Alex Blaze

Gay porn actor Mason Wyler comes out as positive

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 25, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: HIV/AIDS, interview, Mason Wyler, The Advocate

Gay porn star Mason Wyler had his serostatus disclosed on Twitter and came out on his own site (link NSFW). I'm glad he had the courage to come out - it shows that the virus is still around, it's still infecting sexually active gay men, and that it's not shameful.

He also did an interview with The Advocate. Here's a passage with the unnamed interviewer that showed how we, as a community, still have a lot to learn when it comes to HIV:

mason-wyler.jpgYou frequently hear people say that if you're doing porn or you're sleeping with a porn star, you should assume that person is HIV-positive. What's your take on that?

It kind of bothers me. I love the industry. I love a lot of the people I've met. There are a lot of people who have drug issues and personality issues. But there are also a lot of really great people.

I didn't mean to suggest porn performers are positive and lying about it. I think it's the assumption that there are a lot of people who may be positive and don't know.

I think that's a generalization as well. You know what you're getting into, and as long as you have safe sex, the risk isn't any higher than if you were sleeping around in your private life and using condoms. Every situation is different. Everybody has a different sex life, a sex drive.

And in real life, men having sex with men whose serostatus they don't know shouldn't automatically assume everyone else is HIV-positive because...?

Now. Maybe the interviewer just wanted to give Wyler a chance to respond to that sort of attitude, but the fact that she is unaware of it doesn't really indicate that. Otherwise, it sounds kind of like everyone else is just fine looking for excuses for not wearing condoms.

"He'd tell me," "He's not high-risk for X reason," "Just once won't do anything," "He looks healthy...." It's the same sort of mentality that leads the police to start arresting people they suspect transmitted HIV to others: that a man having sex with other men can ever reasonably assume that those other men are HIV-negative.

It's great whenever someone comes out, since it gives everyone else a more realistic view of what the world is like, in many complex and subtle ways. And I'm generally of the opinion that people knowing more of the truth is always for the better.


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hey, folks...your health care provider may assume you're the nicest person ever to be born to the human race...but for safety reasons the still assume everyone is assumed to be potentially carrying something, which is what the whole gloves, gown, and mask thing is about.

Wow, this report makes his situation out to be sad but the truth is he was asking for it. Actually I already thought he was HIV+ after reading some of the disgusting things he's said over the years, including him advertising himself for barebacking. Wyler has also been known to cry wolf and draw attention to himself, and if he's been knowingly infecting people all this time, I hope those guys go after him.

I doubt he's "knowingly infecting" people, since if he wanted to do that announcing to the whole world that he's poz isn't the way to do it.

And he wasn't "asking for it."

That this story has garnered so much attention is itself interesting. What's going on here? Why do we care? Is it like watching a train wreck or gawking at a horrible car accident? An opportunity to say, "Thank God we're not him?"

At some sites, such as Queerty and the Advocate, many comments on this story were downright nasty and mean-spirited, but that's what I get for reading internet comments. I see this as nothing more than a defensive reaction to the fact that we are all human and sexual desire could possibly prompt even the best of us, at some point, to make a mistake and wind up in the same position. HIV is not a respecter of persons (to use a King James-ism) and you're no less infected if you got it through one mistake, or a "slip-up," or trusting a partner who was cheating, or condom breakage than if you lived the life Wyler did.

Wyler may have lived a life that unsurprisingly resulted in getting HIV. But I'm not sure he was "asking for it" since I don't know that he grasped what "it" (HIV) was all about. Many don't understand the implications of having the virus--and there are many reasons for this, including the nature of HIV treatment.

Thirty years' worth of AIDS education, and he might not "grasp what it was all about"???

Jesus H. Christ, why did we waste our time then generating all that crap if people today are going to react like this?

Sadly, yes. You could argue that he should have been able to grasp it, but that's different from saying he "asked" for it.

I'm not sure how widespread HIV education is, but I am often surprised at how little some gay men know about the virus. People are full of myths and I've seen both the hysterical (people freaking out because they got a BJ) and those who don't take it seriously enough. Not to mention there is sometimes contradictory information (See the infamous, "How safe is oral sex?" controversies).

Of course, living with HIV is not the same as it was 30 years ago. The threat of imminent death is all but gone, so expecting people to behave as if that specter of death were still operational is unrealistic.

Sorry, no. He works in porn. Having sex is his chosen career. To say he's just some poor little ignorant sap is like some astronaut saying, "Wow! You mean there's no air out here? Damn, who turned off the gravity!"

*Sigh*
My point was that there are actually mixed messages about what having HIV and experiencing the disease are like. Some use shrill rhetoric, others say it's not that bad (both are exaggerations). He may not have asked for what he "got", thinking (wrongly) HIV would be easier than it actually is, now that he's experiencing it. But don't let me interrupt your feelings of moral superiority.

