I spoke earlier today with Puppy Productions CEO Thomas Bjorn, whose company distributed, until recently, ROYAL RAW AUDITIONS 1 from director Rufus Ffoulkes — the film that we now understand featured a 16-year-old model. Mr. Ffoulkes, a prolific European director in the bareback and twink genres, has been jailed in the U.K. for “enticing a child into pornography,” per a newspaper report. Mr. Bjorn tells me ROYAL RAW AUDITIONS 1 (volumes 2 and 3 in the series are fine) is no longer commercially available and any retailers with copies in stock should pull them immediately. He also firmly assured me that the paperwork for the film was in apparent compliance with U.S. 2257 regulations. However, the identification provided by the performer, billed as “Harry,” was faked and this spotlights a broader concern: As noted, Mr. Ffoulkes was prolific and provided content to a variety of companies, so if he was fooled once, it stands to reason he could have been fooled twice. Any distributor with his films on hand would do well to double-check that everything is in full compliance. This story is picking up steam; the BBC has been preparing a story on bareback sex in the gay adult industry which will likely air this week. I’ve been fielding calls and emails all morning from concerned producers and directors, and the bottom line is this: The U.S. gay porn industry polices itself. If someone steps out of line, we bitch and argue and call each other out. The European market does not and it’s like the Wild West at this point; it must begin to self-regulate or face potentially crippling consequences. Click here for the rest of my talk with Thomas Bjorn…

First, some background: Puppy Productions is based in San Diego and was formed eight years ago. “At that time it was my lover and my business partner,” Mr. Bjorn says. “They went south and I took the company north.”

He “found Rufus [Ffoulkes] online in the early part of 2005” and they spoke for several months before Puppy commissioned any content. Mr. Bjorn says he promptly “gave my speech as I do every outside producer as if I was on the set [regarding] IDs, HIV certificates and STD test results.”

In May 2007, he received a call from Mr. Ffoulkes about an underage performer in ROYAL RAW AUDITIONS 1 named “Harry.” They pulled the movie from their website, checked the paperwork and everything appeared to be in compliance. Some time later, Mr. Bjorn received a call from the police department in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England about the same underage performer.

“I said I would cooperate in any way I could with their investigation,” Mr. Bjorn tells me, but explained that he would need a subpoena to allow them access to his paperwork. He was told the local police department in San Diego would be in touch. They never contacted him and by December, ROYAL RAW AUDITIONS was again made available for sale.

By late January, Bjorn and Ffoulkes had spoken several times during which Ffoulkes assured him everything was in order. However, during a subsequent call Ffoulkes explained that he had in fact pleaded guilty “to the charge of using an underage model with the understanding that it be stated he was unaware [the model] was only 16, since he provided his passport.”

Puppy Productions again pulled ROYAL RAW AUDITIONS 1 and sent a letter to their retailers, as well as distributors and VOD sites advising them to do the same.

“Harry” appeared in only one film that was made commercially available in the United States, and his paperwork was in apparent compliance with U.S. regulations. Another performer identified as “Richard” kick-started this investigation, Mr. Bjorn explains, “because he got a bad check, but while making his statement to the police he mentioned he took a friend, ‘Harry,’ to the shoot, who was 16. ‘Harry’ decided to do a scene with one of the other models on the set and provided a copy of his passport as proof of his age.” As we now know, that copy was fake.

Bjorn explains that he typically paid Ffoulkes, who was then responsible for paying his cast and crew. “During a three-month period in 2005 Rufus either paid models with bad checks or didn’t pay them at all,” Mr. Bjorn recalls. “After I was made aware of this situation, I called him, we discussed the matter and he assured me that the models would be taken care of immediately.

“A lot of the models meet on Gaydar, so they talk. The next couple of movies he did for me he used several of the same models. I assumed since they were willing to do another movie for him, he must be paying them. That was the last time I [heard] about it until I was contacted by the authorities.”

As this story also touches on the hot button topic of bareback-vs.-condoms-only sex, Mr. Bjorn wanted to state for the record that it has been the policy of Puppy Productions “since day one” to require current HIV/STD certifications for each performer, both in the United States and abroad. They do not sero-sort; negative tops are placed with positive bottoms if the performers agree, but not the opposite.

