|Headquarters||11133 Vanowen, Suite D, North Hollywood, California, United States |
|Key people||Rob Zicari (Founder, Owner, Director), Janet Romano (Owner, Director), Tom Byron (Owner, Director)|
|Services||Video On Demand|
Extreme Associates, formerly known as Extreme and Extreme 2.0, is a pornographic film producer, featuring a catalog of DVD titles and Internet content. It is owned by Rob Zicari ("Rob Black") and his wife Janet Romano ("Lizzy Borden"). The studio's material is controversial, with its films often featuring erotic humiliation and rough sex. Extreme has faced legal charges of obscenity in the U.S. It is associated with another adult film company, Evolution Erotica.
Extreme Associates evolved from Rob Zicari's former company, Extreme Video. It became known as Extreme Associates in 1997 when Zicari, Tom Byron and Van Damage broke away from Patrick Collins' Elegant Angel and formed their own company. Tom Byron and Van Damage have since left the company. Janet Romano started to work for Zicari in 1998, first as an actress and then as a director.
In 2003, it was indicted by the U.S. federal government on obscenity charges. The company is known for being controversial, as it has engaged in public relations wars with Vivid Video, Patrick Collins and his company Elegant Angel, Paul Fishbein and his publication Adult Video News, and Larry Flynt.
Extreme Associates has been featured on America's Most Wanted, Nightline with Ted Koppel and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and also in publications such as TIME Magazine and Details Magazine. The company is the subject of the documentaries: PBS Frontline: American Porn (2002) and The Porn King vs. The President, and co-owner Lizzy Borden recently stated that there are more documentaries about the company in the process of being filmed.
In March 2006 Extreme became the exclusive U.S. distributor for Shots Video Netherlands. The Dutch company is responsible for series like Men’s Lounge, Bi Sex, Clinic Sex and Deep Throat Anal. Shots had been the exclusive European distributor for Extreme Associates since 2004.
In April 2006 Extreme films were added to AdultRental.com's video on demand service.
In February 2007 Extreme signed a deal to be the exclusive distributor of all-black studio Baller Nation's films.
In September 2007 the company announced it would be halting DVD sales, and would be distributing content exclusively through its video on demand service, ExtremeVOD.com, which was launched in February 2006. The decision was taken due to the general downturn in porn DVD sales, and the refusal of some retailers to stock the studio's films.
Extreme posts approximately one hour's worth of free content on numerous "porn tube" websites every month, in the form of clips lasting just a few minutes. Black thinks the various 'Porn 2.0' user-generated content sites are useful for spreading brand awareness, even if it is difficult to measure how much this increases sales.
The filming of Lizzy Borden's movie Forced Entry, which included several simulated rapes, was covered in the PBS Frontline documentary American Porn which aired on February 7, 2002; the makers of the documentary were repulsed and walked off the set. Zicari was interviewed in the documentary; he defended the company's content and challenged Attorney General John Ashcroft to take action against him. Zicari stated in an interview for the program, "We've got tons of stuff they technically could arrest us for. I'm not out there saying I want to be the test case. But I will be the test case. I would welcome that. I would welcome the publicity. I would welcome everything, to make a point in, I guess, our society". These scenes possibly led to the subsequent undercover operation by federal authorities.
On April 8, 2003, the premises of Extreme Associates were raided by federal agents, and five videos were seized. The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Pornography Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department's Organized Crime and Vice Division had conducted the investigation leading to the indictment. On September 5, 2002 a U.S. postal inspector had joined the Extreme website. Postal inspectors then viewed clips on the site, and ordered three videotapes which were sent to a postal agent in Pittsburgh. On August 6, 2003 Black, Borden and the company were indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on ten counts of the production and distribution by mail and the Internet of obscene pornographic materials. Zicari and Romano faced a maximum total sentence of fifty years in prison, a fine of $2,500,000, or both. Extreme Associates, Inc. faced a maximum total sentence of a term of probation of fifty years and a fine of $5,000,000. The prosecution also sought forfeiture of the films charged in the indictment, all gross profits from the distribution of the films, and all property used to facilitate the alleged crimes, including the domain name extremeassociates.com. At the time it was the first major federal obscenity prosecution in ten years.
Zicari's company is located in North Hollywood near Los Angeles, however the indictment and trial took place in the Western District of Pennsylvania, from where undercover agents had ordered the offending materials, and video clips had been downloaded. Extreme also posted videotapes and DVDs to a distributor in the district. It has been alleged the authorities chose this area of Pennsylvania because they believed a conviction for obscenity would be easier to achieve in that socially conservative district than in California, as a jury would be more likely to agree the material offended the standards of its local community, which is part of the Miller Test used to judge obscenity in the U.S.
