Flava4

Yes, the headline says it all.

A couple of weeks ago I was notified by mail that Flavaworks owner Phillip Bleicher was suing mwah for libel to the tune of $250,000.  Good luck.  I have a hard time getting $2.50 together much less $250,000 and you can quote me on it.

About Phillip Bleicher and Flavaworks

Flavaworks operates the porn sites, Cocoboyz, Thugboy and PapiCock, and the magazines Flavamen and FlavaLife that feature young Black and Latino men.

The Chicago Department of Public Health recently released a report on the latest rate of syphilis and HIV infections in that city in its Winter 2006 report.

In their findings, they detailed a follow-up to an investigation they conducted into the unsafe sexual practices conducted by FlavaWorks, where young gay Black and Latin men engage in sexual acts for the enjoyment of viewers who pay a membership fee to watch.

As a result of the CDPH investigation last year, Flavaworks closed their operation in Chicago and relocated to Miami, Florida. The business’s owner, Phillip Bleicher, had also been charged by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with operating a fraudulent charity that bilked schools nationwide out of millions of dollars but later dropped the charges.

In a past post, a colleague Bernie Tarver, who is also being sued, detailed how The Chicago Free Press reported that Department of Health officials in Chicago slapped a cease and desist order on the owners of FlavaWorks.com because business has knowingly allowed the spread of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

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.
While the models are Black and Latino, the owner of the company, Phillip Bleicher, is White.

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.”

“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.

Equally distressing are reports centering around the conditions under which the young men worked. Most of them are reportedly at-risk youths, runaways, homeless and easily manipulated.

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.

After fleeing to Miami, Bleicher became the subject of a NBC 6 investigation in May that revealed he was operating an adult business in the middle of a Miami residential neighborhood.  NBC 6 discovered they were operating a hardcore live internet sex business with cameras installed in rooms where customers around the world can pay to watch the men who live there have sex with each other.

"It’s the city’s position that the activity that is happening at that location should not be happening," said Miami Assistant City Attorney Victoria Mendez. "It’s a single-family residence and there are children in the vicinity, and the city feels that this should be stopped immediately."

Flavaworks says they promote safe sex "100 percent" and what they’re doing is legal.

But the attorney for Flavaworks said the business is legal.

"I assure you that all of the allegations take place in a private area, behind a locked door, in a house that goes over out of cyberspace on the Internet," attorney James Benjamin said. "No child near there or anywhere outside the house has any idea what happens inside, just like nobody knows what happens in your house, sir."

However, Miami disagrees and has cited them for five code violations including failing to have a license to operate a rooming house, a business or an adult business in a residential neighborhood. The Miami Code Enforcement Department board met on June 27 to decide whether live sex shows broadcast on the Internet from inside the house violates the law.  They continued the hearing until July 25 during which the website is still up and running.

About the Lawsuit

Because several blogers felt compelled enough to blog about what was happening in Chicago and Miami, they have become the target of a lawsuit, yours truly included.  As I said in the beginning  I was given until today to respond to a lawsuit to the tune of $250,000 for libel.

Prior to the lawsuit, the powers at be over at Flavaworks have begun to try and legally make me remove the information from my website and they actually had Bernie’s site shut down for a hot minute.  They invaded our websites by posting comments that we supportive of their business.  However, I busted that when I noted that the posts were all coming from one computer, in other words, the same person who was changing their name to appear as if they were someone else.

With reference to me, they tried unsuccessfully to point out that I was a writer for Flavaworks’ magazine of which I have never ever denied.  Please quote me:

“At one time Flavaworks did contact me to publish my op-eds.  So what?  I don’t understand what that has to do with the Chicago Department of Public Health’s report and their other questionable activities.  Money doesn’t equal silence.  I don’t have one issue with Flavaworks publishing my op-ed’s.  In a sea of photos of half naked and naked men, at least for the five or so months they published my articles, their readers got some knowledge to go with that hand job.  As far as I’m concerend, if the KKK had a national magazine and wanted to publish my articles they could as long as they paid me and didn’t edit it anyway.  Like I said, so what.”

I know what libel is and I know what libel isn’t and nothing that was written was libel. We simply stated and facts, which I am happy to do again.

Fact: Bleicher is under investigation for operating an adult business in the middle of a Miami residential neighborhood.

Fact: As a result of the CDPH investigation last year, Flavaworks closed their operation in Chicago and relocated to Miami, Florida.

Fact: Phillip Bleicher had also been charged by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with operating a fraudulent charity that bilked schools nationwide out of millions of dollars

Libel this ain’t, but the truth it is.

It’s also true that Black gay men are still dying from HIV/AIDS and I myself have watched videos on Flavaworks’ various websites that showed unsafe sex practices. 

Flavaworks’ own vice-president recently dropped dead of pneumonia and as sad as that is, it makes you wonder why a relatively healthy Black gay man in the prime of his life just drops dead of pneumonia.

Bleicher should have left well enough alone.  Bloggers aren’t the reason that the Chicago Department of Public Health and NBC 6 investigated him, his business practices are.  We just merely reported it.  Instead of wasting time trying to shut our blogs down and get outrageous sums of money out of us, he should be focusing on his own ass and the pending charges against him and leave us he hell alone.

It’s bad enough that Bleicher is a white man profiting on the sex of young Black and Latino men.  That alone makes my blood boil.  And to think that even any of the allegations of their work conditions further pisses me off. 

If you like porn that’s your business.  I’ve got no issues with that.  But there is a reason why all of these allegations and investigations are being launched against Flavaworks…something just ain’t right and sooner or later the truth will come out.  Don’t hate on me for reporting it.

Links to Other Stories