LOS ANGELES—Shortly after a federal jury found scat movie producer Ira Isaacs guilty of producing and distributing obscene material, blogger and director Mike South posted a column on his website titled "Ira Isaacs And Some Lessons For Porners."
After stating that there was a "lesson to be learned" from the Isaacs case "for everyone in porn," South proceeded to claim, "You see Ira Isaacs was not even on the feds radar, he might still be selling his scat and animal porn if not for a fundamental mistake. Two of the people that worked for Ira walked into the Department of Justice and handed them one of Ira's scat tapes."
"The allegations were that they were under diminished capacity when they agreed to make the tapes, they were addicted to drugs and were doing it out of desperation, Ira made the promise that the tapes would never be made available in the United States but were for overseas purchase only," South continued. "they also alleged that Ira supplied them with drugs and or alcohol prior to the shoot. When they discovered that Ira was indeed selling the videos here in the states they felt that they had been deceived and they used Ira's own words against him. He told them that legally he could never sell the tapes here, here meaning in the United States. They went to the Department of Justice and handed them the case."
There are just a few problems with that recitation of events: According to court documents and the primary subject of the article, they aren't entirely accurate.
As this reporter observed at Isaacs' third trial in late April, the government produced a document that set forth the FBI's summary of its investigation of Isaacs, and the very first entry was from January 28, 2003, noting that the agency was beginning to look into Isaacs' activities. Several more notes indicated that in the following months, FBI agents, working with the Los Angeles Police Department's Vice Division, had surveilled Isaacs at his office, his home and the Mailboxes Etc. store where Isaacs had a mailbox.
Trouble is, Hollywood Scat Amateurs 10, the only movie adult actress Veronica Jett (one of the "Two ... people that worked for Ira" noted above) made for Isaacs, wasn't filmed until 2004.
"The movie was made in '04," Isaacs told AVN, "and the reason I know that is, I have the model releases that say '04, the copyright says '04, the girls say it's '04, so I was on the FBI's radar at least a year before I made the movie. I didn't even know this girl then. So it's impossible that she turned me in."
In Hollywood Scat Amateurs 10, Jett played "Michelle" and another actress played "April," and the pair ate a substance later learned to be mainly peanut butter and chocolate, smeared it all over themselves and each other, and passed it from mouth to mouth.
"What did happen, I think, is a guy who got busted with similar content turned me in; that's what I believe," Isaacs said. "It was the girlspooping.com site, one of the first people to get busted. I think he turned me in, but who knows? But it clearly wasn't them that got me on the radar."
Isaacs also takes issue with South's statement that if one shoots "more edgy content," it's "imperative" that the producer/director interview the performers and perhaps even develop a friendship with them.
"It is an absolute must to deal honestly with talent, tell them exactly what is expected and exactly what will be done with the content and don't lie about it," South wrote. "Be a decent human being, vet your talent and weed out the ones that are obviously doing it out of desperation, treat them well and show some humanity fucking up someone's life will bring you bad karma, ask Ira or Max about that."
Isaacs states that Jett's claim that he said the movies would never be shown in the United States is "absolutely false."
"I never said it because I knew how I was going to market it, just like I marketed every other movie I sold: on the internet," he said.
According to Isaacs, shortly after his first trial, which ended in a mistrial when the presiding judge was found to have had a website featuring sexual humor, some of it explicit, Jett went to the U.S. Department of Justice and offered to testify at a future proceeding, and it's for that reason, Isaacs believes, that LA Vice Det. Kyle Lewison went online in early 2012 to purchase Hollywood Scat Amateurs 10, a movie that hadn't been part of the charges in Isaacs' original 2008 trial—and the only movie Jett did for Isaacs.
Why did Jett do it? Isaacs has his suspicions.
"In '08, in my first trial, Veronica Jett did go to the DOJ and say, 'Hey, I shot a movie with this guy, and I'm willing to testify for the prosecution.' Well, now, the question is why would she do that? And the reason she did that is because we had a domain dispute. I had veronicajett.com and she flipped out. Also, I lent her $1,000 which she refused to pay me back. In fact, I said, 'If you pay me the thousand with no interest in any period of time, I will give you the veronicajett.com website.' The loan came before I got the domain."
Isaacs thinks Jett was particularly upset because he had used veronicajett.com to promote Hollywood Scat Amateurs 10, and Jett's musician "rocker friends" were seeing that when they searched the internet for her movies, and the fact that they found out that she had appeared in a "scat movie" embarrassed her.
"So she fucking hates me because I have 'her website,' in her mind, and two, I'm promoting it and her friends are finding out that she did this movie, so she fucking hates me," Isaacs concluded. "So she finds out I get busted, and she goes to the DOJ in '08—I know this because the DOJ tells me. They were trying to get me to plead, so they were trying to come up with anything that might scare me into a plea, I guess. But she went there, and all we heard was that she would testify, but they never called her or anything."
Of course, Isaacs' second obscenity trial, which occurred in early March of this year, ended in a mistrial, and about six weeks later, the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors tried again.
"So now it's '11," Isaacs recapped. "The new DOJ wants to prosecute me, so they call up Veronica Jett and get her to do a statement, and I read the statement, and basically it says I lured them in—first, they admit they're methedrine heads before they met me; 'We are meth heads and vulnerable, and we meet this guy and he is giving us meth to do these movies, and that's why we're doing the movies. Even though we don't want to do the movies, we do them because we're meth heads and he's taking advantage of us.' This is Veronica Jett, and she's saying I gave her all this stuff, but it's not true," Isaacs said. He noted that use of meth was not allowed in his house. "I knew they smoked [pot], but they went outside and I can't be responsible for adults and what they do—and they knew exactly what they were getting into. I didn't give them drugs; I'm not into drugs."
Attempts to contact Jett via email to verify what statements she made to government prosecutors and/or the FBI were unsuccessful. Jett was present for at least one day of Isaacs trial, but she was constantly surrounded by DOJ personnel, and reporters were unable to speak to her about what testimony she might have given if called to the witness stand.
"Veronica Jett also said that she wanted not to finish the movie," Isaacs continued, "and that I said, if you don't, I'm going to blacklist you from the porno business,' and she specifically mentioned Max Hardcore; that I'm going to call up all the people in the porno business and tell them not to hire her."
Of course, the idea that Ira Isaacs could call up anyone in the adult industry and blacklist an actress is ludicrous on its face—and Isaacs knows it.
"Like anybody in the porn industry would listen to me!" he exclaimed. "And in fact, that's exactly the opposite of what happened. I actually tried to get her a job with Max Hardcore. I wanted to have an arrangement where I would find girls for him and he would find girls for me."
Moreover, Isaacs noted that Jett's co-star, "April," did several movies for Isaacs both before and after Hollywood Scat Amateurs 10, and why would she have done so if she had been coerced into doing that particular movie?
Isaacs says he tried to contact South by email, sending him Isaacs' phone number and asking South to call, but South never did.
Certainly, South is correct in his overall assessment that there are many things a producer can do that may easily lead to him (or her) getting busted, and those are lessons worth learning before that bust occurs.
But, said Isaacs, "Before Mike South gives any lessons, he should learn one himself: Before you start writing things; have a little credibility!"