The Second Lex

“The biggest mistake people make is thinking of me as Lexington Steele the performer instead of Lexington Steele the entrepreneur.”

I’m sitting with Lexington Steele in his office which, as porn offices go, is the nicest one I’ve visited. It has room for a man to think. Do other adult industry moguls have such dope, fly fish in their aquarizzy? Hells no. For some reason, Titanic is playing on a monster television. The interview goes from Leo and Kate’s meeting to the credits.

“When I was growing up,” he said, “I wanted to be a businessman. I wanted to run a company. It so happens that a talent I have in another area has allowed me to be that businessman. But people forget that I was a broker as well. That’s a business. That’s a cutthroat business. When you’re at (brokerage) Oppenheimer the philosophy is ‘It’s OK if you don’t work, as long as you don’t mind not eating’.”

Steele started appearing in porn scenes in New York in 1997, he said. He moved to Los Angeles in 1998, and began directing for Anabolic in 2001. He began distributing his own product under the Mercenary label in January, 2004 after shipping six titles via Red LightDistrict in 2003.

Now Mercenary has over 70 titles and Steele knows exactly how much he’s making from each one.

“Why are the fish doing that?” he asked. It’s later in the afternoon of July 3. No one is around. He makes a call.

“Should the fish be doing that?” he asks the person on the other end of the line. “OK.”

I use this opportunity as a segue. I know nothing about fish.

What’s the deal with you being the father of all those children, allegedly?

“Man, I haven’t seen Calli Cox in years and I never touched Teagan. That’s not what I do.”

“Why do you suppose rumors like that get started?”

“You notice that it’s not Calli or Teagan saying I’m the father?”

“I’m asking the questions here!!!”

“Calli sure did interracial, but I don’t think Teagan has since she went to Digital Playground,” Steele thought out loud. “And Teagan was on and off with (director) Jules Jordan, who’s a friend of mine. I wouldn’t do that to him.”

As Steele is porn’s most prominent black performer, it seems reasonable, we thought, that the rumors might have more to do with a hare-brained attempt to cast aspersions on the white girls than sully his name with irresponsible paternity.

Jason Sechrest says you deliberately hurt his movie.”

“Again, the entrepreneur vs. performer thing. I don’t usually respond to accusations like this. I don’t mind if he has problems with me personally, but if he is trying to attack my business, that’s a different matter.”

Steele contracted Sechrest to direct Mercenary gay subsidiary Black Viking’s My First Interracial. Steele and Sechrest agree on many points of the story: Steele does not use monitors on his sets because his other directors direct while they themselves hold the camera. Sechrest was, therefore, not given a monitor.

Sechrest contends that for him to be made to shadow his camera operator, giving directions without a monitor, was ridiculous. Steele says he offered director Tina Tyler, Sechrest’s friend and the person who eased Sechrest into Mercenary, to photograph further movies. Further, he says that Sechrest was unresponsive to requests to sit in on the editing.

Steele said that the camera work on My First Interracial was sub-par but that he hoped to compensate for that with editing. He said that Sechrest wanted MFI‘s camera operator to do the editing and that that wouldn’t have been appropriate.

“I gave Jason an opportunity to learn on the job – he wasn’t a director – with a budget that was higher than most of my movies,” Steele said, noting that “rates for gay men are the same as rates for straight women” (in porn, anyway).

If Sechrest wasn’t a director, why was he given the reins of such a large budget?

“Each director I employ is expected to act autonomously,” Steele said. “I knew Jason had a name in the gay community, and he had a clear vision. The vision is (the director’s) own, but the parameters are set by me.

“There’s no way the dude could call himself a director and not sit in on his own editing.”

Sechrest claims that things that should have been left for the behind the scenes footage were inserted purposely into the movie, such as potentially-embarrassing off-camera directions to actors, to hurt Sechrest.

It is the suggestion that Steele would sabotage the movie that concerns him. He said he is filing suit against Sechrest for slander.

“I will defend my company vigorously. Jason took no responsibility. Why are you going to blast a producer because you shot a shitty movie? It is unfathomable that the guy running his own company would choose to torpedo his product.”

By both accounts, despite misgivings about the way My First Interracial was shot, Steele offered Sechrest a second movie, albeit with the restriction that he would have to work with a Mercenary-provided videographer and no monitor. Sechrest balked and the relationship was over.

The movie was released in late April. At the end of May Sechrest read a poor review of it and watched the film all the way through for the first time. “He had been giving me a scene a week,” Steele said, “and he cashed the checks. I assumed he’d watched the footage.”

Sechrest’s contention all along was that the movie was edited poorly.

It seems that Steele’s company’s style of gonzo shooting, where the directors double as the camera crew, was not what Sechrest expected or had been exposed to. I have been to many gonzo sets where no monitor was used, but it was always the director of the movie who was doing the shooting.

As a novice director, Sechrest would have been in an awkward situation if he didn’t know how to operate a camera and had to whisper directions into a camera person’s ear.

Regarding the accusation of sabotage, Steele reiterated the Two Lexingtons idea.

“The only time you see Lexington Steele the performer – the meat puppet – is on set when you’re in a scene with him. Sitting behind this desk? I am running a company that doesn’t get trifled with.”

I noticed that Steele talked about two versions of himself, and asked if the performer version was going away.

“No, but I had an epiphany about three months ago,” he said.

“I had been thinking it was time to get out of performing. Don’t get me wrong, I love having sex with beautiful young women, but I like being behind this desk more (and I can always have sex with beautiful young women). So I was driving up La Cienega and I passed these young guys doing construction at a Burger King. It was about 100 degrees out and they were doing construction on La Cienega Boulevard. I thought, ‘these guys should be out chasing pussy, and yet…’ So I decided right there to quit bitching about my job.”

The fact remains that, even though he is the head of his company, Steele is now once again subject to the schedule of his directors as a performer.

“I’m sitting at my desk, wheeling and dealing. Tina (Tyler) says, ‘Lex, you have to do a scene.’ I’m like, ‘Damn.'”

Steele is negotiating with a cable provider for his own talk show. Different from Playboy’s “Lex in the City” (which he co-hosted with ex-fiancee Vanessa Blue), this would be a talk show where Lex the porn star/raconteur talks with famous people who happen to be porn fans.

“I’d ask (60 Minutes‘) Ed Bradley, ‘What did they do the day you showed up with that damn earring?’

“I’d like to ask Halle Berry what was going through (ex-husband) Eric Benet’s mind that he didn’t want to hit that.

“But I might need to be more respectful.”

But I’m still stuck on: Ed Bradley is a porn fan?

Titanic is over. I’ve got to go. Lex holds the door. Outside it’s about 100 degrees.

I can’t imagine working construction in this heat, either.

Previously: Vanessa Blue splits with Lex, Mercenary; Report: race an issue in America; At home with Lexington Steele

About Gram the Man 4399 Articles
Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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