RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. I'm coming to you LIVE AND DIRECT from the West Coast, as you just heard from Keith. I'm in Los Angeles and just a short drive away from a place many call “porn valley.” Tonight, we're going to take you into the epicenter of the multi-billion-dollar porn industry that is booming in the digital age in ways that you may not even know. We'll show you why the person next to you looking at their cell phone or iPod may really be watching porn.
We want to emphasize tonight that, like any industry, there are good
and bad elements. We're not passing judgment on the merits of porn tonight
· that's a whole other topic—but instead, we're reporting to you on just how pervasive it is becoming in our modern-day society.
Porn is big business. It's bringing in an estimated $57 billion a year. About $12 billion of that comes from the U.S. alone. In fact, Americans spend more on pornography than they do going to the movies. And in the digital age, you can access porn just about anywhere. Forty million Americans—yes, forty million Americans—admit to visiting adult Web sites. And according to a recent survey, 70 percent of men ages 18 to 34 say they look at Internet porn at least once a month.
And porn is spreading from the bedroom to the boardroom. Get this, 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women say they look at pornography while on the job. You can now even download porn on your cell phone, or even on your iPod. According to industry experts, mobile porn is expected to bring in $1 billion in worldwide revenues this year alone. That number is expected to double in just the next four years.
Well, first up tonight, our exclusive behind-the-scenes journey into the world of porn. We want to warn you that the subject is not appropriate for youngsters. So a word of caution on that for those of you who have young people in the room.
The epicenter of this business is just miles from Los Angeles, in southern California's San Fernando Valley. We now take you inside that world.
COSBY (voice-over): It's home to the wealthiest, most famous people on the planet, a town that defines style and glamour. But behind the sun-drenched mansions of Tinseltown, there's a side of show biz very few ever get to see—until now. Welcome to “porn valley,” California, the other Hollywood.
Just across the Hollywood hills in southern California lies the San Fernando Valley, home to an estimated $57 billion porn industry. And if you thought these triple-X flicks were shot in back alleys and seedy neighborhoods, think again. It's along these palm-lined streets and in these multi-million-dollar suburban houses where LA's other film industry flourishes. It's here where girls in their late teens and early 20s cash in on their good looks in search for instant fame, stardom, and of course, money.
One of those girls is 19-year-old Stephanie Morgan, a contract porn star with Vivid Entertainment, the largest adult film company in the world. It's at this “Suburban Cowboy” themed bar where we got a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stephanie's ninth film since entering the adult film business last summer.
STEPHANIE MORGAN, 19-YEAR-OLD “VIVID GIRL”: Like, so people are, like, Why do you do it? Like, You're better than that. I'm, like, I love my job. I'm not treated like a piece of, like, dirt or anything like that. A lot of people think that girls are, like, really, like, bossed around in it and, like, forced to do it. I'm, like, This is all my decision. Like, it's not like that at all. Like, everybody, like, caters to you. And I mean, it's like a normal movie, but I mean, there's more sex in it, obviously. I mean, it's very professional, and a lot of people think that it's not.
COSBY: Unlike Hollywood blockbusters, these films only cost around $50,000 to produce but end up making millions in profits. And just like any big-budget Hollywood film, the crews show up at the crack of dawn, putting the finishing touches on the set, while makeup artists get the actors ready for the close-ups.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get an tool...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you having sex with?
MORGAN: I'm having sex with Randy Spears. And then later on, I'm going to do Jack (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
MORGAN: I think I worked with him on (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you?
MORGAN: I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did.
MORGAN: Like, I tell them, like, what kind of guys, like, I'm attracted to. I mean, there has to be something there. Like, I can't, like—if there's, like, absolutely no attraction, like, I don't know if I could do it.
(INAUDIBLE) agencies and, like, you—I mean, you see pictures of everything, and we kind of go through and we kind of work together. It's, like, Oh, well, he'll be great for it, and then I can be, like, Well, can we pick somebody else? You know, like, we—you know, we—we compromise, you know, like—but in the long run, you know, they're not—
I'm not forced to do anything that I don't want to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And action.
COSBY: Stephanie wouldn't tell us how much she makes, but porn stars like Jenna Jameson (ph) are pulling in millions of dollars a year. Today, the guy she's going to be working with is veteran adult star Randy Spears, whose 16-year porn career has included over 4,000 sex scenes.
RANDY SPEARS, VETERAN PORN ACTOR: Are you Stephanie?
SPEARS: Hi, Stephanie. I'm glad to see you.
MORGAN: Nice to meet you.
SPEARS: Nice to meet you. We're going to be working together, so...
SPEARS: Yes. Like, I've heard good things about you. I heard you were pretty. They were right about that.
MORGAN: Everybody is, like, No, really, what do you do for a living? You know, like, like, No, really, I do porn. I graduated high school early and was doing college and modeling at the same time. And then when I was 18, I moved to LA, and I was modeling. Like, that was all I did. And then I just got fed up with the industry and I took time off. And then a friend of mine overheard me having a conversation with a makeup artist who was in the industry, and he kind of overheard me and was, like—he brought it up and he was, like—you know, like, we talked about it, and you know, and I decided to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And looking at him, baby girl. And got you, gorgeous! And action!
