2 min

Sex shop deals with TV cameras’ glare

Unwanted attention the result of police cruising warning

One in Ten owner Tom Ramsey. Credit: Neil McKinnon

A nosey news crew chasing a story on the recent crackdown on public sex has left a gay-porn shop owner “pissed off.”

On Dec 3 a CTV camera crew burst into One in Ten porn store on Bank St. With cameras rolling and a microphone in his face, a female reporter told owner Tom Ramsey she was doing an investigation into the police crackdown on gay sex in public places. The reason for the unsolicited visit was that his store, a licensed establishment and private club, was mentioned on a website about public sex.

“I told her I have no idea, I don’t know about the website. I pushed her microphone and camera down. I had two customers in the store. One left, while the other customer, a married man who did not want to be seen, hid at the other side of the wall. We told them to get the fuck out. We used swear words because they had audio on and we wanted to make sure the information wasn’t going to be used,” says Ramsey.

Instead of leaving, the camera crew stood in front of the store hoping to get information from passersby. Ramsey did not know this until he went outside to smoke.

“I am pissed off. If a camera crew burst into any other licensed establishment, they’d be kicked out! First of all, you don’t bring your recording devices into a licensed 18-plus adult entertainment store. I told the reporter, specifically, I did not want to appear on camera. She told me the cameras would be shut off, but she stood outside with the cameras rolling,” says Ramsey.

Until the camera crew finally left and he did his research, Ramsey says he had no idea what the story was about or where his store was mentioned in regards to a crackdown on public sex.

“They just came into my store because it was mentioned on a website. But they didn’t do an investigation to find out it’s a licensed adult video store and a private establishment. You have to be 18 to get through the front door. Our policy is if you look 25 or under, we ID. Don’t take it the wrong way if you look younger than what you are. And you have to be a member to get to the backroom,” says Ramsey.

To obtain membership at One in Ten, people pay $9 for a single-day pass. The pass allows them entry as many times as they like. To enter, people show it and staff buzz them in to a room at the other end of the store. There is a list of rules everyone must adhere to enter the private movie theatre and locked cubicles.

Ramsey says the unwelcome media visit has brought forth untrue rumours of a bathhouse raid in his store. As a result, he has lost business from people wanting their privacy respected.

“My customers thought the place was being raided. I had to say, ‘No it wasn’t,’ and explain the whole story,” says Ramsey.

Ramsey says if legalized establishments like his are driven out of business, folks will be forced into public places like parks and bathrooms.

“It’s not going to stop. If my store is shut down, where will all these people go? They’ll go to public places,” says Ramsey.

In retrospect, Ramsey says, he has a message to reporters wanting an interview with him:

“Before you shoot your mouth off, make sure your brains are loaded. Know what you’re coming in to talk about before you talk,” says Ramsey.

“Did someone just wake up? These things have been happening for ages. Bathhouses are giving people a place away from public bathrooms. What concerns me is why they think a viewing room has something to do with public sex,” says Wilde’s owner Rob Giacobbi, who Ramsey called after the media visit.