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2005-09-15

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Gay porn director returning to campus

BY KARL STAMPFL
Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 14, 2005

For our annarbor.com visitors, this story is from 2005. It was inexplicably linked. We apologize for the inconvenience.

A pornographic website plans to continue its campus-invasion tour this fall after a summer hiatus, one of the site's producers told an undercover Michigan Daily reporter in an instant messenger conversation. The producer only identified himself as Gary.

Last spring, the producers of the website, midwestxbois.com, first admitted to filming on campus in bathrooms and dorm rooms - a violation of University policy and state law - then later denied it. But when asked by the undercover reporter recently whether the site would agree to film or take pictures on University property, a producer of the site, which specializes in gay pornography, wrote, "We might shoot in a bathroom on campus or something."

The invasion tour has stretched across Southwest Michigan from Eastern Michigan University to Wayne State University. About 30 male models appear on the site. They range from fully clothed to completely naked, with some performing sex acts.

Later in the conversation, he also agreed to film in a dorm room at the University, and recalled filming in dorms at Michigan State University. The University's residence hall lease prohibits students from running a commercial business out of their dorm rooms.

The producer also said he had filmed outdoors in a state park near MSU. The charge for engaging in sex or pornography in public places would be indecent exposure, which could qualify as a misdemeanor and include up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

When asked if he knew that it was illegal to film or take pictures of pornography on campus, the producer told the undercover reporter not to worry, that they would only do it if they were sure they would not be caught.

If the University discovered that the filming was taking place, it would take immediate action, University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said. Peterson said Department of Public Safety officers and the Student Affairs staff was alerted and will be watchful for evidence of activity like recruitment posters or murmurs within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. No evidence has been found.

The first invasion tour prompted last spring's e-mail from University Dean of Students Sue Eklund warning students against participating in pornography on campus, noting its psychological effects, as well as its illegality. Peterson stressed the University's concern that the site will exploit students, who are just beginning to develop and understand their sexual identity.

"For a young person, the invitation to appear in a film may feel momentarily exciting and empowering," Peterson said. "But those decisions may ultimately prove damaging to the person in ways he or she may not immediately be able to foresee."

As an example, she pointed to the University's Sexual Assault Crisis Line, which sometimes fields calls from students disturbed that videos or pictures of them engaging in sexual acts have been shared via the Internet.

The producer said the site uses hotel rooms for the majority of its filming of college students.