Porn legend Mr. Marcus (pictured) has allegedly admitted to starting the syphilis scare that has halted porn productions across the country, LA Weekly reports.
Even more troubling, the porn legend has also allegedly admitted to doctoring a positive July 12 syphilis test and performing in three porn productions after the fact.
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According to the San Jose Mercury News, as many as nine cases have been identified since news first broke about the outbreak last week. It is not known if any of those cases include Mr. Marcus or are connected to any performers with whom he has had sexual contact.
Mr. Marcus, whose real name is Marcus J. Spencer, met with representative from Adult Video News, news site XBIZ, his studio, Evil Angel, and the porn industry lobby known as the Free Speech Coalition on Tuesday and admitted to knowingly performing in sex scene with positive syphilis results, according to AVN Media Network.
The details behind the porn actor’s test results are very murky and more information behind his alleged masking of his test results are likely to come in the next few days.
NewsOne, with information from news reports and an STD expert, will piece together the story as concisely as possible.
Mr. Marcus, according to his timeline, told AVN that he went to see his personal physician on July 11 after feeling poorly. The next day, his doctor told him that he tested positive for syphilis. On July 13, Mr. Marcus got a penicillin shot and was told not to have sex for 7-10 days. He claims that he followed his doctors orders, even canceling porn shoots within that time frame.
On the eleventh day, Mr. Marcus took another dose of penicillin and performed in a sex scene. AVN reports that his physician is unaware of his porn career:
“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.”
On July 21, he went to Talent Testing Services (TTS) to be tested for STDs and received positive results for syphilis on July 23. He claims to have canceled a scene that day because he was confused as to why his tests, five in all, continued to return positive results. Three tests from TTS continued to produce positive results for syphilis.
Mr. Marcus says he then called his personal doctor to ask why the results continued to come out positive. He claims his doctor told him that “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.”
NewsOne spoke asked Keith Crawford, Associate Chief for Public Health Research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to help explain what a kind of treatment a person who tests positive for syphilis receives. Crawford, a PhD with extensive experience in STD research, says that a patient normally undergoes a three-week long regiment that includes one penicillin shot per week.
This period is recommended because it is a reliable way to ensure that all of the syphilis-related organisms are removed from the patient’s system. But, because syphilis is such a complicated STD and patients reactions to treatment vary, Crawford says there is no direct answer to how fast it can take someone to be cleared of it.
“Syphilis is an organism that can hide in different tissues,” he said during a phone interview. “So you’re doing a lot of things with the treatment. One is to treat the person to make sure that (treatment) kills all of the organisms in the body and the other is to make sure that the person is not able to infect someone else. So you can probably make the person non-infectious sooner than you totally eradicate the organisms that are in the tissue.”
When NewsOne asked specifically if a patient is normally given a 7-10 day regiment that Mr. Marcus reportedly claimed to have been given, Crawford says he could not speak to that. But he did add that patients sometimes misrepresent their physicians recommendations.
“What frequently happens,” Crawford told NewsOne, “is that patients will say ‘the doctor said x,y and z which may not always be what the doctor actually said.”
On July 24, he shot a sex scene and the producer, he claims, did not ask for an STD test, nor did the producer check the TTS database to see if he was cleared to work. The producer did ask for visual evidence and Mr. Marcus allegedly said he positioned a copy of his test results in a way that the syphilis results did not appear. He also claims, according to ANV, that the actress with whom he performed that day did not ask him test results, either.
“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 gonorrhea and chlamydia were fine. You didn’t see the syphilis part of the test because of the way I showed it.”
Mr. Marcus reportedly said he felt “dismayed at the positive syphilis results and, at that point, asked a TTS employee to doctor his latest test to omit the positive syphilis results. TTS denies the claim. The actor also says he personally altered a test presented to Blazing Buck, a company he worked for on Aug. 7. A producer from the company allegedly called Mr. Marcus back and told him that the test did not look right.
It was at this point that he allegedly knew he was caught and prepared to meet with the proper officials and admit his wrongdoing.
“I tried to cover it up. I didn’t want to have to share that part because it was like the Scarlet Letter,” he continued. “Because then it’s like Mr. Marcus, syphilis? Mr. Marcus, the one I worked with? Mr. Marcus, the one everyone’s worked with? The one that’s been in this industry forever?”
Mr. Marcus has not released a personal public statement addressing the reports cited in this story, but he did send out a tweet alluding to what has transpired in the past 24 hours:
You can be disappointed, but don't throw stones. Some of you are living in glass houses.—
Mr.Marcus (@akaMrMarcus) August 23, 2012
A fellow porn performer tweeted him words of support after hearing about Mr. Marcus’ alleged syphilis admission.
keep your head up boo , I still love you . "this too shall pass" @akaMrMarcus . :)—
Kim Kandy (@KimKandyXXX) August 22, 2012
Though another porn actress seemed less sympathetic:
If you're apology is really just u passing the buck and still lying. It's really just a public, fuck you. #justsayin—
Kristina Rose (@KristinaRosexxx) August 23, 2012
Ironically, Mr. Marcus told an interviewer three years ago that he had not caught an STD in years. He also told him there were a few times, after a sex scene, that he worried if he had caught an STD. Watch the short clip below.
There are no reports on whether Mr. Marcus can be criminally charged for his alleged actions. But this latest news is likely to bolster support among activists who have been advocating for sex performers to wear condoms during porn shoots.
The Los Angeles Times reports that 370,000 supporters successfully backed a Nov. ballot measure that will ask L.A. County voters whether porn performers should be required to wear condoms sex scenes.
The Los Angeles City Council approved a city ordinance in June requiring that porn performers wear condoms during sex scenes.