MORGAN: I'm not close with my family. My family—some—not all of my family knows. I told my mom because she deserves to know. My mom is a Bible study leader. I mean, I told her I'd rather her find out through me than somebody else. But other than that, I mean, I told her because she's my mom, not because I really talk to her.
COSBY: And while family life for these actors isn't always easy, there's often the problem of being intimate with someone on camera and trying to have a personal love life outside the porn business.
MORGAN: I'm not one that you can really tie down. I do have somebody in my life that I care about a lot who, actually, I dated before the industry. And it's, you know, hard for him. It is hard. But I mean, I'm young and—I mean, I'm not going to be in a relationship with somebody unless I, like, really care about them and genuinely see a future with them. When I'm seeing somebody, I normally don't talk to them when I shoot. It's pretty much, I say my good-byes beforehand, then I talk to them a few days later. It's—once there's any feelings involved, it's really hard deal with—not on my side, really, but on their side.
COSBY: And how do the men of porn get ready for a day of moviemaking?
RANDY SPEARS, VETERAN PORN ACTOR: When we get in there to do a scene
· and I try and teach the young people this—it's our responsibility to give a show. That's a show that we're giving, a sex show that's being filmed. So it's our responsibility, even if we're not completely compatible, or you know, feeling the heat or whatever, that you make it appear that way without being fate people spot that a mile away. And how boring is that, watching fake sex?
I think that's the biggest misconception that, you know, we're walking around with our tongue out of our mouth 24 hours a day. It's just not like that. Maybe for the brand-new guys it still is. I got over that about a year in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stephanie, can you (INAUDIBLE)
COSBY: We got a taste of what it's really like when, in the middle of shooting their steamy sex scene, Stephanie and Randy actually took a break to order lunch.
SPEARS: Get me something with chicken in it and not spicy.
You have to have the right mindset, I think. And for me, it's—it really is like turning a switch on and turning the switch off. It's work mode, you know? And that comes with practice.
COSBY: And with all that practice comes a lot of risk, risk that includes possibly contracting sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS.
SPEARS: There's a risk every time we go in and do a scene. If people tell you that they don't worry about it, I think that—I think that's ridiculous, for one. And I think they're probably not even telling you the truth. It's a concern. I think about it a lot. And I do everything that I can do, of course, to protect myself and other performers that I'm working with . But to be honest with you, every month, when I check my new AIDS test and chlamydia and gonorrhea tests—we have to be tested monthly -- I go on the site and I look up the results and take a deep breath every time, you know, every month.
COSBY: And those risks are one reason his two young children don't know where their dad is today or what he's doing.
SPEARS: They don't know what I do yet. They know Dad's an actor, and they know that I do, like, late night nudish-kind of films, but I haven't sat down with them and said, Look, I'm a porno star. You know, I have hard-core sex on camera. I'm concerned about, you know, especially what daughter will think of that.
But we're a very open family. I just don't think it's time yet. I don't think they're old enough or mature enough to handle that information in full quite yet. But I certainly will be absolutely honest with them and open with them when the time seems right. Yes. It's important, I think, you know? And I certainly don't think my own kids will judge me.
COSBY: One man that will judge these actors is director Chi Chi Larue, who has a reputation for being something like the Steven Spielberg of porn.
CHI CHI LARUE, PORN MOVIE DIRECTOR: I always say if America could see what goes on on a set, if they were actually here and walked in, they'd be pretty damn bored. I mean, the sex scenes are fun to a point, but sometimes it can kind of ruin the fantasy a little bit if you're on the set and you actually see what we go through to prepare for a scene. I just—
I think that people think that all of us that are—that do these movies are just a bunch of perverts and nasty old men.
I'm a big gay drag queen. I'm working with these girls because it's fun to dress them up. Sex is fun. It's—you know, it's not anything to get all spun out about.
COSBY: Today is a big day for Katya and Grant. Katya is about to shoot her first-ever porn scene with her real-life boyfriend and veteran porn actor Grant.
KATYA, FIRST-TIME PORN ACTRESS: I'm nervous, of course.
GRANT, PORN ACTOR: Extremely.
KATYA: I'm just—you know, it's my first shoot. I'm not sure—I mean, I've chosen to do it. I'm not quite sure if I want to do it because I do have a corporate job and I have another job on the side, which has been my primary job for six years. I'm a professional belly dancer. So for me, it's more about do I want to do this and do I want people to see?
GRANT: I got into the adult business about a year ago and started dating Kat about six months ago and had—it's a wonderful story. It's weird because I had to try and figure out how to tell her that I was...
KATYA: Which he didn't tell me...
GRANT: Didn't tell her in the beginning because it's a very difficult thing to approach in any normal conversation.
KATYA: I actually had to Google him.
GRANT: She had to Google search...
