Porn Actor With HIV Pins Blame on Kink.com

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Though it required STD testing for every straight-sex scene it filmed, Kink.com’s lax precautions for gay actors contributed to the spread of HIV, an actor claims in court.
     Identifying himself only as John Doe, the plaintiff says he notified Kink.com immediately when he tested HIV-positive in May 2013, but that studio bosses kept his status quiet until shooting wrapped, leaving regulators in the dark and causing a delay that likely resulted in HIV exposures for two performers.
     An attorney for Kink.com approached for comment on the April 28 lawsuit said Doe has made similar claims in the past, but that they were denied in a workers’ compensation proceeding. She said the company expects this case will be dismissed in superior court.
     Doe says he was “excited” to advance his career with a reputable company like Kink when it recruited him in 2011 to perform sex acts for its Internet broadcasts.
     Though the studio claimed it was dedicated to testing all models for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, Doe says he soon learned that this resolve applied only for “heterosexual models.”
     “The homosexual models were not required to be tested before every shoot,” he claims (emphasis in original).
     Doe says Kink, which owns dozens of pornographic websites that specialize in fetishes, bondage and sadomasochism, discouraged condom use among gay performers, skipped testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and expected performers to have sex with untested strangers.
     At his first filming for the studio, he says he noticed an open wound on the penis of a performer in his next scene and asked for a condom.
     Though Kink allegedly said it would honor such requests “without question,” the “defendants conveyed to plaintiff that if he pushed the condom-issue, he would be out of a job,” the complaint states.
     Kink.com attorney Karen Tynan said not to be fooled by “the sensational nature” of the allegations.
     “None of these claims were made at the time of the shoots, and are easily refuted both by detailed shoot records, our testing protocols, and the video footage itself,” Tynan said.
     Emphasizing Kink.com’s “strong reputation within the industry for both worker safety and professional ethics,” Tynan said that the nature of BDSM “unfortunately” makes the company “more vulnerable to complaints like these that seek to play out in the court of public opinion.”
     Doe’s lawsuit narrows down his exposure to HIV to a May 3, 2013, video shoot called “Bound in Public.” He says he was restrained and blindfolded and forced to perform oral sex on dozens of “untested, unidentified members of the general public.”
     Van Darkholme, a “well-known pornographic actor and director” whom Doe names as a defendant, allegedly thrust the plaintiff’s head so forcefully that “plaintiff is heard making gagging sounds at several points during the shoot.”
     Doe says he cut his mouth during the performance, but he did not tell Darkholme because his requests for condoms had always been rejected, and he did not want to risk his job or the $100 he earned for each interaction with a member of the public.
     About 15 days later Doe allegedly began to have chills and other symptoms, prompting him to go to the doctor. After he received an HIV positive diagnosis, he says he went into a deep depression and considered suicide.
     He says he determined that the “Bound in Public” shoot was where he had been exposed through “a meticulous process of elimination and based on expert medical advice.”
     After learning about Doe’s status, Kink.com failed to report his “diagnosis to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Cal/OSHA, or the Free Speech Coalition (FSC),” according to the complaint.
     “Had Kink defendants properly reported plaintiff John Doe’s diagnosis to the appropriate authorities, the source of John Doe’s HIV infection could have been located and the further spread of the infection could have been prevented,” he claims.
     John Doe seeks punitive damages for negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, bad faith, negligent hiring and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     He is represented by Sandra Ribera Speed.
     In addition to Kink.com and Darkholme, the complaint names as defendants Kink Studios LLC, Kinkmen.com, Cybernet Entertainment LLC, Armory Studios LLC and Peter Acworth.

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