The trial has been seen as a test case of the acceptable limits of pornography.Mary Beth Buchanan was the federal prosecutor in the case. In an interview on 60 Minutes she said, "We have just had a proliferation of this type of material that has been getting increasingly worse and worse. And that's why it's important to enforce the law, and to show the producers that there are limits. There are limits to what they can sell and distribute throughout the country" Ms. Buchanan has also stated that "The lack of enforcement of federal obscenity laws during the 1990s has led to a proliferation of obscenity throughout the United States, such as the violent and degrading material charged in this case." Buchanan has said that Zicari's comments on the Frontline program "helped us to determine that this was not a producer who was trying to comply with the law"
Zicari remained in business during the trial; he continued to market and sell the five tapes that are at the center of the prosecution as The Federal Five, with a portion of the sales price going to his defense fund. Note that buyers of those materials do not break the law, since mere possession of obscenity (unlike production and distribution) is not illegal. The involved movies are
- Extreme Teen 24: contains a scene of a naive supposed young girl being talked into having sex by an older man. The actress involved was over 18, however dressed and acted like a young girl.
- Cocktails 2: various scenes of women drinking vomit, saliva and other bodily fluids. It was the director's cut version of the film that was cited in the case.
- Ass Clowns 3: a female journalist is being raped by a gang led by Osama bin Laden; the journalist is freed and the gang members killed. The director's cut version also contains a scene where Jesus steps off the cross and has sex with an angel.
- 1001 Ways to Eat My Jizz:
- Forced Entry: The film depicts the beating, rape and murder of women by a serial killer, who is eventually killed by a mob of vigilantes. There are three scenes which graphically portray rape and murder, and women are also spat on. Extreme's website called it their "most controversial movie" and "a stunningly disturbing look at a serial killer, satanic rituals, and the depths of human depravity." Forced Entry was directed by Lizzy Borden and released in 2002. Again it was the director's cut version of the film that was cited in the case.
The prosecution also charged the defendants with transmitting six obscene video clips over the Internet through the extremeassociates.com website. The six video clips were entitled "valeriejospit", "jewel", "PZ Summer Breeze", "dp-gangbang-7gen-X", "miacum" and "analasspirations1", and ranged in length from 37 seconds to two minutes, 54 seconds.
During a hearing in November 2004, Zicari's lawyer H. Louis Sirkin argued that the right to privacy gave individuals the constitutional right to view offending materials in private, a right which cannot be meaningfully exercised without a corresponding right of companies to distribute such materials. The prosecution countered that an individual's right to privacy is unrelated to a company's right to commercial distribution.
The defense moved to dismiss the indictments on the grounds that federal obscenity statutes violated the constitutional guarantees of privacy and liberty that were protected by the due process clause. Referencing Lawrence v. Texas and Stanley v. Georgia the defense argued there is a fundamental right to sexual privacy which includes the right to possess and view sexually explicit material in one's own home. The defense argued that this right was not affected by the fact that the material does not have any literary or artistic merit, and that since the federal obscenity laws imposed a complete ban on materials which people have the right to possess, they were unconstitutional.
On January 20, 2005, District Court Judge Gary L. Lancaster dropped the charges, agreeing with the defense that the federal anti-obscenity statutes were unconstitutional, as they violated a person's fundamental right to possess and view whatever they want in the privacy of their own home. As a fundamental right had been violated, the government had to establish that a compelling state interest was involved. The prosecution argued that the government had a legitimate interest in protecting adults from unwitting exposure to obscenity, and protecting children from exposure to obscenity. These arguments were rejected by the court, which also ruled that the federal obscenity laws were not narrow enough to meet these interests, and could not justify a complete ban on obscene material. Lancaster ruled that children and unwitting adults are protected from the content because the website requires a credit card to join, and because software is available by which parents can restrict children's access to Internet pornography. The court did agree with the government that Lawrence had not created a new broad fundamental right to engage in any private sexual conduct. Instead the court relied on Stanley, which had established there was a fundamental right to private possession of obscene material. The court did rely on Lawrence for its assertion that the government could not use public morality as a legitimate state interest which justified the infringement of consensual, adult, private sexual conduct. The court also made reference to the dissenting opinion of Justice Scalia, who said that Lawrence had questioned the validity of U.S. obscenity laws, since the government could not enforce a moral code of conduct. Judge Lancaster also cited numerous constitutional scholars who had observed that the Lawrence ruling calls federal obscenity laws into question.
