Suit: Martha’s Vineyard rental used for porn

Owner alleges every room of home was used for filming.

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7 Skye Lane in Aquinnah is allegedly the site for more than 30 gay porn films. – Gabrielle Mannino

An Aquinnah woman has filed a federal lawsuit claiming every room inside the home she owns at 7 Skye Lane was used to film more than 30 “gay porn” films over a 7-month period.

The suit, filed Monday in federal court by Leah Bassett, alleges that her house was rented by Joshua Spafford and then used by Mile High Distribution to produce the sexually explicit pornography. The home was rented from Oct. 4, 2014 to May 15, 2015. At one point Monica Jensen, who is also named in the suit and goes by the porn name Nica Noelle, sublet the house from Spafford without the homeowner’s blessing, according to court documents.

Bassett, a 43-year-old professional artist, alleges breach of contract, trespass and copyright infringement, including the depiction of her own artwork in the porn films, and violation of the RICO Act, among other claims in the 24-page complaint. There is no set amount for the lawsuit, but Bassett seeks compensation for the use of her home for commercial use, as well as punitive damages for what was done to her home and her psyche. Bassett alleges in the complaint that she’s had to seek therapy as the result of what went on inside her home.

“…While she has had the financial need for the rental income that she could have been earning during her periodic absences, she has been emotionally unable to rent out her personal residence long-term to strangers again, no matter how well-vetted seemingly,” the complaint states.

Based on fees paid for shooting locations, Bassett’s complaint alleges that she is owed at least $305,000.

In a statement to The Times, attorney John Taylor, who represents Bassett, expressed the difficulty Bassett had pursuing a lawsuit.

“My client is a very private individual who was/is very unhappy about the perceived need to ‘go public’ with her legal grievances against these unscrupulous purveyors of porn,” Taylor wrote. “She is a strong supporter of artistic expression and the associated First Amendment protections afforded to artists and all other citizens/residents of the U.S.”

Taylor wrote that Mile High has a history of “predatory practices” in its past. “The added fact that Mile High chose to relocate their porn production activities from California to a state that was ground zero for the sexual misconduct charges brought against priests in the Catholic church in past decades, as well as the location for the sensationalist and gruesome pederast-based murder of Jeffrey Curley in 1997 simply adds to the emotionally disturbing and objectionable nature of some of the predatory-themed ‘fantasy’ porn films that were produced in secrecy on Ms. Bassett’s and property owner’s premises,” he wrote. He called the decision to use some of Bassett’s artwork in the films “especially galling.”

The complaint goes into graphic detail about what went on inside the Aquinnah home.

It even details an attempt by a disgruntled employee to “blow the whistle” on the use of the home for porn by contacting an unnamed reporter/editor at The Times. The Times did investigate, but never published a story about the allegations.

Among the claims made in the lawsuit is that the use of the home for commercial purposes violates Aquinnah zoning bylaws.

Aquinnah police were called to investigate an “unlawful break” into Bassett’s padlocked bedroom closet, according to court documents. Bassett had sent her parents to investigate and they reported they were “shocked by the deplorable state of condition” the house was in.

Bassett alleges that when she returned to the Vineyard in May of 2015, she “discovered that physical damages to her personal residence were considerably more extensive than her parents had realized and/or reported,” according to court documents.

It was Bassett who “made the highly disturbing discovery that her personal residence had been used during the leasehold for commercial production of graphic pornography,” according to court documents. Through “profound anger, embarrassment, and general sense of personal violation,” she discovered the extent of how her home was used for the pornography.

Some of the actors in the films “boasted and advertised about their porn shoots on chic and tony Martha’s Vineyard,” the complaint states. Her linens, bedspreads and even some decorative pillows were used and soiled in the scenes, documents indicate.

The three-bedroom, single-family home is valued at $687,000, according to Aquinnah assessors’ records.

