Last week gay adult performer Jace Zhu stated that he had stopped working for the studio Noir Male (tagline: “Showcases Black Men As They Deserve To Be Seen) because he felt he was “being used to sell a product that doesn’t cater to our community.” A popular gay adult gossip blog followed up on Zhu’s comment by alleging that the studio has a 37-to-30 black-to-white performer ratio, a count that the studio says is inaccurate.
We reached out to Noir Male for comment and they’ve refuted several of the Zhu’s and the gossip blog’s assertions.
In an official statement give to Queerty, Noir Male wrote:
“We were slightly shocked by Jacen’s comments, but respect his personal and professional choices, and wish him the best. We have loved working with him and even tried to get him involved in the creative process when he voiced concerns in the past as to representation; however there was no continued follow through on his end. We always ask performers to come to us with any ideas or concerns; we want this to be a studio that performers are proud of and represent MOC (men of color) in a positive light.”
Noir Male also asserted that longtime adult video director Chi Chi LaRue does all casting for both Noir Male and its brother studio Icon Male, even though the site is reportedly owned by “a straight white man named Jon Blitt” as the gay adult gossip blog had claimed.
Furthermore, Noir Male took issue with the claim that only 37 of its 67 performers are black. Noir Male wrote “a large part of the initial story that went out is completely false and we ask that you fact check… especially with regards to ratio of guys represented on our site.”
The studio continued:
“A simple count would show 78 performances are by men of color versus around 50 with white males, not to mention other ethnicities represented. We tend to continue to use guys that are popular — like Pheonix Fellington, Max Konnor and Jacen Zhu among others — in multiple scenes because this is what the paying customers are requesting, and we listen to our paying customers.”
Here’s where things get a little confusing. Noir Male has 72 performers listed in its roster, but counting their black performers isn’t always easy since some are Afro-Latino with lighter skin. We counted 27 dark-skinned performers at Noir Male, but you can’t always tell a person’s race just by looking. Performers like Travis Yukarin, XL, Tyson Rush, Nico Santino and Mateo Fernandez are of an indeterminate race, and it’s possible that other performers are also Latino or Asian-identified, unbeknownst to us.
Lastly, Noir Male refuted the idea that Zhu “quit” their studio because he was “an independent performer who we book for scenes. He has never been under contract or employed by Noir Male.”
Noir Male tells Queerty:
“We are disappointed that he took to Twitter to state he no longer wanted to film with us, but we respect his decision. If any other performers have concerns we hope they would seek us out and communicate directly to us so we can work to find positive solutions. In fact, we are always looking for new writers and creative consultants to ensure our site is inclusive and groundbreaking.”
Indeed, Zhu has performed at other studios like CockyBoys and Lucas Entertainment. It’s possible that he simply used the word “quit” to mean “stopped working with.” We have reached out to him and Zachary Sire, the editor of the aforementioned gay adult video industry blog, to better understand their initial statements and to get their responses to Noir Male’s statement.
“The straight porn conglomerate that owns Noir Male/Icon Male is Mile High Media, and the straight white Canadian man who owns all of that is named Jon Blitt. This straight white man is not interested in presenting men of color to fans and giving men of color “opportunities” (good grief), he is only interested in making money by capitalizing on the fetishization of black men and interracial porn… Their offensive claim that they (two white men, one of whom is straight) are the ones who can, according to Noir Male’s tagline, finally ‘showcase black men as they deserve to be seen’ is presumptuous lunacy.