The Department of Justice (at the time headed by Alberto Gonzales) announced on February 16, 2005 that it would appeal the ruling. That appeal was filed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on April 11, 2005, argued on October 19, 2005, and decided on December 8, 2005. The appeals court reversed the lower court and reinstated the suit against Zicari and Romano, ruling that the lower court had erred in setting aside the federal obscenity statutes, which had been repeatedly upheld in Supreme Court decisions.
On March 11, 2009 Extreme Associates and its owners pleaded guilty to the reinstated obscenity charges to avoid trial, effectively shutting down the company. Extreme Associates also apparently took its website down concurrent with the plea.
The studio has produced film series and one-off films including; Anal Blitzkrieg, Ass Clowns, Ass-Hole O Mio, Big Fat F.N. Tits, Black Cock Smokers, Cock Smokers, Cock Suckers, Cocktails, Creampie Milkshakes, Cum Catchers, Depravity in Deutschland, Euro Cuntz, Extreme Amateurs, Extreme Brazil, Extreme Gang Bang, Extreme Teen, Extremely Yours, Face Down Ass Up, Filth Files, Filthy Lil' Porn-A-Bees, From the Balcony, Fuck Pigs, Geisha Gash, German Whore Fare, Ghetto Bitches, Go Fuck Yerself, Goo Gallery, Great American Ass, House of Whores, In The Days of Whore, Last Breath, Let Us Prey, Lewd Archives, Lower Extremities, Luciano's Lucky Ladies, Man Smokers, Oral Hygiene, S.I.D.S., Slap Happy, Spank Those Bitches, Spare Parts, The Adventures Of Mammary Man And Jugg Woman, The Adventures Of Porno Man, Whack Attack and What Lurks in the Shadows.
Nature of content
Extreme Associates bills itself as having the hardest hardcore pornography on the Internet. The studio's content has been described as "extremely violent", "shocking", "slasher porn" and "patently offensive". In an interview with Salon.com Borden said of Extreme's content, "It's disgusting but I like to watch it because it's shocking". Borden and Zicari compare their films to slasher films and some reality television, which people watch in order to be shocked. Talking to ABC News about his films, Zicari said, "You might not like what you had just seen. It might have disturbed you, it might have repulsed you, it might have given you all sorts of emotions. But are you going to limit and be that person that has the right to say 200 million other citizens cannot watch that because you don't like it?"
Slap Happy is a rough sex series, created and directed by Brandon Iron and distributed by EA. The scenes are filmed in a gonzo style and feature male dominance. Iron is the sole male performer in all scenes. Each scene features Iron with one female performer who performs fellatio. Iron holds the female performer's head stationary with his hands, while continually slapping her in the face and verbally abusing her as she continues fellating him. In many scenes, the woman vomits as a result of being gagged by Iron's penis. Iron initially offered the series to 34 companies before Black agreed to distribute it.
Actresses who have worked for Extreme Associates include Alana Evans, Alexandra Nice, Amber Lynn, Anastasia Blue, Ashlyn Gere, Bridget the Midget, Heather Gables, Iroc, Jasmin St. Claire, Jessica Darlin, Jewel De'Nyle, Juanita Chong, Kendra Jade, Kristi Myst, Lizzy Borden (who is also a producer and director), Monique DeMoan, Nikita Denise, Stryc-9, Tiffany Mynx, and Veronica Caine (formerly Barrett Moore). Pro wrestler Nicole Bass did some non-sex bondage videos for Extreme in 2000.
Ashlyn Gere performed in several films after making a comeback from retirement. She appeared in titles including House of Whores and the Extremely Yours: Ashlyn Gere compilation.
Gia Paloma had a contract with the studio until she left in May 2006. She was formerly married to EA director Coffee Ron. Kristi Myst also used to be an EA contract girl. Paris Gables is currently the company's main contract star, and has also directed. Gables initially went under contract in January 2005. By February 2006 she had appeared in almost a dozen films, and agreed to a one-year contract extension.
Extreme's current directors are Rob Black, Lizzy Borden, Shane Bugbee, Mark Zane (also known as Alias), Ivan E. Rection, Chris Justice (also known as Chris Evans), Coffee Ron, and Thomas Zupko. Extreme's former directors include Matt Zane, Ashlyn Gere, David Luger, Derek Newblood, Gene Ross, Jane Waters, Luis Cypher (also known as Bobby Darlin), Luciano (Michael Stefano), Scott Snot, Slain Wayne (Eric Brummer), Smiley Johnson, Tiffany Mynx, Tom Byron, Brandon Iron and Van Damage.
