VAN NUYS, Calif.—In a meeting yesterday at his studio, 18-year adult industry veteran Mr. Marcus sought to put to rest swirling rumors and identified himself as positive with syphilis and admitted to submitting a test he altered that omitted his syphilis status to producers so he could perform in sex scenes, but said he had sought treatment already from a private doctor and had received a penicillin shot to treat the disease, and had waited a recommended period of time before performing again.
The meeting at Mr. Marcus’ studio was attended by this reporter, XBIZ Executive Managing Editor Dan Miller, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke, FSC board member and Evil Angel General Manager Christian Mann, and Mr. Marcus himself.
Yesterday afternoon’s meeting was the first time Mr. Marcus admitted to being diagnosed as positive for syphilis, performing three times after that diagnosis, and willfully doctoring one test from Talent Testing Service.
Mr. Marcus said that as of yesterday each of the female performers he worked with since testing positive had re-tested negative for syphilis, which Duke confirmed.
With the gossip mill churning heavily in the San Fernando Valley in recent weeks over unsubstantiated news reports of a cluster of syphilis-positive U.S. performers—particularly in light of the outbreak in Budapest, and with two adult industry agents last week claiming the performer admitted to them that he worked while positive with syphilis, and that he doctored his test—something he denies he told them—Mr. Marcus felt that it was important to come forward and be accountable.
According to Mr. Marcus’ timeline, he saw his personal physician July 11 after not feeling well. The next day, July 12, the physician told Mr. Marcus that he tested positive for syphilis. On the subsequent day, July 13, he went and got a penicillin shot and was told to abstain from sexual activity for 7-10 days, which he reports he did and even cancelled shoots within that timeframe.
On the eleventh day after he received the dose of penicillin, July 24, he worked, he said, based on his physician telling him after 10 days that he would be able to have sex.
“My personal doctor doesn’t know what I do for a living,” Mr. Marcus said. “So his thing was just don’t have any sex for 7-10 days. Once I did that shot I felt pretty confident. Every doctor I talked to up to that point said ‘you get the shot. That’s it.’ If you had the syphilis in your system a lot longer than that you need three shots. But based on what he determined from my blood and looking at my symptoms, he said the one shot was good enough. So I did the one shot and I didn’t have to do anything else.”
Mr. Marcus went to TTS on July 21 to test and received his positive syphilis result on July 23. He then said he cancelled the scene he had scheduled that day because he was confused as to why he would test positive after receiving treatment and waiting the required amount of time he was told to wait by a doctor.
“I called my doctor up, ‘what’s going on?'” Mr. Marcus said. “He said, ‘It’s in your system, it’s going to stay in your system, it’s going to read in your system because that’s how syphilis is.’ At that point I felt, ok, I can continue to work because he said it’s always going to read that way. And the thing with TTS is that they didn’t know prior to me testing that I had taken a [penicillin] shot. They didn’t know that. They didn’t know I already had it. They just assumed that I needed to go take one after the fact, but I had already done that.”
The next day, July 24, he shot a sex scene and alleges the producer didn’t ask for a paper copy of the test, nor did he verify on the computer that he was cleared to work through the TTS database. The producer did ask Marcus to produce visual evidence, however, and Marcus said he was able to position a copy of the test on his cell phone screen so that the syphilis portion of the test did not appear visible. He claims the talent on set that day did not ask to see a copy of his test.
“And this is, I was explaining this, the rapport that I have with producers and directors – they’re not so much – I show up on the set most of the times and it’s really between me and the performer,” Mr. Marcus explained. “The director’s not really asking for a test or a copy of it. It’s just ‘You’re here, let’s shoot.’ And that specific shoot didn’t ask for a [copy of the] test. They just wanted to see something visually. So what I had on my cell phone, I showed it. But the way I showed it was, I showed that my HIV was clear, my gonnorhea and chylamidia were fine. You didn’t see the syphilis part of the test because of the way I showed it.”
According to what he was told by medical professionals, Marcus believed syphilis can only be spread by direct contact through open sores or wounds on the body, which he claims to not have had, and combined with the injection he received and the subsequent waiting period, felt comfortable that he wasn’t putting his co-workers at risk for infection. He said he does not believe working on July 24, 11 days after treatment, was a mistake.
“No, I don’t feel that it was a mistake,” he said. “I was treated. I allowed the medicine to take effect, and I wanted to proceed as normal. I wanted to go back to work as usual, and that’s the way I functioned. I shot for this company before and it was the same routine. I just wanted to get back to the routine. And that was it.”
After initially testing positive for syphilis at TTS on July 21, Marcus admitted to being dismayed that there was no doctor at TTS to talk to and was upset that he was not offered any aftercare or asked about his recent sexual history in order to properly notify performers until his final visit to the Northridge, Calif. facility.
It was at this point in the conversation that Mr. Marcus made the allegation that he asked a TTS employee to omit the syphilis portion of his test and print out a copy that would reflect that omission so he could present the doctored one to producers. Marcus claims the employee was able to do so and provided him the print out, but he did not present this allegedly TTS-altered test to any producers, he said.
The allegation was vehemently denied by TTS president Sixto Pacheco, who told AVN this afternoon that he was asked the same question previously by AVN CEO Theo Sapoutzis. “I told him that was not possible,” he said. “Our system does not permit that to be done. The system does not allow for that to happen. There’s no way of choosing what tests to put on a report.”
TTS began testing for syphilis as part of its basic panel of tests on June 12. Prior to that, it was included on the full panel only.
Things get murkier when Marcus admitted to personally altering a TTS test he presented to Blazing Bucks, a company he worked for Aug. 7. On the TTS test dated July 21, Marcus claims he folded the test in such a way that the syphilis portion was obscured, photocopied it, and presented it to the Blazing Bucks director. On Aug. 15, Blazing Bucks operations manager Mark Blazing realized there was something amiss with the test Mr. Marcus had provided his director.
When asked to comment for this story, Mark Blazing told AVN that the company would be releasing a statement of its version of events shortly, but would not comment directly on the situation at this time.