Michael Lucas :: never gun shy
Michael Lucas is one of the most outspoken personalities in the adult male film industry. Unlike many of his peers, he has an opinion on a wide array of topics and isn't afraid to discuss them, which he does as a columnist for The Advocate and a lecturer on the college circuit. Sometimes, though, his opinions have resulted in protests that have nothing to do with day job. (He still stars in and produces adult male films for Lucas Entertainment, most recently in the company's recent release Kings of New York.)
Lucas was in Philadelphia this past weekend to present Michael Lucas: Lip Service as part of the 16th Annual Philadelphia QFest. While his performance was tame -- the only frontal nudity involve was on screen and politics didn't come up until the shortened Q&A session - he remains a galvanizing figure.
The 13-year veteran of the porn industry took a few moments to talk to EDGE about a variety of topics, from his outspoken political views to what he calls a hatchet job he received in a profile in the August issue of Out Magazine. Everything, that is, except for what made him famous in the first place.
Politically correct? (not)
Michael Lucas has never been one to shy away from sharing his thoughts on a topic that he feels passionate about. He has been called many things, but politically correct is not one of them - and he is okay with that.
"If you are asking me if I am politically correct, absolutely not," he explained. "I think it is incredibly boring. I think it unnecessary. As long as it is not hate speech. I think political correctness goes totally against what this country is built upon. It contradicts the freedom of speech. If I believe what I am saying, I will say that. I don’t make up stories, I don’t make up statistics."
For Lucas truth remains the ultimate defense, be it addressing safe sex or homophobia in the Muslim world. "I never lie when it comes to politics because I am not a politician," he said in his trademark Russian accent. "I formulated my opinions long ago because I am already 38. I derived my opinions from not just what I hear, but what I see because I travel to many countries. The gay Egyptians were coming to me and saying, thank you so much for what you write because they read on the Internet."
In the past few years Lucas has made appearances at major college campuses (from Yale to Stanford) where he advocates safe sex and rails against drug use. While he could profit from allowing barebacking in his films (the growing trend in the industry), Lucas chooses not to. Still his controversial views on political issues have gotten in the way of his message.
"When I was invited to Stanford University (in 2008) to talk about safe sex, they did not care about safe sex. There was a protest by Muslim students to not let me speak. Of course they let me speak. [But] It turned into politics," he explained. "I think there were no questions about safe sex."
Instead the focus was on his support of Israel and condemnation of Islam. He has called the Koran "today’s Mein Kampf" and rails against Muslim homophobia and anti-Semitism. "It totally escapes me how gay people can side with burqa-wearing, jihad-screaming, Koran-crazed Muslims," he wrote in 2007.
"What’s the point to respect their culture, or supposed culture, when they have a strong contempt for mine?" Lucas said at Stanford (as reported on the website lgbtQnews.com). "I have a problem with people separating terrorists from the world that breeds them, from the world that originates them, which is the world of Islam."
Accused of generalizing, he replied.
"I don’t generalize -- a fact is a fact. I am definitely not a racist if I’m telling you the truth. The Muslim community is much more homophobic than the black community, the black community is much more homophobic than the white community -- and there are reasons for that."
But it isn’t just with politics that Lucas has differing opinions. Take the sexual practices of gay men, something he is obviously familiar with. Lucas believes that many members of the gay community are too quick to judge others’ sexual practices. From his own experience, he knows that many fetishes are more popular than one might expect. And being the man behind Lucas Entertainment he has the numbers to back it up.
"I know how well as a businessman what a demand there is [for showing certain sexual practices]. Those numbers sometimes outnumber the regular vanilla films. It kind of bothers me that gay people decide suddenly what behaviors to discriminate against," Lucas said. "It’s so strange to me. There’s probably a good, good explanation if you talk to a shrink. But it bothers me when it comes to sex a lot that gay people are so intolerant, such prudes."
Out :: out of context
What had gotten under Lucas’s skin on this night is the Out Magazine profile that can be found in the August issue. Just in the first few paragraphs he’s considered old as Methuselah (in porn years) and is called (by a friend no less) "a little Russian mafia. A little Zsa Zsa Gabor. He aches to be Marlene Dietrich."
The story goes on to portray him as "condescending" (putting down models for not knowing who the Secretary of State is); self-important ("There are moments in life when silence is your fault and truth is your responsibility"); and wracked with self-doubt over aging ("How stupid and primitive and unfortunate and tragic and bitter, this aging, the great waste of life.")
"Look at the article in Out magazine that came out yesterday," Lucas said. "It’s a slanderous, disgusting article," Lucas explained. "He (author Richard Morgan) was trying to present me in the worst light and it was not me. He missed a story - there is no story. You know he followed me for five days. He turned everything around on me [and] he took them out of context."
Lucas did acknowledge that when he spoke with the editors, they did offer him the opportunity to write a response to the article. The article is not available online.
With stories like the Out magazine story and websites like Fleshbot, which Lucas has stopped sending his movies to review, it would seem that Lucas might get a little gun shy when it comes to talking with the press. This - as this interview points out - is hardly the case.
"We all like to be admired and would love to have glowing reviews. I [have been] in business for 13 years and I am used to it. At some point it was all new to me. At some point I realized it doesn’t matter. I write what I write for publications with my real name and I am being paid for it while others are content scribbling in the comments section. It has stopped affecting me."