Thomas Zupko initially directed for the company from 2000 till 2003. His debut film was In the Days of Whore. After leaving he worked for Elegant Angel, Sin City and Hustler Video, before returning to Extreme as a contract director in May 2006. The first film of his second stint was Lisa Ann Defiled.
Church of Satan member Shane Bugbee directs the satanism-themed Club Satan series. The first title, Club Satan: The Witches Sabbath was released in early 2007. Several crew-members and performers walked off the set of the film when an actor was asked to ejaculate upon and then smash a model of Jesus Christ's head. Actor Rick Masters said that Bugbee had "gone too far".
The following is a selection of major awards EA has won:
- 1998 XRCO Award - 'Best Gonzo Series' for Whack Attack 
- 1999 AVN Award - 'Best Gonzo Release' for Whack Attack 2 
- 2000 AVN Award - 'Best Anal Sex Scene - Video' for Anastasia Blue & Lexington Steele in Whack Attack 6 
- 2000 XRCO Award - 'Best Group Sex Scene' for Kristi Myst's gangbang in In The Days of Whore 
- 2001 AVN Award - 'Best Vignette Release' for Terrors From the Clit 2 
- 2001 AVN award - 'Most Outrageous Sex Scene' for Tyce Bune and Bridgette Kerkove in In The Days of Whore 
- 2001 AVN Award - 'Best Anal Sex Scene - Video' for Kristi Myst in In The Days of Whore 
- 2006 AVN award - 'Reuben Sturman Award' for Rob and Janet Zicari.
- "Federal Indictment against Extreme Associates" (Press release). US Attorney Western District of Pennsylvania. 2003-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
- "Extreme 2.0 Launches ExVOD". XBIZ. 2006-02-13. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Cossman 2007: 55
- Cossman 2007: 22
- "Extreme to Launch AffiliateProgram, Pre-Release Content on VOD". XBIZ. 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Hunter, Tod (2007-08-10). "Elegant Angel". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
- "Court Deals Blow to U.S. Anti-Porn Campaign". ABC News. 2005-01-24. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
- "Extreme to Distribute Shots Video in U.S.". XBIZ. 2006-03-08. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Michael Hayes (2006-05-02). "AdultRental.com Signs 24 New Studios". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve Javors (2006-05-01). "Extreme Associates Releases Content For PSP, iPod". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "Extreme Associates Partners With Baller Nation". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "Extreme Associates Discontinues DVD Production". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Jett Lynn (2008-04-12). "The Deal with User-Generated Content". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Cossman 2007: 56
- Cossman 2007: 57
- Cossman 2007: 58
- Cossman 2007: 59
- "Couple, company plead guilty in porn case". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "AVN AWARDS PAST WINNERS". AVN. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- "Movies". AVN. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Diesel. "ASHLYN GERE". AVN. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "Paris Gables Remains Extreme Exclusive". XBIZ. 2006-02-22. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "GIA PALOMA". AVN. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Extreme Associates press release (2000-09-11). "Extreme Associates Contract Girl Expresses Shock, Outrage, Glowing Praise Over In The Days of Whore". ainews.com. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Joanne Cachapero (2006-06-22). "Hardcore Content: 1". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Tod Hunter (2008-08-19). "Director Matt Zane Available". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve Javors (2006-07-25). "Mach 2 Entertainment Signs Director David Luger". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve C (2002-08-03). "13 QUESTIONS with SLAP HAPPY CREATOR, BRANDON IRON". foundrymusic.com. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve Javors (2008-01-31). "Hush Hush Entertainment Inks Michael Stefano". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve Javors (2006-05-05). "Extreme Associates Signs Thomas Zupko". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Steve Javors (2007-05-03). "TightFit Is Running With the Devil". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Gram Ponante (2007-03-12). "Images of heaven (that take me to Hell)". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "XRCO past winners". Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Gretchen Gallen (2006-01-08). "‘Pirates’ and ‘Devil’ Sweep AVN Awards". XBIZ. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
Cossman, Brenda (2007). Sexual citizens: the legal and cultural regulation of sex and belonging. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4996-5.
- extremeassociates.com - Extreme Associates' official web site
- Extreme Associates on Myspace
- BordensBlogs.com - the official blog of Extreme co-owner Lizzy Borden
- American Porn documentary by Frontline (first aired in 2002, updated in 2004), watchable online.
- Extreme Associates at the Internet Move Database