Larry Paciotti, better known in the gay universe as Chi Chi LaRue, is seeking your money to address his drug and alcohol issues.
A noted porn director with three decades of experience, owner of Catalina Video, and celebrated drag performer/circuit DJ, LaRue has carved quite a name for himself as Chi Chi. In 2007 he was named one of Out magazine’s top 50 most influential people.
Which is why we find it a bit unusual that he’s launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000 for another two months at the Hazelden Betty Ford Center in Minnesota.
We know that widespread free access to amateur porn has hurt the big producers, but does his work really pay that poorly? Whatever his finances, is it fair he’s using his fame to fundraise for rehab when others don’t have that option? (Frankly, rehab should be universal and free for everyone.)
LaRue has been at the facility for one month, the maximum time paid for by his insurance, and now that it’s run out, he’s looking to completely fund the remainder of his treatment through cash donations. As of this post, funding has reached $7,330.
According to the fundraising page:
We are happy to report that in the first 20 days, Chi Chi has fully embraced the program and is taking all of the necessary steps towards living a full sober life. Unfortunately, his family has been informed that after the first month, insurance will no longer cover any of the costs or expenses related to treatment. Without our help, Chi Chi will be forced to leave the facility in 7 days.
Even with all of the progress he has made, Chi Chi is still at the beginning of this journey and requires an additional 60 days in the program to get to the heart of the issue and increase his chances for success. We believe that his life depends on it.
Approximately $40,000 is needed to cover the expenses related to completing his treatment. Our goal is to raise enough to cover these expenses. Chi Chi has asked that any additional money raised be used to start a program/foundation that will help to fund treatment for others in need.
Even assuming he horribly mismanaged his once-lucrative career, is it possible that the only option (and according to the above description, it’s a life or death option) is to crowd fund?
We certainly don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of addiction, and we wish LaRue the absolute best towards a successful recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and needs help finding affordable options, here is a good place to start.
Notable gifts have come from SF drag queens Peaches Christ and Sister Roma (who has also battled addiction), and $250 from Bruce Vilanch, who notes, tongue in cheek, “this is cheaper than your escort rate.”
This comment also popped up on the funding page, but has since been deleted:
This is a gross abuse of fame. Larry has plenty of personal resources available to secure this funding on his own. Even if doing so might involve pledging his stake in future production opportunities. In fact, that might just be the type of personal risk that could secure his sobriety down the road. The consequences of relapse might be too frighteningly real to make it worth it in that scenario. There are tons of more affordable options if the worst case outcome played out. I’m sure everyone would love to be able to go somewhere like Hazelden at everyone elses’s expense. And the manipulation of people’s desire to help those in need is unfair in this context. I would strongly encourage anyone tempted to contribute here to instead donate to a charity such as Natural High, Shatter Proof, the Herren Foundation or any other organization whose services are available to all people impacted by addiction, including Larry/Chi Chi. This has nothing to do with empathizing with his struggle, I wish him nothing but the best and have been personally impacted by the reality of addiction in many people close to me. And my opinion was solicited as soon as my money was, so don’t ask for people’s money if you can’t handle hearing what they think about it.
Should we help finance LaRue’s continued stay in rehab or just say no, no, no?