Did the LAT Take Down Someone as a Favor to Someone?

August 26, 2013

The Los Angeles Times—which intentionally ignored allegations that presidential candidate John Edwards was having an extramarital affair; which has all but ignored the IRS’s targeting of tea-part groups since Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth in front of Congress; which has refused to investigate the death of four Americans, including an ambassador, in Benghazi last fall—finally has a scandal worth devoting 2,200 words to:

Adult film actress Sarah Shevon drove up the Pacific Coast Highway one spring evening last year to a job she said her talent agent had booked for her at a gated Malibu estate on Dume Drive.

Shevon said she came dressed as instructed in a plaid “schoolgirl” skirt and a white blouse knotted up at her midriff, expecting to make $300 to act in a sex scene on camera.

After parking her green 1997 Toyota Tercel in front of the five-bedroom Mediterranean villa, Shevon said, she walked in and met her costar, a well-dressed man who asked to be called “Mr. Rich.”

The performer also acted as camera operator, she said, but he was no pro.

“Mr. Rich,” the 29-year-old actress believes, was Richard Nanula, who until last month was chairman of the Miramax film company and a principal at the private equity firm Colony Capital.

Nanula, 53, resigned from those positions July 7 after two websites published video images of a man they identified as Nanula having sex with adult film actress Samantha Saint.

And this is a scandal worthy of the front business page why?

Indeed, the story is full of breathlessly stupid observations designed to somehow make us think that this is genuinely in the public interest.

In the adult entertainment industry, it’s known as a “private”: an intimate, off-camera encounter between a porn actress and a paying customer.

Two years ago, Sarah Shevon said, fellow actress Trinity St. Clair asked her to perform a private with a man at a Malibu home. Oral sex would be expected for a $1,500 fee. Shevon said she saw it as an act of prostitution and declined. …

Shevon says she acted in a film that included a sex scene with a man she believes was Hollywood executive Richard Nanula.

“I don’t like how there are these guys who have a lot of money and power and they feel like they can just take advantage of girls or get whatever they want out of them by throwing money at them,” she said.

Right. A porn actress who has sex for money, but only if the cameras are rolling, complains that rich guys feel like they can buy what they want.  Who knew?!

Here’s a reminder of what the LA Times said two weeks ago about Roman Polanski: that he was

convicted of having sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977…

Got that? A middle-age man drugs and forces himself on a 13-year-old, and to the Times it’s just sex.

Now let’s recall what Times reviewer Kenneth Turan had to say in 1995 about Miramax‘s Kids, a truly disturbing film that begins with a 16-year-old boy deflowering a 12-year-old girl, a scene that Turan described thusly:

Directed in neo-documentary style by photographer Larry Clark in his feature debut, “Kids” follows the exploits, such as they are, of teen-age Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), known to intimates as “the virgin surgeon.” The film opens with him operating on his next victim, and then, in the most explicit language screenwriter Harmony Korine could dream up, sharing all the details with his drooling pal Caspar (Justin Pierce).

And yet a divorced man whose sexual life ought to be between himself and his partners finds himself taken down by a newspaper that has no consistent standards.  It would not be unreasonable to suspect that the Times was asked by someone—an enemy of Nanula—to devise what can only be termed a shameless hit piece.

When the Koch brothers were said to be interested in purchasing the Times, the newsroom threatened mass resignations.  How ironic.  Under the Kochs ownership, it’s a good bet that this story would never have been assigned.

If sexual propriety is the new standard for covering film executives, will we soon see in the Times a piece on the prominent exec who is also the author of gay-porn books?  I hope not.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

LukeHandCool September 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm

“… a newspaper that has no consistent standards.”

Well, if it had consistent standards, it wouldn’t be a newspaper, would it?

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