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Michael Lucas: The Zionist Porn Impresario Waves His Political Muscle in the Left's Face

At the beginning of the week, porn impresario Michael Lucas was somewhat known as a controversial gay conservative writer, someone you could expect to see playfully debating Ann Coulter at a GOProud event. But he was far more famous for his day job as a top porn star. He seemed more likely to go the whole nine inches to make a sale of his own likeness than to go the whole nine yards for Zionism.

By the end of the week, Lucas became known for flexing his political muscle: He intimidated New York's LGBT Center into canceling its hosting of another group's Israeli Apartheid Week event scheduled for next month. And it took him only a few hours of emails and phone calls, plus a little more than $1,000, to do so.

The cancellation went down faster than one of Lucas's co-stars. Lucas is, of course, more than willing to talk about it.

The Siege Busters Working Group, along with Existence is Resistance, was planning a March 5 "Party to End Apartheid!" at the Center. Siege Busters had been meeting regularly since last summer, and Israel Apartheid Week organizers had held an event there as far back as 2008, apparently with little or no problem.

When Lucas heard about the "party," he says, he immediately contacted Center officials. While they would eventually put out a statement that the event had to be canceled because it "interfere[d] with the Center's focus on our core mission," Lucas paints a different picture of their initial reaction.

"At first," he tells the Voice, "they tried to tell me, 'Don't intimidate us.' " He says he was told the Center had an "open-door policy." (Center officials have repeatedly refused to answer the Voice's specific questions on the matter.)

So Lucas says he started sending out emails, made "about 100 phone calls," and spent upwards of $1,000 putting out a press release on PR Newswire.

Within hours, the Center's open-door policy shut down. Lucas says: "[Executive Director] Glennda Testone responded directly to me, writing, 'We are canceling the event. Next time, maybe we can talk more about it before you do all of that.'"

Lucas didn't get much else of an elaboration out of the Center, and nor has anyone else, including the press. Veteran left and gay activist Sherry Wolf, a member of Siege Busters and long-time activist at the Center, told the Voice yesterday that her group was evicted without so much as a phone call.

The event's organizers are trying to fight back, releasing a statement today that says, "We demand that the LGBT Center reverse its decision and guarantee the right of organizers to continue to meet and hold events there."

In the past couple of days, our inbox, comments board (here and elsewhere) and Facebook wall have been flooded with all kinds of charges against both Wolf and Lucas. Is Wolf a self-hating Jew hell-bent on inappropriately co-opting the LGBT Center for the "non-gay" goal of destroying the state of Israel, or is she a queer activist utilizing the Center in its grandest tradition of organization and free speech? Is Lucas an opportunistic self-promoter who found yet another opportunity in his continuing evolution from porn king to pundit, or is he a true Zionist believer — or is he both?

Lucas has a few kind words to say about Wolf — but only a few. He admits that he appreciates that she was once a member of ACT-UP. But he also calls her "a liar" and finds her claim baseless that Siege Busters' Jewish makeup protects them from charges of anti-Semitism. He says he detests her socialism and thinks she should spend her time pointing out how horrible the Muslim world is to lesbians like her and how good Israel is to gay Palestinians.

His thoughts towards LGBT New Yorkers sympathetic to Palestine who might wish to discuss this at the Center are even less generous — and more sarcastic.

"Just because someone has a low IQ, that should not be a reason they are not allowed to use the Center," he says. "Maybe after they meet there, they should take a plane to Israel and protest there against the Israeli Government, whose actions they find so unjust — and they will be perfectly able to have this demonstration in front of the Israeli Parliament. Then, they should go to Palestine and have a protest there! They will then be mutilated, or hanged, or burned — you know, the favorite methods of Palestinians to treat people who are different."

There is probably one member of Siege Busters not entirely convinced a protest in Israel would come without any consequences. Regardless, Lucas seems to think the idea that the Center should truly be open-door is ludicrous.

"If there were a Ku Kluk Klan group that had some gay people, they should meet at the Center, and have a drink and hors d'oeuvres, and listen to some music?" he tells the Voice. "It's a very extreme example, and ... maybe for you, Israeli Apartheid Week is not as bad as the KKK. For me, it is as bad as the Ku Klux Klan."

True, says Lucas, any group can petition for space. But he says, "I, too, have a right, if I am a donor or not a donor, if I am just a gay man, to voice my concerns. And to say I disagree. And it is up to the Center to decide if my concern is appropriate or not. I have a voice, and they have the right to ignore it — or not."

This time, the Center chose not to ignore it.

At the time of this writing, after many requests on specifics from the Center, this is the final word we've been able to receive on what went down:

"We received feedback from a number of constituents expressing concern over this event. The group in question is not LGBT, nor was the event's focus, and since a non-LGBT issue began to distract from our core mission, we asked the group to move the event. As for the status of the group going forward, we have cancelled future reservations for all the same reasons.

"The Center has a rich history of welcoming the exchange of ideas and divergent points of view on LGBT issues and provides meeting space to a wide array of groups. The Center neither endorses nor sponsors any group or activity renting our space. Should any one group or event divert our primary focus of service to the LGBT community, as this group has, we must weigh the greater good of our organization and act accordingly."

Lucas tells the Voice that he was unaware then that IAW had held an event there years ago. Contemplating this revelation yesterday, Lucas as good as says this proves the Center's guilt. "They said they didn't know what this group did. They said, 'They're just having drinks, they're just serving hors d'oeuvres.'" If they'd hosted them before, Lucas contends, "they knew exactly what the group was about! They knew exactly what they were doing. They'd have to be morons not to know." Another clue, he adds with contempt, is that "it's called 'Israeli Apartheid Week!'")

[sthrasher@villagevoice.com]


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