Playing Politics in the Adult Entertainment Industry – Ethics

by Curtis L. Isom, Founder / Editor-In-Chief

I live my life on my terms.

Not always easy, but I’ve been able to do some amazing things, gain some amazing friends, and be a part of this amazing adult entertainment industry.  In reading my articles, I use the word “ethics” from time to time.  In living life on my terms, ethics are very important to me, but in the adult entertainment industry, they seem to be lacking in others which I find sad. Ethics, according to Merriam-Webster, are defined as:

  • 1) rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad
  • 2) an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior
  • 3) a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong
  • 4) a belief that something is very important

A more detailed definition can be found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethics

What’s important about having ethics, and as the definition states, is knowing the difference between the good and the bad.  To know the difference In my life, I strive to follow a number of ethical guidelines in dealing with others.  Hasn’t always been easy, but in the long haul life is so much easier because the friends I have understand where I’m coming from.  So since there seems to be a number of people who claim to know me but don’t, let me share a partial list of the major ethical guidelines I live life by and a brief reason why:

A. Personal / Business:

  • 1) “Be respectful, but trust carefully” – Respect and trust are two of the cornerstones of who I am.  You will have my full respect and trust till you prove you don’t deserve them.  Most do this by proving they’re not who they say or claim they are.  People do make mistakes, and I’m a forgiving man.  But those who like to “play games” and use others eventually “out themselves” when they think they have you fooled.  These are the ones to keep your eye on.
  • 2) “Be of your word” – My word is my bond and another cornerstone of who I am.  Giving someone my word means that I will do what I say I will.  Sometimes It may take me awhile, but it gets done unless circumstances out of my control don’t allow me to do so.  Giving someone your word is not to be taken lightly because it shows the depth of your character.  Too many people in this industry, or just in general, throw their word around without care and make excuses when they can’t keep it.  These people also tend to “out themselves” quickly, should then be avoided, but kept an eye on as well.
  • 3) “Admit your mistakes” – Honesty IS the best policy and mistakes are a part of being human.  Admitting when you make a mistake seems hard for some because they think others will think less of them.  Or lessen how they view themselves.  But I believe it shows good character.  We all like to think we’re perfect, but in making mistakes, be honest because lying just makes you look worse.  And possibly cause future opportunities to pass you by.  Plus, honesty keeps a conscience clear.
  • 4) “Never be afraid to ask questions or speak up” – In this industry, and life in general, there are times when you just see something that needs to be called out.  If you don’t question something that doesn’t seem right, then you could be part of the problem and not the solution.  There are some questions that need to be asked and people don’t or won’t because they don’t want to “make waves”.  It’s better to ask a question about something, even if you think it’s a stupid one, than not.  Not everyone will listen, but ignoring potential problems could leave you asking, “Why didn’t someone say something” when things go sour.  Speaking up, especially in this industry, isn’t always a popular idea because some “industry leaders” want us to jack step right along with them mindlessly.  Not me.  If I see something that could adversely affect this industry, I’ll speak up and discuss what I see.  And if it brings me heat, so be it.  I’m not afraid to stand my ground no matter who’s coming at me.
  • 5) “Agree to disagree” – I don’t have to agreed with every opinion I hear, just respect them.  Not an easy task, but it’s how we get to know and understand each other.  If we agreed on everything, don’t you think life would be BORING?  And sometimes, two differing opinions can lead to the same solution.
  • 6) “Treat others as you want to be treated” – I believe I’m no better than anyone else and no one is better than me.  We’ve all just been given different opportunities that have either benefited us or not.  I have respect for others until then I see them treat others with open disrespect.  Then I’ll deal with them accordingly.
  • 7) “Stand by your friends” – I value friendships and true friends are hard to find.  If you say you’re a friend, don’t try to bullshit me when I ask you about something you do.  People make mistakes, but I’ve been thrown “under the bus” enough to know who’s a true friend and who’s trying to use me.

B. Writer / Photographer:

  • 1) “Protect your sources” – As a member of the media, and in my personal life, confidences are important and there are things people having shared with me that I’ll take to my grave or even go to jail to protect.  But if you betray my confidence, don’t cry fowl when I expose you for who you really are.  Not every deceitful person has to be dealt with, but those who hurt and abuse others will.
  • 2) “DO NOT make sexual advances on the models!”  – Let’s get this straight.  As a photographer, I’m in this industry to make a professional reputation, not to get laid.  People can say otherwise, but the models I work with know this is fact.  They are treated with the utmost respect and honor.  I will flirt and joke during a shoot which makes everything more fun and the resulting photos show that.
  • 3) “Always strive to present the model in their best” – I’m not saying I know everything about photography, and each photographer has their own style.  In doing photo shoots, not every shot is great or even “up to par” which is why I overshoot.  I try to avoid any post shoot editing except maybe for the backgrounds.  I want my finished shots of my models as natural as possible and present them in the best possible way.  People enjoy working with me and like my work.  Every entertainer/client I’ve worked with helps me sharpened my skills continuously and I thank all of them for that help because happy clients means return business.

Again these are just a few of the numerous ethical guidelines I live by.  I know not everyone will understand what I’m talking about.  Or care, which is fine.  I know some of these are straight forward and I bet some of you are saying, “Most of this is nothing new”. And you’re right.  But how many of you reading this have actually thought about your own ethics?  How many of you have taken the time to consider the ethical guidelines you live by?  If you don’t, you should.  I’ve met people in this industry, and life, that have very little or no ethics at all.  They do whatever they want, to whoever they want, with no regard for the consequences and make excuse after excuse when caught.  They are the ones that attention needs to be paid because they are the ones that will screw others over in a heartbeat and then claim they’ve done nothing wrong.

I also bet some of you are wondering if I’ve ever broken my own “code of ethics”?  Yes.  But it’s been when someone was in danger or there was a greater good to be achieved.  Nobody is perfect.  But again, being ethical has allowed me to do so much that without ethics I couldn’t.  I’d rather do the right thing in what I do than take short cuts.  Helps keep a clear conscience and earn the true friends I have.

So what does having ethics have to do with playing politics in the Adult Entertainment Industry?  Everything.

As I said before, without ethics, some people just go about doing whatever to whoever and have no regard for the consequences.  I believe eventually that gets you nothing but a bad reputation and a very lonely life.  But with ethics, you can conduct yourself in an honest manner and not only respect others, but yourself which gains you a good reputation and true friends.  My opinion.

For those who don’t respect someone with ethics well…….that’s their problem.  Just don’t think you’ll fool me because eventually you’ll slip up and reveal your true nature.  I promise you that.

Finally, I’m not judging who does and who doesn’t have ethics in this business.  You know who you are and if you think you can fool everyone all the time, good luck with that.  Like I said before, you’ll eventually “out yourself” and people will see you for who you really are.  Some will care, some won’t, but you’ll be known for who you really are and that is a truth you can’t deny.

As for myself, I’m just sharing a little about who I am and where I come from to help those in the industry understand me more.  I don’t have to do it, but what the hell.

Plus, if nothing else, at least I’ve given you something to think about.

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