“David Forest… for over twenty years [has been] killing people with drugs.”
- Michael Lucas at Saturday night’s Grabby Awards ceremony.
IGNORANCE IS NOT ALWAYS BLISS: I sat with mouth agape on Saturday evening as performer/director Michael Lucas used his moment on stage, presenting an award, to express his disgust with The Grabby’s organization for honoring David Forest. Just moments before, the room had applauded as The Grabby Awards announced Forest as Best Non-Sex Performer of the year for his ironic and self-mocking portrayal in his own movie, Brad’$ Buddie$. I accepted the award for Forest, who couldn’t be there, and thanked the appropriate people. As Michael Lucas took to the stage and began spewing venomous comments regarding the manager/producer, the audience booed to the point that Lucas walked off the stage leaving Matt Sizemore and Chris Green to present the next award. Then yesterday, Lucas released the following statement regarding his defamation of David Forest – to which I will personally and publicly respond piece by piece:
I know that many of you have already heard about my recent speech at this past weekend's Grabby Awards ceremony in Chicago, chastising David Forest and, more importantly, the gay adult movie industry for supporting him and those like him, for so many years.
Now I have been swamped with calls and emails regarding all of this, and I would like to take this time to clarify my intentions with what I said, so there should be no misunderstandings.
Here's what exactly happened:
David Forest was nominated and won the award for best non-sex role. The award was accepted by Jason Sechrest, who went on to make a speech about how David Forest has worked so hard for 20 years to help build this industry to what it is today, and that it's about time he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.
To begin with, I never said or even eluded to David Forest having helped to build this industry. My exact speech, transcribed from tape, is as follows: “Twenty years! Twenty years David Forest has been a part of this industry and this is the first time anyone has ever bestowed a title upon him… with the exception of being the Queen of Emails. I spoke with David earlier today on the phone and he had three people he wanted me to thank in particular. Chad Donovan, who wrote and directed the movie along with the incomparable Thor Stephans, without whom, the movie would not have been possible. And he wanted me to thank Paul Barresi, who was originally supposed to do David’s role in the movie – which I guess is sort of like Julie Andrews thanking Audrey Hepburn at the Oscar’s. Closest comparison I can find. Anyway, David accepts this totally and thanks you so much. Have a great night!”
I sat silently in the audience in complete disgust while hearing this, thinking about all the deprived and/or susceptible people that this money-hungry swine has taken advantage of over the years, whether by feeding them endless supplies of drugs, or by pimping them out at his unending Meet the Stars events (just like the infamously tasteless 9/11 tie-in offer I'm sure you all remember hearing about).
I consider David to be one of my dearest friends and I’ve never seen him under any circumstances take advantage of anyone. If anything, it is the people who come to him who are money-hungry and I have yet to see him hold anyone down and force “drugs” or “pimping” upon them.
David Forest and people just like him shamelessly degrade this industry - which I proudly work in - with their filth and corruption again and again, and why so many foolish people choose to support them is a complete mystery to me. Likewise, why others who agree with me choose to remain silent is just as much of a mystery to me. David Forest is one of the reasons why the industry is sometimes looked at as sleazy, druggy, and dishonest.
On the other hand, David is the only agent who works more as a “manager,” promoting his clients on the web and in print. Forest does a mass emailing every time his boys take a shit and while you may certainly call it bombardment, you can’t say that he doesn’t work hard for the boys on his roster. His work ethic along with his unprecedented style for celeb appearances – making sure his boys take limos to any event – at the smallest awards show he’s the only one to throw an extravagant after party – that all continues to give our industry the sprinkle of “glitz” and “glam” that it often so desperately lacks.
Anyway, when my time came to present an award later that evening, I took the opportunity to share my repulsion, stating: "It's very sad for me that we are putting ourselves, once again, so low in society by giving an award and supporting such a scum-bag as David Forest who, for years, has taken advantage and destroyed people with drugs...This industry will never gain any respect unless we will stop promoting this evil pimp.”
Actually, Lucas’s exact words were that Forest has been “killing people with drugs” for twenty years, which made me, for one, wonder how many he was on.
I heard about three people booing me, so I went on to say: “And those of you who are booing me should be ashamed of yourselves, because there's not one word that I've said that isn't true, and you know it.”
A great lot more than three were booing and it was enough to get Lucas to exit the stage, as he knew he was no longer welcomed.
This is precisely what I said, and I'm happy that the opportunity finally came to do so, and I do not take one word back.
Finally, however, I want to make this VERY clear: I have no personal conflict with David Forest whatsoever. I've never met the guy; I've never bought drugs from him; I was never his client nor whore; and I was never represented by him. I just happen to despise everything he represents, and what he represents goes against everything I believe in. Should I ever leave this industry, it will be as a result of people like David Forest, because I don't want to be associated with that in any way, neither directly nor indirectly. I will not hire his models and I will never support his behavior. But until then, I am here, working hard in the industry I love, and trying to make a difference. I will use every opportunity to fight him and him-alike, and I hope to do so with the support from my peers and colleagues.
Essentially, Lucas is saying that he has no basis or evidence to back up his claims and that he is ignorant as to who David Forest is or what he stands for, yet he has no issue laying judgment. I, personally, had heard horrible things about Forest before meeting him, but I don’t take people at their word. I am my own judge of character and I would never form an opinion about someone – much less an opinion so strong as Lucas’s – before even meeting them. I’ve enjoyed working closely with Forest in the past few years. He’s not a saint. He’s never claimed to be. But I’ve never known him to be evil or to be deserving of such defamation. The Grabby’s weren’t awarding Forest with lifetime achievement. He did a good Non-Sex role in his own movie and they felt it was honorable.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
With all my love,
That’s not love. That’s hate. And it’s this kind of attitude that keeps our community so separated from each other. I am shocked that even 48 hours after the incident, Lucas can not accept that it was not the right time or place for him to voice his disdain, and apologize for using his moment in the spotlight to put a damper on the evening. His email only adds salt to the wound, like a child who knows they’ve done something wrong and continues to dig himself into an even deeper grave.
It’s not that I don’t support a person’s right to freedom of speech. Michael Lucas is entitled to say whatever he likes, whenever he likes. The rest of us, are also entitled to say that we feel what he’s said is dim-witted, inappropriate timing, or in poor taste. And so the truth, though painful, seems clear enough to me: Michael Lucas and Lucas Entertainment were nominated for only three awards that evening. He won nothing. Still, consciously or subconsciously, Lucas needed to find a way to become the “star” of the evening and to have his name be synonymous with this year’s Grabby Awards. You need only pick up a copy of any gay adult magazine on the newsstands to see that he is a master at self-promotion. But I can guarantee you, as I’ve talked to many a person behind the desks at Gay Chicago Magazine, that Lucas will never be asked to present at the ceremony again, and this is one journalist, writing for over a dozen publications in print and online, who is now in no great rush to promote or review his product.
I hope it was worth it.