One of the most relevant, controversial, outspoken and hot gay men of today, Michael Lucas, is celebrating the debut of his movie “Campaign of Hate,” available on Netflix since April 1. The movie brings awareness to the despicable fashion in which homosexuality is viewed and dealt with in Russia.
Lucas is American, Israeli and Russian and was born in Moscow. He is known as an iconic gay porn star and creator of Lucas Entertainment, his own production company, which launches some of the biggest, extravagantly budgeted porn films ever made. He is considered an A-list director and performer as well as a top-notch columnist. Lucas is also known as an outspoken activist, attracting attention for his views on politics and safe sex. As a journalist he has appeared in “The Advociate,” “Huffington Post,” “Pink News” and was just recently published in “Out” magazine.
I met Lucas at The Hookies and found him charming, intense and sexy, and decided that I just had to have a conversation with him. One might think it difficult to take a porn star serious; however, Lucas is full of seriousness.
Your new movie “Campaign of Hate” is being streamed on Netflix on April 1. Do you believe that this movie will help the treatment of gays in Russia?
This movie will not help them. First of all, it will never be shown in Russia. They will not see it. I’ll tell you who it can actually benefit. First of all, this movie is used by gay Russians who are waiting for asylum. This movie helps their case. For example, a lot of guys are using this movie because they are actually in it, and some people use this movie just in general to make their case that they have been discriminated. Other than that, it will not change anything in Russia. Not only because it’s not going to be shown, but it’s actually good that it’s not going to be shown, but most importantly nothing can help in general. What can happen is that things can backfire. For example, my audiences, when I go to do Q&As at universities all the time, people ask, “What can we do to help?” And my answer is nothing, there is nothing you can do to help. That doesn’t sit well with Americans, because that’s their American thing to “help.” We should understand that sometimes it’s impossible to change things, and that’s OK. I’ll explain why. Whenever there were demonstrations against Russia, in front of Russian consulates and protests on Russian TV, films, [it is] drag queens and people in leather that are protesting, so people in Russia cannot really relate to this at all. They love to put pictures of Putin, the Russian leader, being humiliated with lipstick on his mouth, so all they see is what they already think, that these people are trying to push their gay agenda, homosexual agenda, on Russian people on the Russian society. It’s like they are trying to undermine the Christian values, undermine the family values in Russia. Russia’s government is looking for a victim, for a scapegoat. Before it was Jews. Now Jews, most of them are gone, so Jews cannot be blamed. If you blame the remaining Jews, the borders are open, and they will leave, and everyone will see that Jews were the wrong target, because they still live in shit. But gays, they cannot all leave; they are stuck. They portray gays as foreign agents, supported by the West to destroy the morality of the society and corrupt children, young souls.
So people ask: Then what’s the point of the movie if we can’t do anything about Russia? We couldn’t do anything about the French Revolution, but we still should know about it. We cannot help Marie Antoinette, we cannot help French aristocracy, we cannot help the Russian aristocracy that was killed during the Russian Revolution, we also cannot help Jews that died in the Holocaust, but we need to know about it, right? What I see here is that we can actually appreciate what we have in Western democracy. Our countries in the West are governed by laws, and we have freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and all these institutions are protected. That’s what we should appreciate. When we look at the Third World, we should see that the Third World is corrupt. There are no laws. That’s why they don’t have an ability to fight for their rights.
This is very important. This is what people can take from this movie. It’s good to be aware of what’s happening in the world. It’s very irritating when you tell people you’re from Russia and they say ,“Oh, I would love to go there.” That’s not the reaction that I want to hear. It’s a disgusting country, so I think that this movie will actually acknowledge to people, “No, don’t go to Russia. Don’t give them your money.” It’s a nasty country. It violates human rights. I don’t want Americans and Europeans to spend their money on tourism in Russia.
I hear people saying, “Well, you are trying to idealize the West, but the same thing was happening here in the ‘60s. I say absolutely not. America was always moving forward and evolving for the better. Our fight and struggle will always gain its rights. Russia at the same time is going backwards. That is where the problem is. Russia made one step forward and took five steps back.
