I may be a day late and a dollar short on this issue, but I just heard about it this morning. Read on....
Local gay Internet site believed linked to the spread of HIV/STDs
By Gary Barlow
At the urging of Chicago Department of Public Health officials, the City of Chicago slapped a cease-and-desist order on the Lakeview home of an online gay porn site April 20 after concerns were raised about cases of HIV and other STDs tied to the site’s models.
Christopher Brown, assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS/STD programs at CDPH, said health officials acted after uncovering “credible” evidence that models at FlavaWorks.com, which also operated CocoBoyz Dorm Room online, were HIV-positive, were engaging in unsafe sex practices and were spreading HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea through contact with individuals outside the business.
Brown said CDPH’s initial involvement came in late December after HIV service providers called CDPH to express “concerns that some of their clients could be seen on the website engaging in unsafe sex.”
“We also became aware of cases of HIV linked to some of the models,” Brown said.
The business allowed members to go online and view models engaging in sex in a “dorm room” setting that was staged in an apartment at 933 W. Irving Park Road. The models were predominately black and Latino. Members could also pay more to have the models perform specific sex acts.
Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Licensing issued the cease-and-desist order prohibiting the business from operating at the Irving Park Road location. Brown said CDPH Comm. Terry Moore also plans to issue a cease-and-desist order.
Brown said the business owner had been “less than cooperative” with city officials’ efforts to stop the spread of HIV and other diseases and get CocoBoyz models in for counseling, treatment and testing.
“Our main concern was the dorm,” Brown said. “Our goal is to immediately look at the models, screen them and address their needs.”
By the time city officials and police showed up the morning of April 20, CocoBoyz had already cleared out of the apartment. A man who identified himself as Jackson Robinson, manager of the business, said he and the owner closed it because they knew the city planned to shut it down. Robinson denied the city’s charges in a phone interview.
“There’s no one HIV-positive in our dorm, so that’s untrue,” Robinson said. “The models also engage in safe sexual practices.”
He said he felt the primary reason the city moved against the porn business was that it didn’t have the proper license. He said he’d repeatedly been turned down for a license.
Brown scoffed at Robinson’s denials.
“We had evidence and reports from what I would consider credible sources that there was HIV and STDs among the models at CocoBoyz dorm room, and unsafe sex could be viewed right there on the website,” Brown said.
Brown stopped short of saying the porn models engaged in prostitution with customers, but said, “Yes, through our conversations, there were individuals who became infected through contact with the models.”
There are also allegations that the business used unusual labor contracts with its models, which, according to one source, “at least bordered on illegal servitude.” The 30-day contracts allegedly required the models to perform a certain number of sexual acts in exchange for a stipend. But, when the models tried to collect the stipends, they were told they were being charged for such things as food and bed linens, leaving them, in some cases, in debt rather than collecting money. They were then pressured to sign new contracts.
Robinson said the business, which dates back to 1999, is looking for a new home outside Chicago and will reopen “whenever we can be licensed and incorporated somewhere else.”
I personally know a few people that have been infected by individuals that work for Cocodorm. I also know that certain individuals from there are drug users, and have seen it with my own eyes. In fact, a fellow blogger made reference to it in one of his entries a while back and it's just a scary reminder about a lot of things, especially AIDS and HIV.
But it gets better! The Press Release that Cocodorm put out was full of bullshit. Here it is in its entirety:
CocoDorm Survives after Natural and Political Attacks
The CocoDorm closed March 31st, 2006, when strong winds damaged the façade of the building that housed it. The Dorm temporarily relocated to another building in the City of Chicago, but will be making a permanent move to a new location outside of the city. Normal operations will resume just in time for the summer.
Last week, a free local paper incorrectly reported that officials linked the CocoDorm to STD and HIV transmissions. This report was slanderous and defamatory, and the allegations made within the article were unfounded and untrue. The paper in question has a history of reporting negative stories against the black gay community. Additionally, FlavaWorks believes that the City of Chicago has never welcomed the Dorm. The City has denied the Chicago office a business license on multiple occasions.
Contrary to the article, there has never been an HIV outbreak in the CocoDorm. While the CocoDorm was the target of a municipal investigation, because of alleged outbreaks within the Dorm, the Health Department did not close the Dorm. No civil or criminal investigations have been launched.
The CocoDorm has been a safe environment for over five years. Models are required to wear condoms while engaging in intercourse, and are tested for STDs and HIV upon arrival. There is no proof that any model has ever contracted HIV while at the dorm. Models enjoy their time at the Dorm and are paid well. They are given bed linens and food at no cost, contrary to what was printed in the article, and are additionally given complimentary airfare to and from the Dorm, and entertainment such as games and outings to the cinema and clubs. In fact, many models that have resided at the Cocodorm ask to come back.
The Cocodorm website is still active and updated daily with new streams, photos and blogs. The video chat and video features of the website are also active.
Here's my question. If "Natural" disasters damaged the building, why are they looking to move out of the city? I'll tell you why. Because like the cover of the magazine says: BUSTED!!!!!
And before everybody starts saying that I'm no better than they are, let me say this: Yes, I subscribed to Cocodorm, but once I found out the truth, immediately rescinded my membership. Personally speaking, at no time should a life be sacrificed to make a fuckin buck.
THAT'S JUST WRONG.
You Can't Escape Time
2 years ago