article

03.31.11

The Person Behind the Porn Wikileaks Website

Porn Wikileaks is attempting to expose the identities—and STDs—of thousands of adult-film performers. Richard Abowitz talks to the vigilante who claims to be behind the effort.

Like many of the women who perform in porn for a couple of years, Monica Foster knew that people might find out her real name. She even self-published a book warning others considering getting into the industry about the impossibility of total anonymity.

What she didn't expect was Porn Wikileaks, a website that became infamous on Wednesday after Gawker.com ran a story about the renegade website's attempts to expose the identities of thousands of porn performers. (Gawker also implied that Porn Wikileaks has revealed the performers' STD statuses, which, so far, isn't true.) Revealing porn actors' real names is significant because, for every Jenna Jameson and Sasha Grey working today, there are thousands of other people who have worked in porn who are now teachers, lawyers, doctors, housewives—people with a vested interest in keeping their past concealed by a pseudonym.

"They posted pictures of my dad, my mom, my sister," says Foster. "They put pictures of their residence and their actual addresses and private phone numbers. They posted a photo of my apartment." Despite years in adult entertainment, this exposure of her private life was unprecedented and unanticipated, says Foster. She has been driven nearly "psychotic" by it. "My mom is a school teacher and people have emailed and called the elementary school," she says. "No other website has done anything like that unless they were stalkers, and that is what I think about the people who run that website. I have been living in fear."

This fear has engulfed much of the porn world, as Porn Wikileaks has threatened to destroy one of the central pillars of the adult-film industry: anonymity. But who is the man behind the website? For all the power Porn Wikileaks wields, most porn stars suspect that the man in charge of it is someone they think very little of. His name, they say, is Donald Carlos Seoane, a.k.a. Donny Long, a washed-up former porn actor and director who, according to a separate website dedicated to exposing him, has had multiple run-ins with the law.

Reached by The Daily Beast via email, a person who admits to creating the website—but who denies that he's Donny Long—offered, in a rant characteristic of all his responses, a quixotic and nonsensical motive for the creation of Porn Wikileaks: "To get the gays out of straight porn and illegal gay pimps that have ruined porn and shut it down making condoms mandatory by the government now. The fag loving has got to stop. California is full of gay Mexicans and now they can even marry which is so wrong." As for the potential safety risk of giving out information like the home addresses of porn stars, the creator of Porn Wikileaks offers: "Do you consider it a safety risk to make other people in the real worlds [sic] addresses and information public like Abortion doctors, government workers, or attention whores working at Starbucks with their cleavage hanging out?"

Such sensitive information in the hands of a loose cannon is understandably unnerving to those it might affect.

These sorts of wildly racist and homophobic rants reflect the tone of Porn Wikileaks itself. For instance, a single generic sentence in the entry for porn star Dana DeArmond reads: "Dana dearmond born Real Name Dana Michelle De Armond is a pornographic whore, and Hooker." All of the porn stars on Porn Wikileaks are referred to as whores and Hookers.

It's worth noting that Donny Long's entry on Porn Wikileaks is more self-serving: "Donny Long is the last hetero man willing to stand up [sic] the Gay Mafia destroying porn. He is retired in the porn business in California because he sold his business but still tells the truth about the fag crossovers destroying straight porn as we know it."

The website has been known for months among a small group of adult-industry insiders and bloggers who choose not to give it attention or links. Among those who held off writing about the site was porn blogger Mike South, who earlier this week stepped forward and alleged that Porn Wikileaks got the names of the porn stars from a breach of the AIM database, the database used by the industry to track the HIV-test status of performers. (Performers in straight porn are required to be HIV tested every 28 days, and most of them are tested through AIM.) According to South: "I've known about PornWikileaks for quite awhile. And I have had a lot of people pushing me to expose it. People have been exposing performer names forever. But when I had proof that the information came from AIM that got my attention." The number of names is also attention grabbing—AIM told NBC Los Angeles they are investigating the possible leak of 12,000 names from their database.

The person claiming to be behind Porn Wikileaks responded via email with some ambiguity to questions about whether the website had obtained the porn stars' information from the AIM database: "No medical records have been leaked yet that we have seen but people post anonymously on our site everyday." Meanwhile, a great deal more information may be landing on the website soon. "We have some even bigger leaks coming soon including 2257's and models releases of thousands of movies." 2257s are documents required by the government from anyone distributing a pornographic film to prove each performer is of legal age. Such releases would contain not only home addresses, but photocopies of two forms of identification—among those commonly used are a driver's license, social security card, or birth certificate.

Such sensitive information in the hands of a loose cannon is understandably unnerving to those it might affect. Whoever is posting it—whether that be Donny Long, as most in the porn world believe, or an anonymous hacker—has set the industry on edge.

But it's worth noting that in today's Internet age, the private information about adult performers is far more available than it used to be. Porn Wikileaks may be a new scourge of the industry, but it's really just a website aggregating much of what's already been made public by Google. Because of this, people like Monica Foster aren't sure they ever would have done porn had they known what the future would hold.

"I did not think any of this could happen when I entered porn," she says. "I have always been a supporter of the industry...But what some people are doing here with this site is really sick."

Plus: Check out more of the latest entertainment, fashion, and culture coverage on Sexy Beast—photos, videos, features, and Tweets.

Richard Abowitz covered Las Vegas for over a decade as a senior writer and editor at Las Vegas Weekly. For many years Abowitz wrote Movable Buffet blog and print column for Los Angeles Times. In addition to covering Vegas, Abowitz has been writing about music and culture for Rolling Stone since 1996. Abowitz blogs at GoldPlatedDoor.com.