KATYA: ... because he was too good in bed.
COSBY: Incidentally, a little earlier in the piece, we showed you that adult star, Randy Spears. We did talk about his kids, but he is also married, and he told us he's happily married and that his wife understands what he does. So the big question is, What about that couple that you just saw? When we come back, a look at their first time together in front of the camera. They'll talk about what happened between the sheets.
And you won't believe the places you can now find pornography. We'll show you the hot businesses putting sex on iPods, Palm Pilots and even cell phones. It is going high tech big-time.
And it's easier than you think to get your hands on porn, but is it a good thing, or is it deteriorating our society? That's coming up.
COSBY: And more now of our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at “porn valley,” just outside of Los Angeles where I am right now. It's also where a lot of pornography is made. We want to tell you that what we're about to show you is not appropriate for everybody, so a word of caution.
But before the break, we showed you a nervous young woman named Katya set to take the plunge into the world of porn and shoot her first-ever sex scene. Here's what happens next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rolling. Keep going. Keep your character.
Action! Keep it going. Yes! Yes! Hot!
COSBY: After months of toying with the idea of shooting her first porn film, Katya, a southern California banker, and her boyfriend, Grant, have finally gotten over their nerves and done it.
KATYA: I'm a little bit too overwhelmed to give you a verdict, to be honest.
GRANT: I think I rocked her world, and I think we did an awesome job. And she did a spectacular job for a newbie. She was a rookie, and she's now an expert after today.
KATYA: And I'm dating this person.
GRANT: There was a lot of energy, you know? And it was encompassed. You know, we wanted on a—on a—what is that thing, a barrel. A barrel...
KATYA: Yes. It was OK.
GRANT: It was tough. It's a barrel, OK? And it's sharp...
KATYA: (INAUDIBLE) baby wipes.
GRANT: ... sides with the baby wipes. And it was typical positions.
You know, it's not like a four-poster bed, but she did OK.
KATYA: Actually, I thought it was fun.
GRANT: Did you? You had fun?
GRANT: Well, now the truth comes out!
COSBY: Porn isn't a multi-billion-dollar mega-industry from movies alone. Adult entertainment tycoons know all too well that sex sells and have banked on that with astonishing results. They're taking porn to the next level, and you won't believe what's happening.
Welcome to the swanky offices of Waat Media, a multi-million-dollar technology company which has banked on working with companies like Vivid. And like the film biz, it's all coming out of “porn valley” and streaming throughout the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I'm doing is taking this “Playboy” clip, and I've prepared it for a glamour-level clip, which is basically “Sports Illustrated”-style content. It doesn't get any more explicit than what you're seeing right here. And I'm am cutting that material into several different versions. The longest version is going to be used for our streaming mobile TV channel.
COSBY: Believe it or not, they are broadcasting live porn channels, adult games and photos to cell phones in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
IAN AARON, WAAT MEDIA: We have out here what we call producers who actually create the offering. So those producers create what we call a wap (ph) site, which is the flow of what somebody might see on the handset as they click the—as they go through the page-verified (ph) area to make sure they're of age to see this content. They may go to an that's area called video. And once they get into videos or they may go into a brand, clicking on Vivid, they'll see a site that's specific to all the Vivid content.
This is actually streaming from Portugal through the U.S., you know, here. And I can tell you, when you're in Europe, the quality is great, you know, and you can even—if you want to, you can even decide to play full screen and rotate. So here, this happens to be a Vivid strip poker game. You can see your cards. You can decide to check or fold as you play the game, and as you win, then virtual dollars that cause you to see various pieces of the clothing of the girl come off.
You're hearing a lot of buzz about mobile TV. As you're seeing, this is actually live stream TV. The TV is actually programmed in blocks. It's no different than how you see TV today.
You know, there's a demand out there, so when you say, Who is the audience, it's, you know, the people who are on the net. It's the people who are using it on cable. It's the people who are buying it in hotels.
COSBY: And if pulling out your cell phone for porn isn't enough, try a one-on-one conversation with your favorite porn star.
MERCEDEZ, PORN STAR: Somebody will invite me into private. Somebody'll say, I want to see Mercedez. And (INAUDIBLE) go into private (INAUDIBLE). We go into private with them, and then other people can join into that private. And that's when we really go into, like, really hard-core stuff.
COSBY: Mark (ph) for Free is a Web-based chat room where one click of the mouse connects folks to their man or women of choice for a quick chat or something a bit more raunchy.
MERCEDEZ: To see more of me personally, you can go to my Web site at Mercedez (INAUDIBLE). There you can see explicit (ph) video, POV. I don't know if, like, it's updated every two days. I update my diary every week. It's something that I own and I personally update, so that's definitely one on one with me. It's not one of the sites where I'm hired on as a model. (INAUDIBLE) runs it. I personally rent i. So it's a really great site.
I've done it for about three years now. You know, I'm really proud of it.
