Porn’s most acclaimed working director and the recipient of four AVN Awards for Director of the Year, Axel Braun, has followed his October 2013 decision to restrict his hired performers to those over the age of 21 with another major change to his blossoming Axel Braun Productions empire, namely the use of condoms and stricter STD testing.
Braun outlined his reasons for taking Wicked Pictures’ condom-only policy to his own studio to AVN: “The recent series of HIV outbreaks is a clear indication that something needs to be done in order to protect our talent pool and prevent this from happening again,” he said. Placing the safety of performers and his own integrity above his bottom line, Braun says the current system of STD/HIV testing is inadequate and needs adjustments such as his, saying “I have finally come to believe that our system is broken, and I’m simply trying to do what I can to fix it on my end.”
Another measure Braun is implementing to keep his sets as safe as possible focuses on the STD/HIV tests themselves. Current industry standards limit performers from working when they’re unable to produce a clean bill of sexual health less than 14 days old. Braun’s self-set standards will only accept tests no older than seven days, and if a performer cannot produce one Braun says he’ll pay for it himself. “It wouldn’t be fair for me to advocate performer safety and then ignore the most obviously effective STD/HIV barrier, or place the burden of additional costs on the very people I’m trying to protect.”
Axel Braun, you just may be someone’s hero today.
Already the recipient of 2013’s AVN Award for Female Performer of the Year and a recent addition to Elegant Angel’s stable of directorial talent, Asa Akira seems to be doing pretty well for herself this year. Now, hot on the heels of the announcement of her exclusive performance contract with Wicked Pictures, a company she has long admired and respected, Asa Akira releases her first self-titled Wicked picture called (not at all surprisingly) Asa Is Wicked.
Directed by veteran Brad Armstrong, the all-sex Asa Is Wicked release incorporates its star’s ideas and concepts. In a way, it had to. Originally planning for exclusive Asa’s debut to be a double-header co-starring Jessica Drake, Wicked overcame scheduling conflicts and resolved to cement Asa’s position amongst its already impressive roster of contract girls by granting her the freedom to perform as wildly here as she has elsewhere. Asa Is Wicked, then, sees the diminutive gangbang-lover oil-up Johnny Castle for a more feverish massage scene than most would be capable of, a double-penetration scene with Eric Masterson and Tommy Gunn, and, surprisingly enough, condoms in use in all scenes.
Of the condom use, director Armstrong says those in the industry remaining staunchly against their use should be reconsidering their attitudes. “For the guys, there’s a performance issue there, but for the girls, I can’t quite figure out why they would be opposed to it, but some are.” Clearly not Asa, though, who knowingly signed with a condom-mandating company and who says of her future, “I eventually want to have a family. I’ve been around a while. I think about these things now. I mean, I’m 28; in porn years, that’s like 80.”
Wicked Pictures and its new and future endeavors thankfully ensure we’ll be eyeing the talented Ms. Akira for as long as she’s having incredibly adventurous and enthusiastic sex on camera. And, really, that’s the best we can hope for, isn’t it?
Last week’s Sex Awards left dozens of performers, directors, and producers very, very happy. The inaugural event celebrated adult entertainment in perhaps a more meaningful way than other award ceremonies, crowning men and women in the usual categories as dictated by the voting fans. No one, however, was as thrilled-to-bits as Porn Star of the Year and subject of Adult Movie of the Year, Asa Akira.
Having achieved monumental success in 2013, a year that started with her hosting the AVN Awards and winning its most coveted prize of Female Performer of the Year, the diminutive Japanese-American superstar hoped to accomplish the few things left on her long ago written list of goals. Taking the stage to accept her third Sex Award of the night, Akira unveiled her latest accomplishment, an exclusive performance deal that will see her shoot for Wicked Pictures and only Wicked Pictures. (Thankfully, this won’t disrupt her directing gigs for Elegant Angel.)
Sharing her thoughts with AVN, Akira recalled how the deal initially entered her mind years ago. “I found this list that I had made in 2011. And I had totally forgotten about it, but I found it recently and it had a lot of stupid things on it like get rich, be successful… But it had win AVN Performer of the Year, and the last thing on the list was get a Wicked contract. So a lot of the things came true. In general, I’ve wanted to be a Wicked Girl since I got into the industry. It was the first thing I told my first agent at Gold Star Modeling, so this is really, really exciting for me.”
And for us too, Ms. Akira. For us too.