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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 22, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 51
Porn site must defend itself against claims of HIV-positive actors, judge rules
Section One
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Porn site must defend itself against claims of HIV-positive actors, judge rules

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A porn website must defend itself against a lawsuit brought by actors who allege they were infected with HIV while working on porn films.

US District Judge James Donato ruled that Kink.com and its CEO, Peter Acworth, must answer the suit brought by former employees. Kink.com, based in San Francisco, specializes in fetish porn and is said to be one of the largest fetish sites in the world.

Three actors, two male and one female, sued Acworth in 2014, claiming they contracted HIV while filming various porn videos. The studio claimed that the actors should be compensated by Atain Specialty Insurance Company, which issued Kink.com its liability insurance policy.

The judge, however, agreed with the insurance company that its 'physical-sexual abuse exclusion' exempts the insurer from covering claims arising from the kind of sexual activity depicted in Acworth's films.

For example, one porn star, who no longer works in the industry, made a Bound in Public scene in 2013. Bound in Public is a Gay site on Kink.com, featuring men in BDSM roles.

During a film shot at Kink.com's studio, the Armory in San Francisco, the actor says he was blindfolded and then 'forced' to perform oral sex on dozens of 'untested, unidentified members of the general public.'

The actor, identified in court documents only as 'John Doe,' added that he had a cut in his mouth during the performance and tested positive for HIV two weeks later.

The actors' lawsuit charges that they were 'forced' to have unprotected sex, and told they'd be 'out of a job' if they asked to use condoms.

In 2015, Kink.com attorney Karen Tynan told Courthouse News not to be fooled by 'the sensational nature' of the allegations brought by former actors.

'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.

In 2013 Kink.com was also charged by several women employees with worker safety violations, and with offering former employees 'hush money' in exchange for keeping quiet about injuries.

According to a report in SF Weekly, one former employee claimed she was permanently scarred by a public flogging at the Folsom Street Fair, and other women filed - and later settled - a lawsuit over a pay cut.

Another former actress, Eden Alexander, said she was told, 'I am never, ever to even utter the words 'workers' comp.' The company then offered her a small payment in compensation for her injuries.

Actress Aaliyah Avatari said she was never offered workers' comp after losing her virginity on a Kink.com shoot in a performance that she said left her 'shattered completely.'

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