Porn star Michael Lucas

You may know him as the King Of Porn, having built up an empire called Lucas Entertainment. Russian born, Israeli by parentage and American by heart Michael Lucas is in the midst of a rebrand. King of the documentary. We catch up with Mr. Lucas to talk about what’s on his mind and the power of the camera.

Why was it important for you to make a documentary about gay life in Russia?

There was a lot of attention to this issue prior to the Olympics, and that attention must continue. The world has seen bits and pieces, but we don’t have the full picture of what the LGBT community in Russia is going through. That’s what I hope to show in my film.

Many of the people you spoke to seemed to find talking about their experiences difficult, particularly Anton Krasovsky who famously came out on air and was fired by his employers. He, it seemed could barely look you or the camera in the eye. Do you think he regrets the decision to come out?

Yes, it’s very difficult for people to talk about being oppressed, persecuted and dealt with unfairly. I know it very well as it’s difficult for me to talk about my own experiences as well. He definitely does not regret it. At least that’s what he told me.

Was it harrowing to hear about people’s experiences?

To me it was more harrowing to hear how popular these laws are in Russia among the ordinary people on every level and to know that there is no end to it and no hope. That’s something that I always think about when I hear their stories. What they went through is something they, and others, will continue to go through.

Are governments outside Russia asserting enough pressure on Putin to ease off on the anti-gay laws? Is there anything more they could do?

Outside governments are not applying any pressure at all. This is the wrong impression that people have. Unfortunately, the west is dependent on Russia’s natural resources. For the western government oil and gas, are priorities. Gays and civil rights are not.

Can you see an end to LGBT persecution in Russia?

No, there will be no end because LGBT people are a great scapegoat. They are being viewed as agents of the west and Russia is a very nationalistic anti-western country. It’s also important to know that the majority of Russian society hates everything that is different. 86% of the Russian population is in full support of those laws. Nobody is going to be taking these laws off the books anytime soon.

How was your upbringing in Russia? Did you suffer homophobic assaults or abuse?

I came out very early when I was a student at law university in Moscow where people were a little bit more open-minded. It was during a very short period of time when people didn’t hate the west and were open to western ideas. The president at the time, Boris Yeltsin, was actually granting people the rights. So this time in my life was easier than my earlier days in school when students and teachers were constantly poking fun and harassing me. I wasn’t physically assaulted because I was strong enough to defend myself. Unfortunately, I am an exception to the rule because many people were constantly beaten up. Particularly in the smaller cities

Were your parents accepting of your sexuality?

Yes. I was lucky to have been brought up by an educated and loving family. My grandmother was a piano teacher and knew a lot of gay musicians and my mother was a physiologist of Russian literature and taught foreigners the Russian language. But again, my family was an exception to the rule.

You’ve been a US citizen for 10 years now, how do you think the gay rights movement is doing in the US?

I have lived in the US since 1997 and it is incredible how much America has changed over the last 17 years. We are moving faster and faster and the gay community is very close to achieving everything we have hoped for. The LGBT community is very visible, strong and very active. I can see the day when both the democratic and republican party will fight for the gay vote.

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So with a couple of documentaries under your belt now, which is more fulfilling – porn or documentary making?

These are two absolutely different things and cannot be compared. Porn is the job that I live off of and that also paid for both documentaries. ($100,000 each.) So, thank you porn for letting me bring the attention to important subjects that I am passionate about.

Has your background in porn hindered your documentary making?

Not at all. It has probably helped because gay people that know me helped make it easier.

Have your subjects in the documentaries known who you are outside the confines of the documentary?

Definitely all the gay men did.

In the past you’ve held what some would call – controversial views on Islam, do you think this could be a topic for a future documentary – highlighting the pressures on gay Muslims?

No, and for the simple reason that in Russia the homosexual act is not criminalised while in the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries you can be punished by jail time or even death. There is also the situation where people can be killed by their relatives (so called, honour killings) for being gay and Muslim people do live by religious books and not by laws. And religious books including the Quran call for the murder of homosexuals. So I wouldn’t put anyone into danger of being persecuted for appearing in my film because this documentary would obviously out them.

What’s something people are often surprised to learn about you?

Probably, that I do not party, drink, smoke and that I have never touched drugs and do not go to nightclubs. I prefer to spend time with my friends & family. Oh, and that I have always been in long-term relationships.

If you didn’t do what you do today, what would have been your dream job?

I would love to be a politician in some complicated place.

To find out more about the new documentary by Michael Lucas, Campaign Of Hate visit:www.campaignofhate.com

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