COSBY: Broadcasting from here in “porn valley” and from studios throughout the world, members pay $30 a month to chat live and actually control their own steamy sex scenes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We sit on the bed and there's two camera guys. They come in. And then there's an earpiece put in my ear. And I have a really—I get to listen to them, what they say. Somebody interprets it over the computer. Of course, if I'm not front of the computer, she tells me what they're saying and what they want to hear and their name. And then whatever they want to see or hear, that's what we do. And I talk back to them and they can hear me.
COSBY: Porn actresses Mercedez and Lacey (ph) are set to perform for and interact with over 500 fans live.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's great. And if you haven't been on one, you
should definitely get on and see one because it's a lot of fun. It's very
· if you ever wanted to direct a scene in, you know, porn, this is definitely the way to go because, you know, you tell us what you want exactly, and if you're good, you know, and you're not, you know, rude about it or anything, we'll do everything you want us to do. So it's kind of directing.
COSBY: And if chatting from home with one of these actresses isn't enough, you'll soon be able to do it from your cell phone, another sign porn, technology and profits just keep on growing, and all from right here in “porn valley” California.
COSBY: Well, increasing technology means that as easy as it is now to get porn, well, it's about to get even easier. Let me bring in now someone who is taking digital porn to the next level, Steve HIRSCH. He's the CEO and founder of Vivid entertainment, one of the porn industry's biggest and most profitable companies.
Hey, you know, Steve, I first got to ask you about a couple things in the piece. One of the guys was married, has kids. How many guys are, quote, “happily married” and working in these films?
STEVE HIRSCH, CEO AND FOUNDER, VIVID ENTERTAINMENT: Well, a small percentage, but certainly, there are some.
COSBY: What about boyfriends and girlfriends? Because in that case, what we saw, we saw a boyfriend convincing his girlfriend to get involved in the business. Does that happen?
HIRSCH: Yes, it does. Certainly. And we do see a lot of couples that are in the business, and sometimes they meet once they're in the business. Sometimes they come in together. It just depends.
COSBY: Where has the business gone? I mean, you've been in—you've owned, what, Vivid for 21 years.
COSBY: How has it changed in the 21 years, the technology?
HIRSCH: Well, when we started, the only way to get adult movies was through videotape. And that was—you know, 100 percent of our business came from sales of videocassettes. Well, that's changed. Videocassettes ultimately turned into DVDs. There's the TV business. There's the Internet business. There's the wireless business. There's all of these new businesses that have become available to us over the last 20 years that has helped us to expand our business.
COSBY: What do you say to folks who say you are degradating society, it is too easy to get porn, a kid could somehow get on line, get on the cell phone, watch it, catch it? Do you feel a moral sort of responsibility?
HIRSCH: Well, we believe that adults are able to make decisions and that adults should be able to make decisions as to what they watch in the privacy of their own homes.
COSBY: What kind of blocks, though, do you do so kids and underage folks don't get it?
HIRSCH: Well, for example, at Vivid.com, you have to show us a credit card before you get in and before you can see any nudity. That way, you know, we're sure that acts as age verification. You have to be over the age of 18 to get a credit card. When you go into a video store, there's a special section that you have to—that you go in as an adult, if you want to rent a movie.
You know, all of those age verification processes are in place, but ultimately, we think that the parents have to be responsible for what it is that their kids watch. I saw a survey that was on your network earlier today, and 86 percent of the people thought that parents are the ones who should take the responsibility for what it is that their kids watch. We agree with that.
COSBY: We'll talk about who is responsible. And stick with us, if you could, Steve. I want to talk a little more with Steve Hirsch and also some others right after the break because still ahead, we have a lot more.
Can a porn star being overexposed? An adult film stars taking advantage of the digital age. She's going to join me live. Plus, you're going to meet a man who is taking the big (INAUDIBLE) of porn and shrinking it into the palm of your hand. We'll find out how easy it is to access porn. Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Is it both? The answers may surprise you. Stay tuned.
COSBY: And everybody, welcome back to our hour-long special on the $57-billion-a-year porn industry. Again, a word of caution tonight, what we're showing you may not be appropriate for young children.
Many adults, though, have been very curious but afraid to ask about this. So how does the industry work, and what is it like behind the scenes? Joining me now are two veterans of the business. Let's meet—bring back in Vivid Entertainment CEO and founder Steve Hirsch, and also porn director—you just saw him in our piece—Chi Chi Larue. He's also known, as you heard in the piece, the Steven Spielberg of porn.
How did you get that name?
“CHI CHI LARUE”, PORN DIRECTOR: Well, I'd rather be the John Waters of porn.
COSBY: How did you get the Steven Spielberg title?
LARUE: You know what? I think it's because I work really well with the actors and I have the utmost respect for my talent.
COSBY: How long have you been in the business?
LARUE: Seventeen years.
COSBY: How long does it take to make a porn film? We saw some of the process, but how long?
LARUE: Well, it can take a day, it could take a couple of weeks.
COSBY: And who are the folks? Do they come to you? Do you go to them?
LARUE: Well, it varies. I get, god, hundreds of e-mails a week saying that they want to be in the movies.