So that’s it. My movie cannot help Russians except those who were able to get here, and my movie helped them to get legalized, to get asylum. I come from the Third World, and there is nothing to idealize in the Third World. The Third World is bad. The Third World is a terrible thing. The Third World is corrupt. It means poverty. People say, “You think it’s perfect here?” I don’t think it’s perfect but fantastic here, and no person in his right mind can compare [the] Third World and Russia to America and Europe. People think, well, this is New York, New York. America is not New York. You have South Carolina. I don’t care; Moscow is not Russia. Moscow can be compared to New York. If you compare Moscow to New York, Moscow will lose big time. You compare South Carolina to Dnepropetrovsk, it will lose big time, because that is a complete nightmare. Moscow is a nightmare. The smaller cities are of course much worse.
In Russia people are being beat up in the daylight, and nobody cares. People are just passing by. Nobody cares. You can see it in my movie.
I’m looking forward to seeing your movie, but now we’re going to leave Russia and go to Israel. I feel like your heart is in Israel. Do you plan on attending 40 Years of Pride, the LGBT conference going to be held on June 9 in Tel Aviv?
Anyone boycotted it yet?
Not that I know of.
Someone will. I’m not planning to go. I don’t like going to Israel when a big event happens there. I just like when it’s quiet and there are only locals. I like to go off season.
You are one of the most relevant people out there now. Everything that you do, from porn to movies, to directing, producing, journalism, is important to today. Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
I don’t have anything related to documentaries now. It’s a lot of work and very expensive to make. It costs $100,000 to make a film. My Israeli movie cost $100,000, and there are about $110,000. Very, very, very expensive. I thought it was very urgent to make this Russian documentary. It took me seven months, because it was so urgent, and it’s actually very relevant to me. I have a distributor, Breaking Glass. They have it for two years, and they have the Israeli film for probably over a year I think, and I haven’t seen a dime, not a dime. So basically there is a $0 return on films. So when you talk about charity, these were charitable projects. It was my gift to Israel, and the Russian documentary was my gift to the gay community. The first one was made to help Israel with tourism, and I was giving a very honest view of what a good vacation spot Israel is, and the Russian film is just a very important film. It’s so relevant.
One last question. If we could look into your heart at this very moment, what would we find?
That’s a very heavy question. I don’t know. I have a lot of compassion, heart, mind. I don’t know how to separate that. It’s difficult. In general I’m a very caring person. I care about my family; I do a lot for them. You know, I brought them all here. Usually children go with their parents. … I brought my grandparents, my brother and my parents. I help a lot of people. I brought several Russian guys here, rented them an apartment, and I do big charities. I raise money for AIDS Walk. I give money to different organizations. I give to pro-Israeli charities. When it comes to my mind, it’s always very connected.
Where I come from I know what anti-Semitism is very well, and a lot of Americans just have no clue what it is. That’s why I am much more passionate about Israel than a lot of American Jews, because they just can’t understand why it is so important for Jews to be able to defend themselves. In Europe today, French Jews are leaving France. I don’t know how aware you are of what’s happening today.
I am not very political.
Oh, well, I am political. Today the anti-Semitism is growing very fast. You think it has nothing to do with you, but actually it does. Jews for centuries and centuries were persecuted more than any other group and exterminated in every century in different places, in different countries, and it’s arrogant to think that it will never happen here. Since the Holocaust no one ever thought that it would happen again in Europe. There is police, if you notice, in front of every American synagogue. Why do you think that is happening? It was not the case 10 years ago. Today you see that, so that’s kind of a signal, and also in Europe it’s horrible. Children of religious families cannot go to school without their parents. Constantly there are shootings in Jewish institutions. Each year, thousands of French Jews are leaving France; last year, seven times more. This year probably 20,000 Jews will leave France. French Jews, European Jews, are scared again because of all the Muslim immigration. That is so dangerous. They are all leaving to Israel. Israel is booming right now. Europeans are saying, “Why in this century do Jews need Israel?” They are all saying it. Because Europeans cannot defend Jews, even when they want to; they fail to defend them. That’s how Israel is in my heart, because I am an independently thinking Jewish man who knows the history. Because it’s in my mind, and I have an understating, that’s why it is in my heart.