Today, Black lesbian blogger Jasmyne Cannick, announced that black gay porn company Flavaworks’ owner Phillip Bleicher is suing her and Black gay blogger Bernie Tarver for libel. To the tune of $250,000.
Without having seen the suit he filed I can only surmise he is suing them for saying that he was under investigation by the Chicago Dept of Health for running a business that encouraged unsafe sex and most likely helped to spread sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, to the models and their sexual partners outside of the business. Jasmyne breaks it down:
Fact: Bleicher is under investigation for operating an adult business in the middle of a Miami residential neighborhood.
Fact: As a result of the CDPH investigation last year, Flavaworks closed their operation in Chicago and relocated to Miami, Florida.
Fact: Phillip Bleicher had also been charged by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with operating a fraudulent charity that bilked schools nationwide out of millions of dollars.
Libel this ain’t, but the truth it is.
The Chicago Free Press broke the story, and on top of the unsafe sex, they provided evidence that they were running a debt peonage system, where these young Black and (B)Latino models were kept in perpetual debt by having to pay for “expenses” out of their pay, and they were then forced to remain in the dorm to work another month, and the cycle goes on. The Free Press wrote:
There are also allegations that the business used unusual labor contracts with its models, which, according to one source, “at least bordered on illegal servitude.” The 30-day contracts allegedly required the models to perform a certain number of sexual acts in exchange for a stipend. But, when the models tried to collect the stipends, they were told they were being charged for such things as food and bed linens, leaving them, in some cases, in debt rather than collecting money. They were then pressured to sign new contracts.
Is he suing the Chicago Free Press? They were the ones who broke the story. But a couple bloggers make easier targets—and have fewer legal resources or protections unlike newspapers. Because of Jasmyne and Bernie’s work, the story got out to ma much larger audience (I learned about it on Bernie’s blog) and that’s what he’s pissed about, in my humble opinion.
What makes matters worse is that Bleicher’s own VP, Dekenric Wiley died a few weeks ago of pneumonia at age 32. Of course, the listservs are alive with suspicions that the pneumonia was related to additional illness, if you catch my drift.
Whatever the cause of Wiley’s passing, I am sorry for it. However, I feel absolutely nothing but scorn and utter disdain for Bleicher, and I hope he is run out of business and no self-respecting Black queer would be caught dead giving him a cent.
NOTE: I am not insinuating anything about the health status of any of these models in the photo above, mind you. It is merely the representation of the publication this blog is referring to.