COSBY: And what kind of people are e-mailing and calling you?
LARUE: Well, most of the time, not people that should actually maybe be in the movies. I mean, you know, you're looking for a couple different things to make a good porn star and...
COSBY: What makes a good porn star?
LARUE: Well, bodies, faces, and all the right equipment.
COSBY: And do they have to be good actors? Is there anything (INAUDIBLE) deliver the lines?
LARUE: You know what? Actually, at Vivid, that is a big plus.
COSBY: Is that actually a criteria? Do you say, “OK, I've got a scene”...
STEVEN HIRSCH, CEO, VIVID ENTERTAINMENT: Well, our movies are very story-intensive. And I mean, our movies—we cater to couples who watch our movies, so it's important for us that we have movies with story line character development. But when a girl comes in, she has to have something special. You know, you look at her and you can tell. It's her eyes, it's the way she moves, the way she talks.
That way, we send her to our photographer and we see all the different looks we can get from her. And if she sort of passes that test, then ultimately we shoot a movie with her.
COSBY: What percentage makes the cut?
HIRSCH: As Vivid girls?
COSBY: Yes, as Vivid girls.
LARUE: Very few.
COSBY: Very few?
HIRSCH: Very few.
COSBY: It's that competitive?
HIRSCH: Maybe one in a couple hundred.
COSBY: And how much could they make?
LARUE: Well, it varies. It goes—the scale is astronomical, because there's companies that don't pay their actors very much. And there's companies that will pay a lot.
I work mostly in the gay adult industry. I do only straight stuff for Vivid. And in the gay adult industry, the men make much more than the men in the straight.
COSBY: What's like a little and what's a lot?
HIRSCH: Well, it depends. I mean, if it's a girl who is a Vivid girl, they can make a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, minimum. As they get more popular, they can make even more than that. A girl who just comes in the business probably can make $1,000 or $1,500 a day, and it goes up from there. So there's real money to be made.
COSBY: You're talking about, obviously, big money. These are the success stories. I mean, the reality is there's also probably a lot of girls, hard-luck stories.
COSBY: Come to Hollywood...
COSBY: .. you know, come here and hope for fame and fortune, and they end up, and they get violated and abused.
LARUE: I don't want those girls in my movies.
COSBY: What happens? I mean, do you feel like you're sort of feeding that cycle?
HIRSCH: Well, we're sort of here to talk about Vivid and what it is that we look for. I can't really speak to what other companies do, because that's not us and that's not what we do. We treat the girls...
COSBY: How do you weed those out? How do you weed out the folks that, like, genuinely want to be there? And what do you say to the folks who feel like you're degrading society?
LARUE: Well, I don't want anybody to do anything on one of my sets that they don't want to do and they don't have to. They're in control, absolutely in control, 100 percent. I am not in control of what people do on my sets.
COSBY: And you guys are doing the volunteer—you know, the reality is—and separate than your business—is there is the sort of the back-alley, the seedy sides. You have, I'm sure, heard about some of the hard stories.
HIRSCH: Certainly, there are people out there that shoot stuff that's different than what we shoot. But you have to keep in mind that these are consenting adults. And...
COSBY: But are you still promoting bad behavior, lascivious behavior?
HIRSCH: I don't think so. I think we're talking about people who make decisions for themselves. And people are adults. And if they're able to make those decisions, then we have to respect that.
People can't tell other people what's right for them. I mean, there are certainly the people out there, the moralists out there, the morality priests out there who want, you know, to stop all sorts of adult entertainment, but that's not right. Adults should be able to make adult decisions.
COSBY: I mean, I'm stunned how pervasive it is. I want to show—this is stunning about the workplace. Twenty percent of men admit accessing porn at work; 13 percent of women admit accessing it at work. And about 70 percent of all Internet porn traffic occurs during a 9:00 to 5:00 workday.
I find that stunning. You know, a, are you promoting bad behavior in the workplace?
COSBY: And what are people doing? Shouldn't they be working?
LARUE: Yes, well, you know, at my place of business, of course, we're in the business of selling sex. So my guys are cruising other people's websites...
COSBY: Are you surprised at that number though, the fact there's so many?
HIRSCH: Well, I mean, after people are at work, they go home, and they go home to their families and their wives and their children. And they're not, you know, on the web...
LARUE: On the computer.
HIRSCH: Yes, and they're not on the computer accessing adult material. At work, they may have some time during lunch or during their breaks that, you know, they're free to access Vivid.com, as well as many other sites.
COSBY: Well, both you have, I appreciate you being here and talking about a topic that a lot of people feel is taboo, too.
LARUE: It's always going to be that way, but it's not as dramatic as people would think.
COSBY: Well, thank you very much. Dirty little secrets that a lot of people—obviously working on at the office.
LARUE: Some more people than admit it.
COSBY: Well, it sounds so.
And the big question, of course, is: What is it like to work in the porn industry for the men and women in front of the camera, for people like Chi Chi and also people like Steve Hirsch?