Click here for our original story and click here for the follow-up earlier today.

Source: “Man jailed for making porn film with 16-year-old
Source: “Club captain jailed for pictures of boy


Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. Will on March 3, 2008 10:27 pm

    Tou must be exhausted. First-rate reporting.

  2. Will on March 3, 2008 10:31 pm

    YOU must. . .(damned typos).

  3. Jérôme on March 4, 2008 1:20 am

    Very well done indeed, but that is Thomas Bjorn’s story. It will probably take a while to hear Ffoulkes’ version.

    Just two observations:

    a) it is claimed that “every outside producer” is given a speech regarding HIV certificates and STD test results… Considering that Puppy bought and released material from Serbia, (IN THE RAW: BELGRADE), that particular speech must have been very interesting indeed… If the UK is described as the Wild West, I don’t even want to think what kind of description should apply to gay bareback porn coming out of the former Yugoslavia… More seriously, it is on record now that UK bareback producers only started requiring HIV certificates last year, in 2007, and how worthless (and easily falsified) those documents are has also been amply discussed.

    b) as with all “Europorn”, i.e. European-made content bought and released by a US “studio”, in fact a distributor, the main incentive was and is economics. As opposed to other US players in this game (say, Helix), Puppy Productions was for a long time not forthcoming about identifying the European “talent” (for lack of a better word) involved, and most if not all was credited to the sole Thomas Bjorn. Nothing new about that, of course. But this lack of transparency does have a price when such a glitch as this Ffoulkes affair occurs.

  4. EdWoody on March 4, 2008 6:37 am

    They do test but they don’t sero-sort? What the hell kind of crap is that?

    1 – it’s perpetuating the myth that tops can’t catch anything from bottoms, which is utter bullshit, and it’s teaching that bullshit to children.

    2 – tests don’t work anyway, as the Brit-porn scandal last year proved.

    When the hell did human-kind abdicate its responsibilities to teach and protect the younger generations? Seriously, shit like this makes me wonder what future there can be for the human race.

  5. Lee on March 4, 2008 7:25 am

    Figures that some people wouldn’t pass up the chance to assert their horror with “bareback” even as the story is primarily about something else entirely.

    “tests don’t work anyway, as the Brit-porn scandal last year proved”

    Unbelievable. “Kids” if you don’t want to catch a disease, confirm your own and other’s negative status, value monogamy and long-term relationships and establish relationships with like-minded people.

  6. EdWoody on March 4, 2008 9:23 am

    Or, just wear a condom, like PEOPLE HAVING BEEN TELLING YOU TO DO FOR 30 YEARS NOW.

    Lee, you just go on reading what you want. Ain’t what I said, but what chance do I have of convincing you to give a shit anyway, right?

  7. Lee on March 4, 2008 10:09 am

    OR…do as I said…LIKE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR A MILLENNIA.

  8. DeWayne on March 4, 2008 2:13 pm

    BBC Newsnight has just posted the story and they are on the air.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/7277000.stm

  9. JC Adams on March 4, 2008 3:05 pm

    DeWayne — Thanks for checking in. I’ve been waiting all afternoon for the story to go live.

    Regards,
    JCA

  10. Will on March 5, 2008 3:18 am

    EdWoody — By “tests don’t work anyway” I hope you mean one’s status can change in a window following the test. Otherwise it sends a dangerous message.

  11. EdWoody on March 5, 2008 3:20 am

    Yes, that is what I meant, sorry for not being clear.

  12. Richard on April 21, 2013 2:47 pm

    I was asked to do a second film for Rufus Ffoulkes; but as the first cheque had bounced and he made no effort to pay me I said no. He told me that he would give me the money he owed me when I came to film the second film. He would give me a new cheque. I thought the new one would bounce too so turned down the work ; maybe other models believed him and that’s why Thomas Bjorn thought the models were getting paid.
    I am annoyed my film is still in shops to be purchased when none of the models got paid. Some one made a lot of money from us boys

  13. Don on August 24, 2014 5:39 pm

    question does anyone know what Thomas Bjorns HIV status is?

  14. Seaguy on August 12, 2017 7:59 am

    Don is Thomas Bjorn’s HIV status any of your business? Not unless you and him are going to have sex.

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