a lot of pussy and money and drugs around me,'" Spears stated. "So that's how it started."
There's just one problem: Spears didn't know that Burroughs was part of the "FTND Team," which the describes as "a group of passionate and innovative problem-solvers who want to make a difference in the world. Our mission is to raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography through creative mediums." The site describes Burroughs as "a talented filmmaker and videographer from Texas" who "now owns a serious arsenal of camera gear and has a burning passion to tell stories through film that will touch people’s hearts."
Of that, Spears had no idea.
"When he was doing the interview with me, there was a lot of stuff that never made it into the video, that he edited out, first of all," Spears explained. "Secondly, it started to feel like he was going in a direction where he wanted me to talk about porn being the problem, the issue that was the underlying issue that made me go out and use drugs or made me go out and drink or whatever. Pretty soon, in the middle of the interview, I felt myself going in a direction that I didn't want to go, and I said, 'Look, let's cut for a minute and try to regroup here and stay focused. I'd like to stay focused. I'm not a porn basher and I don't want this piece. I've had a lot of people do this to me in the past, you know with interviews for television or whatever; they use what they want and throw a couple of soundbites in, and pretty soon it looks like I'm trying to take over the Mitchell Theater or something, and I'm not.'
"So I basically said, 'Let's regroup here. I want to make something very clear,' I said. 'I don't want to bash porn or bash those people in that business. I made a darn good living and they were very kind to me for 25 years or so, and there's a lot of people I love, still love, and that I talk to in that business. A lot of people have come out of the business and gone into some religious sect or cult kind of situation, anti-porn thing. That's not me. That's not me at all.'
"And he goes, 'Oh, no, no. Just talk a little bit about porn and why you felt you were in that circle you were talking about where you had to back to do more porn to make more money to do more drugs and then you'd get depressed from doing the drugs and you had to go back to porn to make more money and you were in that little cycle, that circle,' and I said, 'All right, I'll talk about that.'"
But once Spears saw the finished product, after he got done being appalled, he did a little research.
"I even researched that young videographer John on there," Spears said. "Sure enough, there's a little photo of him, part of the staff, John Burroughs, and there was Mormonism and Utah written all over this stuff, and I was like, 'You gotta be kiddin' me, man!' I was pissed! I wouldn't have anything to do with the Mormons if you gave me a million friggin' dollars. I've always been a Christian; I was born and raised a Catholic, and I had my troubles, as a lot of others did, with what was going on with the Catholic church.
"I haven't contacted them yet, but I'm gonna tell them to get that thing off of there, that I'm gonna sue the piss out of them, scare the hell out of them," Spears vowed. "I have to talk to one of the pastors in my church to ask him what to do, because John's a member of our church. If he's a member of a cult, which I believe Mormonism is, that's a problem. That's a separate issue, but I've got to bring that to their attention. That's not good; that's not good at all. If he's leading us in that church with false promises and misleading us and putting our stuff on Mormon sites, that's pretty bad."
While it's unclear from its website what FightTheNewDrug may have to do with Mormonism—in fact, it claims not to be "affiliate[d] with any religion nor do we preach any religious or theological reasoning. We are here to speak out on the harmful effects of pornography using only science, facts, and personal accounts."—the group has been part of several and like Morality in Media the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
And like so many similar websites, FightTheNewDrug has no problem misleading its followers and casual readers about what adult filmmaking is all about, and what its performers think of their life and work.
For example, a woman identified only as "Anita," with an accompanying photo of former performer Anita Cannibal, reportedly told FTND, "I have been a performer now for 14 years in the adult film industry in many countries, states ... all over the place. I have worked for most of these companies, and I was around for the once-a-month HIV-positive outbreak in ’98. Yes, I was, and I got to see those performers that nobody knows about—that nobody claims that got HIV, that are not a part of the statistics—walk out the door as non-performers, not to be counted. Yeah, there are a lot of cover-ups going on. There is a lot of tragedy. There are a lot of horrible things."