Well, Monique Alexander not only has her own website, but she's also one of the Vivid Entertainment contract girls that Steve was just talking about. Monique is here with us tonight.
Monique, we just heard how much money from Steve some of the ladies make. How much do you make? Monique, are you with me?
Actually, I think we're going to have—I think we're going to have Monique in a few moments. We're having a little bit of audio problems, live TV. But we're going to have Monique in just a few moments.
But still ahead, everybody, we're going talk to her and also show you a new way to get porn that goes way beyond the Internet (INAUDIBLE) did you know that soon you could be downloading porn into your cellphone? Some surprising new technology. That's coming up next.
COSBY: So what is life like out in the porn industry? Well, joining us now is Monique Alexander. She not only has her own website, but she's also one of those Vivid Entertainment contract girls. And she's here with me in the studio tonight, as we figured out all of that.
How much do you make?
MONIQUE ALEXANDER, PORN STAR: I would rather not say, because I don't think it's fair to other girls.
COSBY: Give us a ballpark. Because Steve Hirsch was just saying that his women basically several hundred thousand a year. Is that fair to say?
ALEXANDER: Yes. Yes, it's definitely fair to say.
COSBY: And how old are you?
ALEXANDER: I'm 23.
COSBY: How long have you been doing it for?
ALEXANDER: I've been doing it for about four years.
COSBY: And what do you say to folks who say, you know, look, you're a pretty woman, obviously articulate, why are you doing this?
ALEXANDER: It's something I choose to do. I mean, it's kind of fun.
I kind of fell into it, but I've been in it for four years.
And when I first got into the industry, I only did girl-girl stuff and modeling. And then, a year ago, when I signed with Vivid, is when I chose to step it up, because...
COSBY: Would you rather be a Hollywood starlet? Is there something that, like, went wrong along the way?
ALEXANDER: No, not at all. I love what I do. I love feeling sexy and being in front of the camera and doing it. I think sex is a very natural thing to do. And why not celebrate it?
COSBY: Is it acting? Do you love what you do, or is it just work? Is it sort of, “OK, you know, I finished my part, I'm going home,” and you separate it?
ALEXANDER: Not at all. To me, I love my job. I mean, there's definitely girls out there that I'm sure just do it for the money or do it for whatever. But me, I choose to do it because it's something I truly love to do. That's why it took me so long to make my step to do boy-girl, because I wanted to make sure that it was right for me and that I really wanted to do it.
COSBY: Do you have a significant other in your life?
ALEXANDER: No, I don't at the moment. I don't think for me, or for anybody else, it's fair to ask them to deal with something like that.
COSBY: It must be hard. How do you have, you know, a personal life?
And do your parents know what you do?
ALEXANDER: My parents do know.
COSBY: They do?
COSBY: How did you tell them?
ALEXANDER: You just kind of—I don't know, you just tell them. You just one day—I mean, my mom kind of had a hint when I was telling her I was doing modeling and this and that. And then I just came right out and told her. But she knows I'm a very smart girl and I have a good head on my shoulders and that I can take care of myself.
COSBY: And what was her reaction, though, when you finally said, “Mom, I'm a porn star”?
ALEXANDER: She just—I mean, no parent wants her child to do this. But she loves me regardless of what I do. I actually had my grandmother when I went back home in May come up to me and tell me, “You know, Monique, I'm so proud of you. I don't care what you're doing. You're not doing anything illegal. At least you're out there trying to make a living and do something for yourself.” She's like, “I don't care what you do.”
And that, to me, is the most wonderful thing.
COSBY: How tough is the business? Because, you know, you're making, obviously, very good money at it, but there's a lot of people who are involved in it who are, you know, hanging by a thread...
COSBY: ... and maybe don't even want to be there?
ALEXANDER: Right. Well, those people, they choose their own paths. You're an adult. You have decisions you can make. These girls who are doing the lower-end things or doing things they may not like to do, it's because they're not sticking up for themselves. They need to learn that...
COSBY: Are they falling prey, though, to sort of vultures who...
ALEXANDER: I don't...
COSBY: ... you know, are in Hollywood, making false promises to them?
ALEXANDER: I think so. I just think that maybe they're naive. You just need to learn. It's out there. People know what's good and what's bad. And I just think that girls don't realize you can say no, that you can stand up for yourself, and that you're going to live if you choose not to do that job. I've never done anything I've never felt comfortable doing.
COSBY: What would you say to a friend or maybe a niece or somebody, you know, who's got a young child, “I want to get into the porn business.” Would you advise them not to get in it?
ALEXANDER: I would talk to them about it—I wouldn't advise anybody, because I love my job and I love what I do and I'm very successful. And I've taken my career in a very good way.
And if I knew somebody who wanted to do it, I would take them down the right path and make sure that they got treated properly. And that's what I try to do with new girls when they come to set.
And, you know, you hear things, and you see this. And I look at them, I go, “Look, you don't have to do these things. It's not going to stop. Your work is not going to stop. You need to stand up for yourself and say, 'No,' because you'll still work. It's not going to end.”
