[This is a guest editorial written by Charity Bangs....Thank You Charity, talent should always have a voice!]
Two degrees of Mr. Marcus
The Mr. Marcus incident has been one that has impacted us all. Even if you’ve never met the guy, or performed with him, you probably sat back and thought, hey, I bet I’ve slept with someone, or had close contact with someone who HAS slept with him. After all, this is a small group of individuals we like to call our industry, and we all know what happens when you try to find someone that’s beyond six degrees of Kevin Bacon. I’ll bet none of us are more that two degrees away from Mr. Marcus.
Now I’ve been purposely holding off on writing an article on this matter because I find it annoying when people speak about matters to which they don’t have a proper amount of information, and while I have far from ALL the information about this matter, I do feel like I’m now informed enough to form an educated opinion.
Now here are the assumptions I am making based off all the information that’s been put out.
First, Mr Marcus, at some point before TTS started testing for syphilis, did contract it.
Secondly, due to whatever reason, TTS in June, added syphilis to the standard panel, I am throwing out an educated guess here that it had something to do with the outbreak that was starting in europe.
Next, Mr Marcus receives a test that includes a positive syphilis result, now only he knows how much treatment he had leading up to that point, or what his confidential medical advice was, but the simple facts are he received a positive test.
Next, that test is altered so that he can continue to work.
Finally, he is caught, and the finger pointing begins
So here we are, in an industry that has unprotected sex with each other (for now), and within our group, someone has, or had a STD that they felt they had to hide. After all, we’re not talking about Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, we’re talking about syphilis. The finger pointers have all used this incident to try and push their own agendas, some say it’s Mr. Marcus’s fault, some say it’s TTS’s fault, some say it’s the producers/directors that he shot with fault, and they’re all right, there’s enough blame to go, but we’ll get to blame later.
First let’s discuss what we have to lose, our lives. That was easy, doesn’t get much more dreadful than that right? OUR LIVES! After all, most of us are two degrees away from Mr. Marcus, and had this been a more deadly STD, or worse, something new, we’d all be caught up in the net right now. Like tuna about to be pulled up into a boat to die. Great, now that we all realize we are gambling with, our lives, we can hopefully understand the severity of not specifically THIS incident, but the position we’re all in to be caught up in a much worse incident if we don’t do something.
So what do we do? Well that’s an answer that some people would need 100 pages to answer, and here’s the kicker, almost all those answers have an agenda behind them, someone that wants to profit from the answer, someone that wants to gain power from the answer, or someone that wants to control information from the answer. Guys and gals, please, PLEASE know that those people don’t care about you, they don’t care about me, they only care about increasing whatever it is they want to gain. And by blindly following any of those bodies you’re only enabling them, and for what, one scene? one sale? one bit of a thought that you’re in their good graces? Is that really worth your life?
Back to what the answer is. The answer is understanding that your actions, my actions, everyone’s actions impact the entire industry, as we’re all no more than two degrees away from each other. Because of that, if you want to enter this industry, you need to give up certain rights that were designed for those who do NOT have jobs who impact such a group. You heard me right, giving up rights. After all, when you join the military, you give up a ton of rights, when you get a job you give up certain rights, hell, even people in positions such as athletes and politicians give up rights as a prerequisite for doing their job. Let’s use a football player as an example. He goes out to practice one day and gets a horrible headache, he’s then seen by the team doctor. That doctor then diagnoses the player with some life threatening condition that means he’ll never play football again. You think the player can just tell the doctor, “Don’t tell the team that, I’ll just keep playing with it”. No, the doctor must inform the team, and the team then determines, “Hey, this player is not in any medical condition to be playing this sport”. As much as it sucks, when certain things happen to us, mainly the contraction of STD’s occur, we are in no condition to continue in this industry. It sucks, yes, but it’s something we need to realize before, or when we enter.
Well, how do we enact this? Simple, to be considered a performer, you have to waive your right to secrecy when it comes to STD’s. Now that’s not saying when someone gets a positive test we blast it on twitter, but we can come up with a, probably quite small, notification list, of companies/directors, agents, treatment doctors, and owners that could be notified on a positive result. Those on the notification list can even be asked to sign some sort of NDA to where they cannot leak this information. This list is then used to determine who was exposed as a result of this positive test, and how best to notify those exposed. That’s it, simple, no power struggle, and we get to do, legally, what is most important, notify the exposed talent.
As of now, no one seems to want to give up their rights though, so now we get to blame. You should see where I’m going with all this, that we are ALL to blame. We’re all way too greedy with our privacy, and now we’re complaining that someone actually USED that privacy to pull a fast one on us. Why not blame Mr Marcus? Well he is to blame a little, but I’m not going to villainize him, I’m not going to sit here and be under the illusion that everyone else in the industry would stand from the rooftops and notify every partner they’d ever had, and never work again, no, you’re crazy if you think that under the current system, this will never happen again. Some want to blame TTS. Well, those are people with something to gain from seeing TTS go the way of the dodo bird because TTS is actually the entity with absolutely NO blame here, and had CET been the testing facility, they would have had no blame either. Mainly because TTS/CET is bound by those rights I spoke of that we need to give away when entering the industry. Those rights are in most part related to HIPAA. I don’t have the time nor the energy to explain HIPAA in detail, so just google it guys, you’ll see very quickly that it is ILLEGAL for TTS/CET to share results from an STD test to ANYONE but MM. And that is the flaw in the system. We’re relying on the talent to do the right thing, and in this case and probably many times in the past and future, they didn’t.
In my opinion, all the other details in this matter are irrelevant. Well maybe not irrelevant, but squabbling about them will not get us any closer to making sure this doesn’t happen again.
So there you are, a relatively short opinion on what is important in this incident, and what we need to do to prevent it from happening again. Maybe we can all come together because of this incident, or maybe it’ll take a larger, more deadly incident to do that, who knows.