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Zionism and Cancel Culture in the Adult Entertainment Industry

Zionism and Cancel Culture in the Adult Entertainment Industry

Adult-film stars have turned on Michael Lucas—effectively taking sides with a Hamas regime that regards homosexuality as a capital crime.

· 5 min read

Michael Lucas, a Jewish citizen of both Israel and the United States, owns one of the most successful adult entertainment companies in the world. He’s also a Zionist who travelled to Israel after the 10/7 terrorist attacks with donations for Israeli soldiers. Afterwards, an appreciative soldier sent Lucas a photo that depicted an explosive device, on which had been written, “From Michael Lucas to Gaza.”

Some days later, as part of an internet trolling campaign against antisemites, another photo was widely circulated online—this one also showing what appeared to be explosives that would be used against Hamas. But these shells were emblazoned with the names of social-media influencers who’d been accused of antisemitism, including former UFC fighter Jake Shields.

Shields peddles the claim that “Palestinians welcomed Jewish people with open arms until they decided to ethically [sic] clean [sic] them from their own land.” He also insists that “to call [Hamas] antisemitic is ridiculous.”

Needless to say, these claims are absurd. Israel is home to some 2.1 million Arabs, most of whom are Muslim, and all of whom enjoy democratic rights. As of October 7, however, there were no Jews known to be permanently resident in Gaza, following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

On October 7, thousands of Hamas terrorists (followed by Palestinian hangers-on, looking for loot) invaded southern Israel, where they pillaged communities, torched homes, raped women, killed more than 1,100 people, and kidnapped almost 250 more.

“The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is writing my name and others who are speaking out against their evils on missiles,” Shields complained on social media. “This is a clear threat to our lives and on missile [sic]… I’m being forced to pay for with my [American] tax dollars.” (Lucas mockingly replied with the photo of his own name on a shell.)

It says something about the radicalized political climate within the entertainment industry that many gay porn stars lashed out at Lucas, who is also gay, as opposed to Shields, whose homophobia is a matter of public record.

An attempted boycott and smear campaign ensued, with some performers calling Lucas a murderer, and falsely claiming that the photos he’d posted amounted to advocacy of genocide against innocent Palestinian civilians. According to Lucas, some of the same gay porn performers whose careers he helped launch were now being pressured to denounce him, shun him professionally, and stop promoting his films.


Growing up in the former Soviet Union, Lucas became accustomed to anti-Jewish sentiment. In school, World War II was taught as a story of the heroic Soviet military putting an end to the Nazi persecution of Russians and other Soviet peoples. Children were taught nothing about the Holocaust, antisemitism, or the persecution of Jews.

Each Soviet birth certificate listed the newborn’s nationality: Latvian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Russian, and so forth—except in the case of Jews, whose documents were marked “Jewish.” In Soviet propaganda, Zionism was equated with racism.

While Lucas always knew he was Jewish, his family was never religiously observant. “Soviet Jewry didn’t even keep traditions,” he told me when we recently met in Tel Aviv. He grew up without knowing much about Jewish holidays or rituals. And coverage of international Judaism consisted of crude Soviet propaganda: “Famous Jews in Russia had to go on TV and condemn Zionism and Israel all the time.”

Since the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Lucas has made a point of getting on a plane to Israel whenever the Jewish state is at war. “These are my people,” he says. “This is my country.”

And one of the things he loves about the country is the “wonderful gay life” available to its inhabitants.

In addition to being a gay-pornography entrepreneur, Lucas is also a political writer. In 2013, he produced a documentary titled, Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land. He notes that Tel Aviv has a vibrant gay scene, while in Gaza, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.

Even senior Hamas leaders are subject to this homophobic regime of terror, as evidenced by the 2016 arrest, torture, and killing of a commander named Mahmoud Ishtiwi. Nor is Hamas unusual by Arab standards: Homosexuality is illegal in all the nations neighboring Israel except Jordan.  

How is it that a cadre of gay porn stars—who would be put to death by the terrorists who attacked Israel mere months ago—are campaigning to boycott a colleague who seeks the defeat of that same terrorist regime?

Lucas told me that while some of his critics are true antisemites, many seem to be simply ignorant of the situation in Israel and Gaza (as well as of Shields’ homophobia). And as with other such pile-ons, there are many who are simply too afraid to speak up against a viral cancel campaign, and so just go along for the ride. By Lucas’ summary, “they are either ignoramuses or just very easily intimidated.” 

Antisemitism has always possessed a blinding quality, by which the bigot who espouses it pretends to be serving some higher, purportedly moral cause—Christian or Islamic purity, national security, Aryan racial pseudoscience, the battle against “settler colonialism”—while averting his or her eyes to the denigration (or worse) being inflicted on the Jews. This same moral inversion is now at play within Lucas’ industry.

Porn producer Michael Lucas posts signed Israeli rocket, faces boycott from adult film stars
Michael Lucas’ most recent troubles began on December 17, 2023, when he boasted on X that he had signed his name to a number of IDF missiles bound for a target in Gaza.

After his story was reported in the Israeli media and the New York Post, Lucas told me, he received a flood of positive messages—even from straight Jews and other friends of Israel who wanted to show him their support, but who (for fairly obvious reasons) won’t be watching his gay porn films.

As far as his gay boycotters go, he says, “Come to Israel. See what a free and tolerant and open society this is. And then look at our neighbors. And wonder which place you would like to live in … and which army you would want to win.”

Pamela's interview with Michael.

Pamela Paresky

Pamela Paresky, PhD, is a Fellow at the Network Contagion Research Institute, an Advisor to the NYU Mindful Education Lab, and an advisor at Open Therapy Institute. She writes for PsychologyToday.com.

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