And then there's "Jenna" (Jenna Presley) who supposedly told them, "It was torture for seven years. I was miserable, I was lonely, I eventually turned to drugs and alcohol and attempted suicide. I knew I wanted out, but I didn’t know how to get out."
But though the title of that web page reads, "9 Porn Stars Speak Openly About Their Most Popular Scenes," it used to say "10." But that had to be changed over this past weekend because after being informed by AVN that an anti-porn quote from her was part of the page, legendary star Amber Lynn immediately sent a "cease and desist" email to the website's owners, who took Lynn's quote off the page and changed the headline.
"I am the adult film actress Amber Lynn," the actress wrote to a contact person at the FTND blog. "It was brought to my attention today that you have used my comment and my photo in this anti-porn blog without my consent. Additionally the manner in which you have taken my comment so far out of the context that it was stated and twisted it for your own means and then attached it to my porn career is completely shockingly unacceptable and I demand that you remove and retract it immediately.
"The truth here is, I am a recovering addict alcoholic with over 15 years of sober life, and I speak out about my former addiction to help others be free of drug and alcohol use. This was in no way a comment that was meant to convey [that] my adult film acting career caused it, and in fact I was not even active in the adult movie industry as talent during this period at all.
"Drug and alcoholism indiscriminately attacks the lives of human beings born predisposed to the disease as I was; the person's occupation is not the cause. Saying that the porn industry is responsible for my alcoholism, in my own opinion, is like saying grocery stores are responsible for obesity. You may subscribe to whatever tale you want about the porn industry but if you misuse my words to slander the industry then you slander me, because I am this industry. Today after 30 years of working in some form or other in the adult industry, I am a completely healthy woman, I run a successful mainstream radio show Rock'N'SeXXXy Uncensored and I have recently signed to two TV series to begin principal photography this fall. I was hired because of my name as an actress, Amber Lynn, [which] I made as a result of my adult movie persona, not the contrary.
"Yes, as with any career that spans over 30 years, not ALL of my experiences have been perfect, but I consider myself far more blessed than not. Please remove me from your blog immediately as I am not a good representation of the message you are attempting to convey In fact, I will say that I am exactly the opposite. I would appreciate a confirmation of receipt this email and a reasonable time frame to expect this to be removed by. My attorney has also been made aware of this and may also be in contact with you shortly."
Lynn added in an email to AVN that the photo FTND had used to accompany her quote was in fact a "shot of me crying... taken at my brother's memorial as I was burying him (again completely out of context) and had nothing to do with the comment." Lynn's brother was the prominent actor and director Buck Adams.
As for Spears, the longer he talked, the angrier he got, concluding with, "I got a call in to an attorney, trying to figure out what to do there. If they don't pull it off immediately and give an apology, we are going to sue them civilly. They may just pull it and I'll never hear from them again, but that's fine too. Just get it off of there. But they misled me, and I've worked very hard over the years to build a very good fan base, and I was very proud of the work I did in the adult business, and I have a lot of fans out there still, and I hope I always will. And I just want people to know, set the record straight, that this is indeed what happened. I still love everyone in that business; I am not bashing that business or anyone in that business, and I will stand up for what I did until the day I die. Those are the choices I made. Do I have regrets? Who doesn't? I wish I would have been a regular actor and never took my clothes off. So? I wish that I would have went to 12 years of college and became a scientist and came up with a cure for cancer, but I didn't. I chose porn, and once I got in, I decided I was going to be the best there was at it."
But Spears couldn't avoid injecting a bit of his well-known humor.
"I was talking to Christy yesterday, and she says, 'I showed this to Ron Jeremy,' and she goes, 'Ironically, his biggest problem with it is that you said you were the most decorated person in porn.' I said, 'Well, that's been a bone of contention between me and Ron and Mike Horner for many years, who's got the lead,' so I thought that was kind of funny. I'm gonna go on Christy's show this week to also set the record straight. I'm waiting to hear back what day."