Glenn Greenwald's Former Porn Industry Business Partner Speaks Out

Categories: Porn On Trial

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A few weeks ago the New York Daily News published a lurid hit piece on Glenn Greenwald's past, including a stint at the helm of a gay adult film company. Among the names named was Jason Buchtel, a New York-based man and CEO of Last week Buchtel posted on his blog an intimate, tenderly felt history of his relationship with his family--especially his parents, who never knew Buchtel was involved in the industry until he was outed in the piece.

Buchtel's letter walks the line between shame and triumph. He stands by his chosen profession, the decisions and accidents that led him there. He stands in defiance of the Daily News piece's pearl-clutching tone.

But Buchtel spends most of his meandering post navigating and negotiating the fact that he's been outed to the world as a porn filmmaker. He claims his identity proudly, but he's clearly trying to manage the reality that the revelation of his profession will have a serious personal cost.

I never wanted to tell my parents I'm an adult filmmaker. They are very religious, and after having been rejected by them once already for being gay, I never wanted to repeat the event. While they have since accepted my sexuality, they still feel it's a sin and in the later years of their life, I did not want to confront them over this issue yet again. My profession now is going to register way off the morally acceptable Richter scale, and my last name -- their last name -- will forever be linked in to the Lexis-Nexis-Google-sphere-of-forever-and-forever. Their name, their son, and the gay adult film industry. For that, I am deeply sorry.

Up until now, I dealt with this situation by avoiding the truth and lying to them -- lies on top of lies. And that made me resent my work, my life, and them -- an old pattern now repeating itself. So after a while, I decided the best way to handle the situation was to just fade into the background of their lives. I was happy living an authentic life with my two partners and our four dogs. I was happy, proud, and grateful I didn't need to lie anymore.

It was clear from the beginning that the media circus surrounding Snowden and Greenwald was going to get personal. Greenwald himself is on the record saying he expected it to happen. It only took hours for items about Snowden's abandoned girlfriend to hit the web, mostly writers leering at her instragram photos. And the Where's Waldo journalism about Snowden's whereabouts has clogged the main lines of the original story: The systematic and widespread abuse of executive power in spying on American Citizens.

Buchtel took the conversation in a whole new direction. It's about how fear and judgement of erotic film is just another manifestation of society's fairweather relationship with privacy. Apparently no one sees the irony in raising holy hell over the U.S.'s sprawling surveillance state while at the same time demeaning people with alternative sexual mores.

The personal angles on the NSA story are not just off-topic, they are weird echoes of our roiling, unresolved feelings about the nature of individual liberty. Trying to embarrass Greenwald by pointing to his affiliation with the porn industry was another moment of that obsession.

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