August 17, 2017 | The Biz

Flava Works accused of extortion in new lawsuit

Flava WorksAn TV exec has alleged that porn company Flava Works -- which specializes in content featuring black and Latin men at sites like Thug Boy and CocoDorm -- has tried to extort money from him and other subscribers. Marc Juris, the openly gay president of WE TV, said the company accused him of pirating content for file-sharing sites and wanted him to settle out of court for thousands of dollars.
 
Juris filed a federal lawsuit against Flava Works on Tuesday in Los Angeles. 
 
Defendant Flava Works operates pornographic websites for gay men. Capitalizing on the social stigma of its own product, Flava Works has apparently discovered a lucrative side business: extorting money from former subscribers by threatening to expose them as consumers of gay porn.
 
Even if the accusation is false, most users reluctantly pay rather than be outed in court documents as a gay porn user -- especially if the victim has chosen to keep his sexual orientation private.
Juris claimed that Phillip Bleicher, CEO of the Chicago-based company, would send out boilerplate letters and demand $97,000 to avoid legal action. The letter added that the amount "would increase to $525,000 if not surrendered quickly."
 
“Bleicher was not subtle about the purpose of the payment being to avoid public humiliation, explaining that ‘[I]f you act promptly you will avoid being named as a defendant in a lawsuit,’” the complaint stated.
 
Juris also claimed that, on July 27, $150,000 was demanded. If not paid, he was warned his "status, his career and his wealth" would be jeopardized.
 
“Defendant’s demand for hush money is nothing more than a cynical attempt to extort plaintiff by threatening to expose him as a consumer of gay adult content,” Doe's complaint continued.
 
Bleicher, who is not specifically named in the lawsuit, admitted that Flava Works had filed a $1.2 million federal lawsuit in Illinois against Juris for copyright infringement. A letter was sent to the plaintiff; it included a cease-and-desist request and an offer to settle out of court.
 
"[Juris] is a member of several illegal gay adult torrent file-sharing websites and he has been uploading and downloading Flava Works’ videos on these sites without Flava Works’ permission,” Bleicher said in an email. “We have ample evidence to prove that it’s him (from matching emails, IP, logs and usernames) and he continued to share our copyrighted works.”
 
We wonder who will back down first.

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