Dont give me that crap about "moral superiority". I've lost more friends in the last thirty years than you'll ever know. This fucking virus took away the only person I'll ever love. I worked on countless goddam AIDS education programs, in half a dozen countries, and financially supported others in a couple of dozen more through both volunteer work and actual financial outlay... because, you know, I thought it was important to do so. Instead, I find that I did all this so you can sit there and say "Oh, the poor dear, he didnt know what he was getting into" -- and then you turn around and have the audacity to moralize on me?

Shove it, bud. It's folks like you that tell me I wasted three goddam decades of my life on something that apparently, in your great and wonderful sense of wisdom, is no longer a big deal. Well, thanks for putting all that in perspective for me.

As is clear from this temper tantrum, this issue is very personal and close to you. I'll leave you to your emotions.

Thank you, O high and moral one. I bow to your obvious superiority.

I largely agree, although that isn't the only explanation. Lots of people generally understand how to prevent HIV and what happens when they don't, but just don't want to. It's a tough problem to address.

On a population level, though, people aren't getting the correct information and decent messaging on this. Kids who grow up with abstinence-only education, adults who are outside of "at-risk" populations, serial monogamists, people who convince themselves somehow that they're not at risk....

All the messaging in the world isn't going to solve this problem 100% but then we haven't even tried all the messaging in the world.

You're right, it's not the only explanation. It requires multiple solutions.

It seems to me that some people were very quick to make this a narrative about how the slut got what he deserved. Do we even know how he got HIV?

And the voyeuristic, speculative games gay men played with his confession, as I said, may communicate our own anxieties and fears in negotiating a mine field of desire and infection. Much of it, to me, communicated a pernicious idea that HIV is really a "slut's disease" and that others who get it are incidental "innocent victims of AIDS" (this was an actual expression in the 80s, was it not?). Especially at Queerty (yes, I know it attracts Cro Magnons), where people say that only those saintly victims of AIDS should get compassion and not the "sluts."

I agree with you too that there is the "I know, but don't care" idea. Some people who smoke say they know exactly what it's doing, but they don't care. The long term effects pale in comparison to the short term "benefits". There's a physical addiction to nicotine, so it's not a perfect analogy, but the thought process may be similar. At any rate, we need to take a lot more time looking at cognitive/behavioral models of thought instead of simply sweeping everything under "personal responsibility" (i.e. the all-powerful, rationally choosing agent).

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 25, 2010 11:54 PM


People who get HIV/AIDS are victims of a bipartisan refusal to mount a massive 'Manhattan Project' effort for a cure, for free meds, housing and social services for those who need them and for a massive public educational program.

The last thing we should do is get cranky and blame them, even if they did make mistakes. The people we should blame are the leaders of the catholic, mormon and evangelical cults, Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama and the parties they lead.

Bill, you certainly said that well. I agree.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 26, 2010 10:14 PM

Thanks Kim.

I lost more people than I can count to HIV and not one of them went easy. It was always a race to see if AZT (still in use) would kill them before AIDS. Treatments like HAART and PEP are more effective but have brutal side effects and still sometimes fail right away or in the long term.

The best way to honor the dead and dying is to fight to end this epidemic, especially in Africa where it's wiping out any chance of progress. It's killed millions, infects about two million each year and kills about one and half million. Less than half of the twenty two million people infected in Africa have access to modern meds.

But, but, but... where are we going to get the resources to fight HIV/AIDS? America's unemployment rate is only at 17%, so obviously no one has time to deal with this.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 26, 2010 10:19 PM

Not much will change after November 2nd when the bigot panderers get replaced by bigots who see HIV as a boon and a punishment.

Same old, same old.

Kudos to Mason for being honest about it. That says something right there about his character.

I think so too. That's why I posted about this.

Hey, Alex:

Thanks for reporting on this. I always find it interesting when the mainstream gay blogosphere picks up on the goings-on of the gay adult entertainment industry. I just want to clarify a few points. Mason did not - repeat did not - come out on his own. He was outed first by a former roommate who declared on his twitter account that Mason had tested positive for Hepatitis C. After that, it was only a matter of time before that revelation would be debunked and replaced by a more truthful telling of events. It is also rumored that someone in the know forwarded Mason's seropositive status to Mark Wilson, the owner and webmaster of GayPornGossip.com, who wrote the piece announcing Mason's HIV status. This was picked up by The Sword and then it went viral. Mason made it public after the fact. I've attached a link to my story on it (absolutely NSFW) which includes all the players involved in this mini-drama.

http://menofcolor.blogs.com/moc_blog/2010/08/mason-wyler-hiv-positive-and-apparently-hotter-than-ever.html

I will say this, however. Mason has manned up to it and accepts ownership for his behavior and its consequences. This is not a value judgment, mind you, but a mere reporting of the facts.