COSBY: Thank you for sharing the...
ALEXANDER: No problem.
COSBY: ... secret life that a lot of people don't get to see. We appreciate it.
ALEXANDER: No problem. Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you very much.
And the next time your cell phone rings, it might not be mom on the other end of the phone. Adult videos are now just a phone call away, with some help from porn providers. In fact, as much as $4 billion could be spent on cell phone porn next year alone.
Just how did cell phones become the newest outlet for porn? LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Harvey Kaplan. He's the director of operations for Xobile.com.
Harvey, how did cell phones get to sort of be the latest technology here?
HARVEY KAPLAN, XOBILE.COM: It hasn't been the latest technology for our overseas partners in Japan, most of the Pac-Asian companies and Europe, for the last three to five years. It's just starting to make its way over here, because the networks are expanding to support video delivery to phones.
So as that network actually opens up and people are actually able to gain access to the Internet over their phones, the natural thing that people will first start to look for is adult content. And that's where we're more than happy at Xobile.com to provide it to them.
COSBY: Now, you have an agreement with Vivid entertainment. How many movies can customers access on their cell phones right now? And where do you see the future headed?
KAPLAN: Right now, on our site, we can actually get access to about 50,000 movies.
COSBY: Fifty thousand?
KAPLAN: And the marketplace -- 50,000 movies on our site right now. We have about 911 manufactures that have actively contributed over the last six years to AEBN, which is our parent company. And it was a natural progression for us, with all of that content, to start to port it over to handheld cell phones and PDAs. So the marketplace itself is growing.
COSBY: Absolutely, sounds like it's booming. Harvey, I understand you've got some gadgets with you.
KAPLAN: Yes, I do.
COSBY: Show us what you brought and what the utility is.
KAPLAN: OK. We've got several different gadgets with us. This first one, as most people may recognize, is the Sony PlayStation Portable. That's been one of our more popular devices to release content on.
And basically, just by selecting the video option and getting content to it, you can see that you've got a fairly large display to actually watch content on.
The next device that we actually have right here is the video iPod, which is the latest device that's actually come out for us that we've been able to get content down to. And we've managed to get about 32 hours worth of movies on these devices itself.
And I'm just going to key this up here, if you give me half a second, and we'll have it playing for you. As you can see, the quality and the clarity on there is tremendous.
So the folks that are actually searching for adult content right now on the web can download this stuff to their handheld cell phone, PDA, iPod, PSP, and carry it around with them. It's a personal portable and pedestrian device that'll go with you anywhere you want to go. It's perfect for actually shuttling...
COSBY: Now, what do you say to folks, like companies like Cingular Wireless? They have some tools for parents to block access for kids so they can't get access to these kind of things. Of course, you don't want it in young people's hands. They're not ready for this.
Do you support that plan? And what kind of steps are you doing to make sure that the wrong people aren't looking at this material?
KAPLAN: Well, we absolutely do support any sort of parental controls that are in place for several reasons. I mean, obviously, in the adult industry we have a very low chargeback ratio. And if we get above .1 percent, we can no longer process credit card transactions.
So kids who are underage, sneaking mom and dad's credit card, the first time they see something on their bill, like AEBN's credit card, they'll go ahead and charge back, which will lose our standing and lose our ability to actually processing payments.
So we support anything that actually will inhibit underaged kids from getting access to our content. We have a filter on our site right now for credit cards so that no one can gain access to our content and watch it without purchasing.
And like Mr. Hirsch pointed out earlier, you have to be 18 years of age or older to have a credit card. So it's pretty obvious what the payment mechanism is of choice for us.
COSBY: All right. And, of course, we're not advocating this. And we certainly don't want this to come in the wrong hands.
Thank you, Harvey, very much. We appreciate it.
And, of course, there's a lot more coming up here on MSNBC tonight. Let's check in, if we could, with our pals Joe Scarborough, who is looking at Internet addiction—Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: ... looking at Internet addiction, not only pornography, but also gambling. Just an absolutely terrible situation going on in high schools and college campuses across America.
There is actually—we're going to be looking at a story of a young man who was actually one of the most successful members of his college. He racked up such a huge Internet gambling addiction that he actually went out and robbed a bank to try to pay that off.
Also, we have an exclusive interview with Jennifer Hagel Smith. Yesterday, she went to Capitol Hill for a congressional hearings that we've been pushing for, for quite sometime in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.” She's going to tell the story about missing honeymooner George Smith IV, her terrible loss that she endured when he disappeared, vanished, and also how the cruise industry actually tried to blame her for his disappearance. It's a very emotional interview. And that, plus a lot more on the Internet, coming up in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”
COSBY: We'll look forward to that, Joe. Thank you.
And, of course, Tucker Carlson, we've got to ask, what's the buzz on tonight's SITUATION?
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Well, Rita, we're going to—we're actually going to shoot a porn scene live on our set tonight. Actually, just kidding, that's tomorrow night.