Along with Jensen, Spafford and Mile High Media, Jon Blitt, April Carter, TLA Entertainment Group, TLA Gay, Gamma Entertainment, and Chargepay B.V. are all named in the suit as defendants.

 

24 COMMENTS

  1. I would be upset if my house was used as a porn site! It doesn’t matter if it’s for gay, straight or whatever….think of the germs they left behind!! I would hire a professional cleaner to BLEACH the entire house and burn furniture!
    Do they owe her money??

    • So, let me get this straight– If you rented your house out, and you found out that the people you rented to had sex, you would bleach the entire house and burn furniture ? Really ?
      Perhaps not if it wasn’t filmed ? Does filming a sexual encounter leave more germs behind ? I AM thinking about that actually, and I don’t really see how more germs are left behind if it is filmed– could you please explain why you would burn your furniture ?

  2. I’m not sure why it matters that it’s “gay porn”? Seems like an unnecessary distinction in the reporting of the story.

    • Might as well state in the lease, “Newlywed couples not allowed to conjugate on the property. The Vineyard is described as a romantic getaway with the sole intent of jacking up rents.”

  3. I’d have to venture a guess the production company used the former name of the town, Gay Head, in some sort of promotion for the porn? Why else would some porn company spend all kinds of money for something that could be filmed in a cheap rental off island that didn’t require the extra expense of travel here for the ‘actors’.

    • Sounds like a reasonable observation to me ! I dare say, that, IF TRUE, some of the language chosen to be used by the prosecuting attorney, has already begun to shoot him/her in the foot. In the very least, I envision more than one reference to violations of Civil Rights with the purposeful use of “Gay Porn” as fuel to ignite a bigger fire. NAUGHTY ! NAUGHTY! NAUGHTY! FOR BOTH SIDES!

  4. George, you are not “quoting the lawsuit”, because you never used quotation marks in your headline. How is anyone to know this is not the Times editorializing?

  5. “Aquinnah Homeowner Claims Tenant Used Rental to Film Pornography” is the headline in the other newspaper reporting on the same story. Quite a difference. No hysteria. No homophobia.

  6. Important warning to other short term rental owners.
    How is describing what happeneded ‘homophobia’? I mean look what town this house was in, is it really that hard to see why the article title might have been chosen. In fact wouldn’t it be worse or insensitive to hide such a detail. Lighten up. And no, in this context quotes are not required.

    • Am I missing something about the town of Aquinnah ? What “detail” are you talking about ? Sorry for the quotes..

  7. Porn is porn….I wonder if she would have been as upset if it wasn’t “gay porn”?
    I don’t think it’s wrong for the article to say gay porn, I mean that’s what they filmed….this country is too PC. (just my opinion, not trying to ruffle anyone’s feathers)

    • That gay porn upsets her more than regular porn? They should tried their hand (yuk yuk) at BDSM porn.

  8. Give me a break people. No one involved in this case, nor the mv Times gives a rats ass whether or not it was gay, transsexual, straight, bdsm, or “little people” porn. The woman involved is a highly regarded life long member of this community and she was a victim to the behavior of people who didn’t respect her in any way shape or form. Put yourselves in her shoes. Would you want someone treating your house this way? Give me a break. The people accused of these actions are low lifes. Not because of the activity they were filming but because they knowingly treated someone else’s property with a high amount of disrespect. I hope the judge doubles the amount that she’s asking for.

    • If no one gives a rat’s ass that porn movies were filmed, why do we all know about it? Twice I’ve rented my spare bedroom. Never again but I did get humorous stories to tell people.

      This is a “bad tenant” story. Unless the town fined her for the commercial use, seems the fair claim would be whatever the cost of clean-up exceeds the security deposit.

    • Then she should have proceeded with an eviction process the moment she found out they were filming. Oh wait, on what grounds? Give me break. Most victims don’t seek justice through the court system because it’s compoundedly traumatic. This is a clear cash grab.

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