Thanks again Alex. I'm normally critical of Bilerico's "slanted" gay porn coverage (you guys looooove your white boys) but in this case, I have to applaud you for bringing this issue to light.

Also, I think the real story here is not that a porn star with a voracious sexual appetite both on and off camera contracting HIV but how the story was made public. Wherever you are on this issue, ultimately the decision to make it public rests solely with Mason and his conscious.

In my view the person who lash out at men like Mason Wyler prefer righteousness to understanding. In their universe, right behavior is mandatory and prevention should produce eradication. The scientist and peer workers who devise these programs have no such expectations. Wyler's situation demonstrates that prevention is just one tool in the AIDS crisis. It will not and should not be expected to end the incidence of sero-conversion, but it can lower them. Far worse than Wyler is the failure of the U.S. to fund needle exchange programs until last year. That is a true failure of preventive public health measures.

Wyler has a successful career sharing his sexuality with the public. He has given thousands great pleasure and no doubt is gratified by his fans the many opportunities to travel, and meet interesting people. Above all he satisfies his sexual fantasies and the fantasies of other. The realism issue can be stated simply. Given the benefits he received, can you confidently say you would practice safe sex?

Mason Wyler has been a favorite of mine, giving me pleasure in my retirement, for this I am grateful. Now that he is ill, I want him to receive the best treatment. I consider him a friend not a tragedy. I am certain he will continue to have a happy life if he doesn't fall into the trap of harsh self-recriminations.

His reaction on receiving the news of his illness, like his life, was human. It took a few months to get it right. That is often the case for my friend who aren't in the public eye. In my ethic when someone is sick I don't offer recriminations, but I do offer succor.

I lost more people than I can count to HIV and not one of them went easy. It was always a race to see if AZT (still in use) would kill them before AIDS. Treatments like HAART and PEP are more effective but have brutal side effects and still sometimes fail right away or in the long term.

I wonder if he was infected by that druggie, Zane?

Mason is a pretty good friend of mine and has been for a few years. If any of you read what he said when he "came out" as being HIV+ you could tell he was upset, and to be honest I don't blame him.

How many of you here know, I wonder... about Mason being raped in his own home a while back when he picked up a person from the military, who went back to Mason's home with him.. and brought alone more than a few friends. They beat Mason, repeatedly raped and sodomized him, and stole his money, wallet, and belongings. When mason reported it to the police, they ignored the whole situation and did nothing about it. Oh they filed reports and such, but no follow-up was done and the military man and his friends werent punished.. arrested or brought up on charges thru the military.

I have a few good friends in the "gay adult entertainment industry" and they've all told me that when doing barebacking scenes, BOTH actors are tested for HIV and any other diseases BEFORE filming ever begins. In fact, one prominent website which REGULARLY features bareback sex has been hit with more than a few of its "stars" being diagnosed as HIV+. My one friend said that when he did work for the site, he INSISTED that condoms be used and that he wouldnt do it if they werent.

Mason is a genuine, honest, down to earth person and I am proud and honored to be able to call him my friend, and while he did film many movies and regularly engaged in unprotected sex, it's not fair to say "he asked for it" or that "he got whats coming to him". let's see how YOU would react if you were given the same news... or someone you love was given the same news. I guarantee your reaction would change in a heartbeat.

Regardless of HOW Mason contracted HIV or where, it doesnt change the fact that NOBODY.. and I mean NOBODY "deserves" to have this disease.. straight, gay, or bi. To say that they do reflects your own ignorance and possibly self-hatred as well.

Although it has been a while since I spoke to Mason, he knows that no matter WHAT happens, I will always be by his side thru everything.. because that's what FRIENDS do for eachother.

Timmy!

aDifferentperspective | April 19, 2011 2:45 PM

Hey... So I'm a young guy that is going through quite a time with this discussion about HIV... Given that HIV treatment has come a long way, and that he secondary effects are pretty low. AND given that I singularly hate being fucked with a condom (it's really not that fun or feels good). AND given that the type of sex I like, which is hardcore, aggressive, hot and let's face it... Raunchy... My risk level is high, and so are those that I sleep with... I have really internalized that risk, and while not welcoming an HIV infection, I have (as I'm sure Mason has) accepted that due to what I like, I may get the disease... And that is the reality. He reason that people get it is because you don't stop having bareback sex when you have the disease (as I'm sure Mason would agree), and while you certainly shouldn't lie about your sero status, the other party (people like myself) are taking on the risk of getting the disease inherently by engaging in tht type of sex... Its an awful situation, HIV sucks... But so does excluding a whole 1/5 of gay men from your sexual experience, especially when they are some of the best lovers you can find... Beleive you me... Just another perspective.

Through this process