When the phrase "Bel Ami" is uttered, very few gay men think first of Guy de Maupassant's second novel.
Speaking of which, the porn industry has undergone a slew of changes in recent years.
Beaten down by easy access to free porn online, crowded out by amateur exhibitionists and in some cases ill-equipped to adapt to the market's declining interest in DVDs as opposed to downloads, video companies have come and gone and publishers have mostly just gone.
Then there is the hot-button issue of bareback porn, which for many years during the onset of the AIDS crisis was absolutely taboo—Can actors be assured of the status of their co-stars?
Does marketing it encourage unsafe sex among viewers? —but which has quickly become a major aspect of the industry in spite of some companies' seemingly principled refusals to succumb to it.
With the news that the venerable COLT has filed for bankruptcy, I wondered how other companies were faring and wanted to bring up some of the issues that surround the porn industry.
What better company to focus on than one of the largest still standing?What follows is my interview with George Duroy, the founder and president of Bel Ami.He, more than anyone, has an interest in figuring out if gay men will automatically think of his product when the phrase "Bel Ami" is uttered in the future. T: Do you intentionally cater to an American or any other market?Since this was an e-mail interview, the follow-up questions to some of his most provocative answers will have to come in the form of your comments at the end. George Duroy: I first used the Bel Ami name in May 1991, but I started the company only in the fall of 1993 after shooting my first film, . GD: Fifty percent of our customers are American and another twenty percent use English as their first language.Bel Ami was originally created as an American company and moved to Central Europe only after George W.Bush declared eradicating pornography to be one of his priorities.