COSBY: And are you going to be—are you one of the stars, Tucker?
CARLSON: Needless to say, the show's got my name on it. No, in fact, we're going to talk to the head of an anti-Arab group who says antiterrorism ads are racist. It's the same old debate, but I think with a twist that's going to be interesting tonight.
Plus, you'll meet a man who has spent the last two years—two years
· fighting a seatbelt law violation, $25. Why? Because he's an American hero. We're going to talk. You're going to like this guy.
COSBY: Good, I can't wait to see it. Tucker and Joe, thank you so much. Everybody, be sure to tune in tonight.
And of course, everybody, still ahead, the other side of easy access porn. Find out why some people say accessing it so easily isn't a good thing. But someone else says it may be providing some other positive things. Some surprising answers. Stay tuned.
COSBY: Well, we have shown you how porn is made behind the scenes and the new ways that it's getting into people's hands, worldwide. But is it good to be able to access it that easily?
Joining me now is sex therapist, Dr. Laura Berman, and professor of sociology and women's studies at Wheelock College, Dr. Gail Dines. She's also the coauthor of “Pornography: The Production and Conception of Inequality.”
Let me start with you, Dr. Berman. You know, you made the comment that it's not necessarily all bad. Why?
DR. LAURA BERMAN, SEX THERAPIST: Well, I think that erotica has its place, certainly, in relationships, when it's used in a productive way to spice things up or to create fantasy. It's not all bad, and it certainly has its place. But it can be misused and...
COSBY: Does it help a relationship, Dr. Berman?
BERMAN: It can. I often recommend it to my patients who are looking for ways to spice up their sex life or are looking for ways to kind of feed fantasy. There's lots of pornography out there that is made by women, for women, that is very respectful of women, so it's not all sort of this stereotype of this female, you know, disrespectful, horrible images. Some of them, actually, women enjoy and couples enjoy together.
COSBY: Let me bring in Dr. Dines. Would you suggest it to somebody?
DR. GAIL DINES, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AND WOMEN'S STUDIES: Well, before I'd say that, I would like to talk about what's just passed for a news program has actually been a 50-minute promotion for the pornography industry. And I think in the media you have more responsibility...
COSBY: Although, Dr. Dines, although, Dr. Dines, in fairness, we're not debating that issue. And, of course, we talked about it from a business perspective. By no means are we promoting pornography. Let me just make that clear.
DINES: Yes, you are. That piece—except those 50 minutes did promote pornography, in that you did not really get at what the industry's about, the reality of women's lives in the industry.
Instead, you brought on a few people from Vivid, which is the elite directors of the industry. The reality for women's lives, if you're talking about women who were trafficked into pornography, you're talking about poor women, you're talking about abused women, drug-addicted women, all the research reveals this.
And for you to focus on such a small percentage and to not have any serious analysis of the industry, but instead to let these directors promote it in this way, I think, is shoddy reporting on your part, at the very worst.
COSBY: Let me bring in Dr. Berman, because, Dr. Berman, we did talk about some of the other things. And, again, we're also going to be doing some future programs talking about some of the more difficult paths that some of these women have taken. In fairness to us, we did talk about that, you know, are you degrading women, are you doing some of these things?
I mean, this is the high end of it, but we did talk about some of the tough times.
COSBY: It isn't all glamour, right, Dr. Berman?
BERMAN: It's certainly not all glamour. And, you know, I think that that's been made clear. But what's really important to remember is that pornography, in and of itself, is not all bad, and we tend to look at these things in black and white.
Certainly, if someone has an Internet pornography addiction, or a pornography addiction, or it's getting in the way of their ability to function or their relationship, or they have an atypical sexual preference that is illegal or for a nonconsensual act, then these sorts of pornography films that promote those activities can be—sort of promote negative behavior in those people who might otherwise redirect that sexual energy...
COSBY: Dr. Berman, let me cut you off there. I want to make sure I get Gail Dines in really quick. Gail, what's your biggest concern about this industry, just real quick, if you could?
DINES: Well, what you are doing in this industry is you are mainstreaming and sexualizing cruelty to women. And the mainstream of pornography today is not what it was 10, even five years ago.
What passes for mainstream today is consistent violence against women, covert violence. We're not talking about physical violence, but emotional and sexual violence that's passed off as everyday sex. And the younger the males who watch this—and, indeed, increasingly males are beginning to download this at ages 10 to 12 -- is what you're doing is you're socializing them into believing that this is a way to treat women. And women are going to have to pay the price...
COSBY: Gail Dimes...
DINES: ... for this multibillion-dollar-a-year industry.
COSBY: Gail Dines, we've got to—we're up against a hard break. I will get you back on, both of you again. And I do appreciate your comments. I disagree, of course, with some of them. We'll be right back.
COSBY: And that does it for LIVE & DIRECT here from Los Angeles.
We'll be back here tomorrow night. Here's Joe Scarborough.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Content and programming copyright 2005 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.
Watch Rita Cosby Live & Direct each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET