February 28, 2000 02:00am
AINews Exclusive: An InnerView of Miss Sharon Mitchell
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Steve Nelson
Miss Sharon Mitchell, lovingly called "Mitchie" by her close friends, slows down long enough to talk over lunch. A recovered heroine addict now working on her PhD, she regularly evaluates her life, makes amends and focuses in on her direction. Running AIM (Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation) takes up all of her time.
One day during lunch in a noisy restaurant, and another day again later for
the second half - Miss Sharon Mitchell is one person that's hard to get to sit
still. Finally I catch up to her and she goes on the record:
AINews: Let's start
talking about the Sabrina Johnson Gangbang 2000. You were a presence there,
Miss Sharon Mitchell:
Yes, all those things [gangbangs] are typically very hard to handle because
we expect a large amount of people. For some odd reason we actually DO
expect 2000 people, you know? I always forget there are only a like a
hundred of us, or 200 people max. I mean I remember the Houston 500, and
we actually checked probably 250 tests or maybe 275, but you know they
counted as many members as go around the circle. It's still a lot of people,
but there was about 40 or 50 people that showed there.
I didn't have a lot
of time to confer with Sabrina. I dealt with Sabrina earlier because she
worked with Tony Montana and was still under quarantine and it was very
upsetting when I had an industry standard sort of pulled away from me
because of Sabrina Johnson's PCR-DNA by mail. It was certified by a doctor,
it was certified with identification and matched all her identification
and the records because she was in AIM Healthcare before.
But I had done an
interview and it was printed online in AVN that we were doing an excessive
amount of PCR-DNA tests by mail with a lot of girls that were on the road
sending things in. There are certain people that definitely don't want
AIM health-care to succeed, and they managed to make it extremely difficult
for me to continue my PCR-DNA by mail.
AINews: If testing
by mail meets a need, and is checked out, it seems to fulfill a good purpose.
Mitch: Yes, it fulfils
a great purpose, and with help from VCA's Russ Hampshire, Rob Spalone
and a handfull of other critics we were able to come up with a better
PRC by mail policy. That will give producers the option to use an out
of state test or not. Our policy has been re-instated with limitations.
For the details please contact AIM.
"I'm not in
the porn businesses. I'm serving the Industry from a health-care standpoint."
But this all started
from the Sabrina Johnson blood, you know? We had to give her peace of
mind and we had to clear 11 guys who worked with her that were on quarantine.
Granted, I'm out here like the Wild West. I'm out here with no laws behind
me, no standard behind me, I'm creating policies that people are going
by, so of course if I'm standing I'm going to be a target. And the fact
that I don't okay it with everyone drives them crazy! But I'm not in the
porn businesses. I'm serving the Industry from a health-care standpoint.
I'm not producing porn movies; I'm not directing porn movies. I'm doing
things to keep the talent healthy.
So that was the whole
story on the Sabrina Johnson thing. I had a doctor in Belgium draw her
blood and send it to us in a sealed container. She was in Belgium at the
time. I had to do that because there were guys here who needed to get
cleared off of quarantine and depended on her blood to get cleared. You
see what I'm saying? They were exposed by second generation, and she needed
peace of mind. In so that's the way that I handled it, which is not out
of line, which is not illegal, that was not suspect of someone sending
in someone else's blood. It just does not work that way.
So when Sabrina came
down I was already trying to work on this gangbang as much as I could,
so we dropped the price for the month of December. I had everybody pay
$75 because I expected this huge windfall of people, right? (Laughs!)
And I almost lost my shirt! We had maybe 40 extra people and I had the
laboratory stay open an extra two days in the month, which costs me, and
was just sad! I guess it was just a bad time of year or whatever, it just
didn't flow. It had a weird energy about it. The project had a weird energy
about it from the gate, you know?
AINews: Yeah, but
a lot of it was a good energy, too.
Mitch: Well, Sabrina
wasn't present yet. I got support from the Board of Health. I got them
to supply all 3000 condoms, and I got Tri-Mensa pharmaceuticals to provide
all the lube and I prepared myself for this huge onslaught of people and
it never quite happened!
AINews: One thing
I found interesting, and I've heard about it from when people travel to
Mexico or overseas, is that they take antibiotics before they go as a
precautionary measure. I understand you did that.
Mitch: That's what
I did, yes. And that's another little controversy within the industry.
Its called prophylactic medication and it's very common when you're walking
into a high-risk situation of any kind, bacterial or viral. What we did
was we test the girls for STDs so we have them on record. Then a Doctor
writes a prescription for the girls to take Zythromax and Levequin, which
are antibiotics, and they take it the day before and the day after. And
that way it prevents any diseases from coming in or going out of the body.
The fluffer's bodies and Sabrina's body being the vessels for potential
disease, obviously. Now, in this case, again, some people thought that
this was not a good idea simply because they didn't believe in preventive
AINews: Perhaps they
thought that this was a practice that you prescribe ALL THE TIME rather
than an isolated instance such as the gangbang.
"I'm not, like,
'Pinky and the Brain' back here! Okay?"
Mitch: Perhaps they
did, but I would never do this all the time because it's not good to inundate
the body with antibiotics! For God sake! I know that! Were not trying
to build a strain of disease to kill all porn actors, you know I mean?
I'm not, like, "Pinky and the Brain" back here! Okay? I'm doing
this in a situation where you're going to get inundated over and over
again with multiple partners. In a high-risk category is not uncommon
protocol. And I can guarantee that if a girl walked into any doctor's
office a San Fernando Valley and said, "I've just had sex with over
40 partners over 12 times each" he would probably prescribe the same,
or a very close protocol. Because she's been in inundated with so many
[partners]. Lets just say that's the reasoning why I did this. And then
let's also realize that one of the girls that was brought in last minute
was positive for one of the diseases. One of the girls was positive for
Chlamydia and this is why we did it.
There are two types
of fluffers. There's ones that look at this as a business, and they come
into this specifically to make money and they're gonna go along with any
guidelines there are, and there are people who will fuck anything anytime.
And they're great, they're perfect for this! But those are the ones that
we got to watch out for, and one of those types of girls was on the set
that day and did come up positive, however she was medicated so she didn't
transmit it. So it does work and this is why we do it. We protect from
within and without the Industry.
When you mix that
many civilians with that many actresses and girls that have a questionable
high-risk category in their private lives you gotta do something like
this. It's also in accordance with the Board of health, and the AIDS epidemiology
office asked for copies of this because they thought it was a good idea.
So this is not like we're flying by the seat of our pants and was passing
out medications without prescriptions or without tests for the prescriptions.
So we we're by no means out of line as a testing site. So thank you for
allowing me to clear that up.
AINews: And you had
ANOTHER 40th birthday party?
Mitch: Yes, another
40th birthday party.
AINews: How many
40th birthday parties have you had so far?
Mitch: I had three...
Publicly... But I might have had more privately.
AINews: OK, you have
to disclose that. I hope you have many more. It was fun.
Mitch: They ARE fun,
they're really great parties. I really love them!
AINews: I understand
you raised some money for AIM.
Mitch: $5500 that
night for the AIM health-care foundation, which was really needed. We
supply a tremendous amount of services. In hours alone we far exceed 40
hours a week with the counseling and prevention education services that
we provide. We have 12 step group meetings, we work with the Department
of Child Family Services for a lot of the girls that are going through
custody stuff, we do a tremendous amount of counseling that everyone really
doesn't hear about. This takes away from our man-hours. It's not just
sitting in the office drawing blood all day. Our goal at AIM health-care
now is really to become more like - and I'll use this and I'm sure people
will get upset, but for lack of a better model - more like the Gay and
Lesbian Center. We want to open this up to more open-minded education
and more prevention education services, more workshops, more counseling,
more AA, more NA, more Sex Anonymous, you know what I'm saying?
"So I think
I see AIM health-care becoming a place that we can find out more about
what makes us tick and how we can affect and help the rest of the world,
because we are high-profile in low places."
More child and family
services, you know, I see this becoming a foundation for counseling. We
can add a lot to the [knowledge of] psychosocial behavior that very little
is known about, the sex worker and how they react and interact with each
other and affect the world. Most people think it's in a bad way, and I
tend to think that we're more responsible and more educated than any group
of people on earth because this is our business. So I think I see AIM
health-care becoming a place that we can find out more about what makes
us tick and how we can affect and help the rest of the world, because
we are high-profile in low places.
AINews: That's a
good way to put it. "High profile in low places."
Mitch: I.e.: being
secret and on videotape. But look at the great opportunity that you get
to educate people when all they want is [porn] videotapes!
AINews: I know that
you have a video tape out, in fact I got it at Steve Drake's seminar,
of you and Nina [Hartley] talking to new people about getting into the
Mitch: Exactly and
we just updated that. We had to shoot a new one. Thank you to "Adam
and Eve" for picking up the cost, we are so grateful. And that will
be sort of a supplement to the original one we have. Those types of programs
as well as testing and GYN services, of course we'll always do that. I
was just saying I think we need to open our horizons a little bit. Also,
drug and alcohol treatment for the HIV-positive. We want to start writing
policies for HIV-positive people that ARE working in the industry. And
they should be working. And there's no reason why they can't work if people
know or people are informed about their HIV status. Is their viral count
not detected? And if they use condoms its probably okay for them to work
if the person has an informed consent choice to work with them. I don't
see it becoming a problem.
"It's not [about]
stepping on toes, it's not [about] arguing, and it's not about whose clinic
does more business and so on and so forth. That is not my fight."
I don't see HIV going
away and I don't see how else we're going to get around it. But I think
we have a great opportunity in the Adult Entertainment Industry to inform
each other and be way ahead when it comes to testing, monitoring, education
and prevention of spreading the HIV virus. And I see AIM health-care being
a focal point. This is my life's work and this is what I'm passionate
about. It's not [about] stepping on toes, it's not [about] arguing, and
it's not about whose clinic does more business and so on and so forth.
That is not my fight. It's just too bad, I'm sorry! So I try to stick
with principles before personalities. I welcome the people that are constantly
my critics and so on and so forth to come in and really ask to see our
policies. And yeah we can find a place to work together. The business
is to damn small! We all need to work together! There's no reason why
two clinics can't join and have some great programs. There's not one reason
in the world that it can't happen. In time it will all change I'm sure.
"I get pissed
off from time to time but the truth is if we were able to mend our rifts
right away hell, I'd put the water under the bridge and move on in a hot
Because things can't
stay the same and forever, you know what I mean? People can't stay the
same forever and I'm certainly not going to hold a grudge forever. Yeah,
I get pissed off from time to time but the truth is if we were able to
mend our rifts right away hell, I'd put the water under the bridge and
move on in a hot second. The same with Greg Zaboray, if you want to come
into the office once a week and sell insurance by all means. Sit in the
office once a week. You can if you want. Please. As long as we get on
the same page. Let's work together now.
I'm an entity and
so are you guys. Let's be one together. I mean if you have a beef, throw
it at me, don't throw it at Gene Ross or Luke Ford or Adult Industry News,
you know? I'm willing to make amends if I've offended anyone with any
actions that I've taken in the past because I'm very enthusiastic, and
sometimes I roll right over people without even looking. And I think that
may be what's happened there. I mean I think I caused bad blood by doing
that. And I'm aware that I'm like that because I'm a dynamo when I move
so fast. And if I did any kind of actions to offend these people personally,
for that I want to make amends. But I don't think that needs to stand
in the way of us working together and getting along.
AINews: It's sounds
like you tend to see nothing being done somewhere, and rather than choose
to do nothing yourself you choose to do something even though sometimes
it's the wrong thing.
Mitch: Yeah! We're
dealing with uncharted territory here. Like I said before it's like the
Wild West out here. We're dealing with no standards, no laws, we got to
work together on what helps. And we all need to come together, not criticize
and pick at each other. Let's sit in a room and hack it out. Let's come
up with a good policy that we all agree on.
AINews: You're saying
the idea is to close rifts, not to make new ones.
Mitch: Sure, I mean
we've got the power of influence. Let's work together to do this. That's
what I think.
to a movie she was in recently] In the movie "Knockout" there's
this gravel-voiced club manager
do remember that line she said?
I busted up laughing! She said, "What, do you think I test these
girls for diseases or something?" (Laughs)
Mitch: (Laughs and
AINews: Are you still
Mitch: I work every
once in a while. I don't work that much simply because it's not where
my passions lie anymore. I had a great 25 years as an actress in the Industry
and producer and director. But I'm just not as happy in front of the camera
as I am running AIM and really having a great time with the 12 step programs
and talking to the people about STD and HIV prevention and education.
I mean this is my thing.
AINews: Where can
talent go to a 12-step meeting where their anonymity will be protected?
Mitch: We have a
meeting on Thursday night between eight and nine. I've got to tell you
that we did try to keep [the meetings] open. We left it open and put it
in the book [of meetings listed by NA] and I had ex-cons just out of jail
coming in looking to check out the Pornstars. I know it may be against
certain traditions, but damn it, the meetings are staying closed for now!
AINews: Well, there
are meetings closed to men and only for women. There are also meetings
closed to people who are not addicts or alcoholics. To serve different
purposes it's a common thing, so it's not like you're doing anything really
weird by closing your meetings to non-Industry people.
AINews: Are you involved
in any anti-censorship organizations?
Mitch: No, not now.
I was very active in the Free Speech Coalition. We work closely with the
Free Speech Coalition and we hope to work more closely with them in the
future. AIM basically was born out of the Free Speech Coalition because
I started the main practice of PCR-DNA monitoring through them with a
grant from them. It wouldn't be possible to be where I am now without
them. They kind of wanted me to cease and desist what I was doing and
I'm head strong and I got a taste of what my calling is so I said no!
(Laughs!) And I left. They were concerned about liability on the Board
of Directors, which is a valuable concern. I understand that because I'm
CEO of the Board of Directors of AIM health-care now and I completely
understand how careful you have to be.
At the time I didn't
understand, and I was reasonably new. I was like a year sober and I had
all the piss and vinegar for lack of a better word, you know what I mean?
