Rob Zicari and his wife Janet Romano in 2006
|Born||August 5, 1974|
Rochester, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Rob Black|
|Occupation||Founder/Co-owner of Extreme Associates, photographer, radio host|
|Spouse(s)||Lizzy Borden (2001-present)|
Robert D. Zicari a.k.a. Rob Black (born August 5, 1974) is an American pornographer, radio host and former professional wrestling promoter. Together with his then wife Janet Romano (a.k.a. Lizzy Borden) he owned the porn company Extreme Associates. Zicari was prosecuted for distribution of obscenity by the United States Department of Justice in 2004. The case was dismissed but was reinstated upon appeal in 2005. Zicari entered into a plea agreement with the government in 2009 ending the case. (See United States v. Extreme Associates.)
Zicari, son of an adult bookstore owner, started out as a porn director in the mid 1990s. His former porn company Extreme Video was started in 1993/1994 and eventually developed into the present-day Extreme Associates.
Black appeared as himself in the documentary film Sex: The Annabel Chong Story (1999).
His work often involved scenes considered egregious and extreme even by other members of the pornography industry, such as adult performers acting as young girls, or a simulated rape of a disabled person in a wheelchair in Miscreants (1997).
In 1998, he founded the porn company, Extreme Associates, together with fellow porn directors Tom Byron and Van Damage and porn star Tiffany Mynx (who have since left the company). Janet Romano started to work for him in the same year, first as an actress and then as a director.
Beginning in 2000, Zicari and AVN Magazine engaged in a "propaganda war" against one another, and as a result, Black's products were not reviewed or advertised in that trade magazine for several years.
The filming of Lizzy Borden's movie Forced Entry, which included several simulated rapes, was covered in the PBS Frontline documentary American Porn (2002); the makers of the documentary were repulsed and walked off the set. The filming of the movie was also a part of documentary produced for BBC 2 hosted by Louis Theroux which follows various figures of the porn industry. Theroux also leaves the set in a similar manner to that of the PBS documentary. After, Zicari was interviewed in the documentary and challenged Attorney General John Ashcroft. These scenes possibly led to the subsequent undercover operation by federal authorities.
In April 2003, the premises of Extreme Associates were raided by federal agents. Zicari, his then wife Lizzy Borden and his company were indicted for distributing obscene pornographic materials. The case is United States v. Extreme Associates.
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.
In April 2004, Zicari engaged in a public dispute with fellow pornographer Larry Flynt, who also had to fight various obscenity trials in the past. Zicari asked the adult industry for financial support to aid in his defense; Flynt declined, saying that he only promotes consensual sex and that Zicari's actions harmed the industry as a whole.
Zicari's lawyer H. Louis Sirkin initially argued that laws against the distribution of obscenity were unconstitutional since people have a right to own obscenity, but this argument was rebuffed on appeal.
After 6 years of legal costs, Black and his wife both plead guilty to the reinstated federal obscenity charges in hopes to avoid more extensive loss and penalties if they lost at actual trial.
Zicari and his wife were both sentenced to one year and one day in prison on July 1, 2009. In late September the couple began serving their prison sentences, Zicari at La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution in Texas and his wife at Waseca Federal Correctional Institution in Minnesota. Instead of reporting to the intended minimum-security satellite facility, Zicari mistakenly reported to the prison's primary facility, where officials placed him in solitary confinement for nearly a month because it "was the only space they had available." In March 2013, Zicari revealed on his radio show, The Rob Black Show, that he was actually placed in solitary because he was mistakenly designated as a sex offender because of the obscenity charges. In a subsequent interview with filmmaker Louis Theroux, Zicari claimed that he had repeatedly been sexually assaulted during his imprisonment although it is unclear whether the allegation was in jest or not.
Xtreme Pro Wrestling
In 1999, Zicari and Tom Byron founded the Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW) independent professional wrestling promotion. He appeared on shows as the owner as well as a manager under the name of Rob Black. His heel (bad guy) stable was called the "Black Army" and featured wrestlers such as John Kronus, Terry Funk, Abdullah the Butcher, and Juventud Guerrera. XPW folded in 2003 because of issues related to the obscenity prosecution, and in 2004 Zicari sold the company's footage to Xtreme Entertainment Group. In 2012, Zicari regained control and ownership of XPW. XPW was to make a comeback in late 2013, but the project never materialized due to insufficient backing.
The Rob Black Show
In March 2013, Zicari launched The Rob Black Show on Blog Talk Radio. It quickly ruffled the feathers of the porn establishment. The Daily Beast called him "Porn's Dirty Whistleblower"  for revealing unsafe practices on set, business arrangements that exploit performers and common sidelines such as porn talent agents working their charges on escort sites.
- "'Extreme' Porn Couple Guilty In Pittsburgh Obscenity Case | WTAE Home - WTAE Home". Thepittsburghchannel.com. 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- Paula Reed Ward (2009-07-02). "Porn producer, wife get 1-year jail terms". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- Greg Beato (2009-10-27). "In Defense of Extreme Pornography". Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "AVN - Rob Black to Host Blog Talk Radio Show". Business.avn.com. 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- "Rob Black, Porn's Dirty Whistlebower, Spills Trade Secrets". The Daily Beast. 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
- Rob Black on IMDb
- Rob Black at the Adult Film Database
- Zicari's statement on the raid and the continued availability of the tapes (Wayback Machine archive)
- Dispute between Zicari and Flynt
- Report on November 2004 hearing
- Dismissal of U.S. v. Extreme Associates
- Ruling of the Court of Appeals, reinstating the case against Zicari
- Links to several blog comments regarding the affair
- Interview of Rob Zicari by avninsider.com: part 1, part 2
- American Porn documentary by Frontline (first aired in 2002, updated in 2004), watchable online.