What the Freak?
PHOENIX, ARIZONA — A 52-year-old man in Phoenix has been arrested for running a porn studio as a brothel.
William J. Hartwell, owner of New Media Studios, thought he was skirting the law by having clients pay for equipment rental to create their own sex scenes while providing “free” models.
Clients registered online and would pay a receptionist for equipment and studio fees.
Once inside the studio, clients would be asked to show their genitals to prove that they were not undercover cops. Then the client and a model would photograph or film a short video of whatever fantasy or sexual act the customer desired. The studio reportedly generated $40,000 a month in profits.
A few days after the shoot, customers could return to pick up a USB drive with the photos or videos. About half of the customers actually returned to pick up the video or images, NBC-affiliate KPNX reported.
Hartwell says he was not running prostitution ring. He says he he ran a legitimate business, one that was protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Several female employees who worked at the studio have already pleaded guilty and are expected to testify at Hartwell’s trial.
Hartwell faces charges of operating a house of prostitution, sex trafficking, and sexual assault. His trial begins next week.