And I guess it was a good thing, because I left and I formed AIM. But
I would say if there were one anti-censorship organization [I would work
with] it would be the Free Speech Coalition. And once again they helped
me. Because they were interviewing people for their new executive director
and I called up and I said to them who ever you don't take send them over
to me I'll take them.
"And aside from
myself he's [Bill Margold] really the only other person I fully trust
to do an excellent job."
And whenever I go
out of town, like when I go to Las Vegas or if I have to go do a lecture
at a university somewhere I always call Bill Margold to sit in, in case
there's an HIV positive to do the genealogies. Which means the partner
notification, and who's exposed first and who's exposed second. And the
reason I do that is because Bill and I discovered this process together.
And aside from myself he's really the only other person I fully trust
to do an excellent job. And Bill and I have our differences, but when
it comes to services to the Industry we know we can count on each other.
And actually, I kind of like it that way! (Laughs!)
AINews: That's really
good. Do you see the trend in politics that's coming down on the Adult
Entertainment Industry succeeding? Do you think they're going to be able
to shut us down?
Mitch: No. The mainstreaming
of pornography is vast and constant. Constantly we're making our own headway
in all areas. I think one thing that we're lacking is a real good voice
to be recognized either politically or from business standpoint. The main
reason is the Adult Entertainment Industry is a cash business is because
it can't get loans. From every area from Jack Galliger and Russ Hampshire
at VCA pictures, to Rob Black at Extreme and all of us, any actress, even
us in the health-care field, we all carry that "porno" stigma.
But we represent a lot of money and lot of power.
The only damn thing
is, it's mostly a cash business because that stigma prevents us from getting
loans and credit. And I see such headstrong people that are breaking the
mold and the dinosaurs too just by still being around, and AIM breaking
new territory the medical field. Doing outreach with the county and things.
I mean we're really accepted as a legitimate source at AIM health-care.
And I see that it's going to have to be excepted no matter what because
it's creeping into the media. We have our own channels, we have own network,
you know? Pretty soon we will have our own banks and loans organizations,
maybe our own credit union for the lack of a better word. No, I'm not
organizing one at AIM. But I'd like to bring together as many entities
as we could to protect our own folks, of course.
Mitch: Yes that's
right. And I see that happening. If we were able to come together and
agree we would be such a force to be reckoned with rather than a farce
to be reckoned with!
AINews: Great tag
line! What kind of advice can you give new talent about how to stay clear
Mitch: Draw your
boundaries very strong. First learn about the health-care risks and learn
to protect yourself. And you can do that at AIM health-care or from your
own doctor, but AIM health-care stands for "Adult Industry Medical
Healthcare Foundation", so we can tell you a lot of different things
that aren't necessarily going to occur to a regular doctor. We have information
on how to protect yourself against the STDs and HIV. And draw your boundaries
around that. Around that and if you have a partner, what does your partner
expect and how are you going to continue to have respect with your partner.
AINews: Like as in
Mitch: Right, like
is your partner in or out of the Industry? If you're both in, draw strong
boundaries and maybe approve of each other's partners, or have an agreement
there. Another rule, in the first year especially, is take as much time
off as on [working]. It's still going to be there. The fucking business
isn't gonna go away overnight. Just take a Goddamn rest and lie down.
I guarantee it will be there when you have a little rest. When you look
tanned and toned you'll feel much better.
AINews: So you advocate
communication within the relationship, and time together as being most
"So choose a
role model and attach yourself to someone. If you see someone that has
what you want ask them how to get it."
and taking care of yourself. I mean I'm sitting here and I'm stressed
out to the max. I had to NOT come in yesterday because my body just wouldn't
let me because I'm overwhelmed, I'm tired, I need help, you know? And
I know how to ask for help. If you need help and you feel like something
isn't right ask someone else. There should be at least a half-dozen role
models of beautiful women here that have their shit together, that are
saving money, that look good all the time, that choose their work, that
are safe sexually, that you can have as a role model. If you can't find
one of them call me up and I'll give you one of them to talk to, or you
can talk to myself or anyone at the office. So choose a role model and
attach yourself to someone. If you see someone that has what you want
ask them how to get it.
AINews: Like a role
model, or a mentor, or a sponsor...
Mitch: Yes, exactly.
AINews: When people
look back on your past and future accomplishments they will say Miss Sharon
Mitchell... Please finish that sentence.
Mitch: They will say,
"She is one of the greatest recovery stories that I ever witnessed
in my entire life!" (Laughs!) They will say there is someone that
went from an insecure heroine addict Pornstar no way out day-to-day kinda
chick, who re-educated and reinvented herself in areas to pioneer and
help others in the Industry. That's what they'll say. (Laughs!)
AINews: (Long pause)
Is there anything else you want to talk about?
Mitch: No, it kinda
makes me cry. (Laughs!) I must have some self-esteem brewing inside here
believe it or not. (Laughs!)