September 21, 2012


Vivid Entertainment's Steven Hirsch Talks Reported Kanye West Sex Tape

C Flanigan
C Flanigan

It's possible that power couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, aka Kimye, may have more in common than a love of high fashion and fancy cars. And that'd be sex tapes. This morning RadarOnline reported that they'd confirmed the existence of a Kanye sex tape, filmed in a hotel room and—get this—allegedly involving a married 18-year-old Kardashian lookalike. 

Fuse has reached out to Kanye's publicist for comment, but thus far gotten no response. For their part, Radar claims to have seen all 20 minutes of the sex tape, which is being hawked by an unidentified party. Radar says they "can verify without a doubt that it is Kanye in the footage," and even posted a screen shot of a shirtless Kanye from the video to prove it. Radar adds that the clip, filmed before his relationship with Kim, shows a condom-wearing 'Ye in various positions with the unidentified girl. The couple never once kiss, Radar reports, and at one point the girl says, "My husband and I don't have sex anymore ... that's why I'm here!"

Well then. To attempt to further confirm, or disprove, the existence of the tape, we next rang up Steven Hirsch, the founder of Vivid Entertainment, the adult video publisher and self-appointed "World Leader in Celeb Sex Tapes." Vivid is behind distribution for plenty romps, including that of Kim Kardashian and her ex Ray J.

Hirsch chatted with us about the potential existence of the tape and what it could mean for the adult entertainment industry and Kanye himself. It was certainly one of the weirder, and enjoyable, conversations I've had in my career in music journalism. Here we go...

When did you first hear about the Kanye sex tape? 

There have been rumors about a Kanye tape for a couple of years. Which is why I’m not sure if this a huge scandal. He’s been out there saying that he loves adult films, so it really didn’t come as a surprise to me. But that said, Kanye is a huge star. It this tape were to see the light of day, I'm quite sure it would do unbelievably great.

Have you seen it? Can you confirm that it’s real?

No. I can't. I have not seen it yet. And we've not been approached with it. Which does make me a little skeptical [since Vivid is the leader in this business]. So, we'll have to see. 

Is Vivid considering reaching out to the seller to obtain it for distribution? 

If it came our way, I'm quite sure that it'd be a huge seller and something we'd be interested in distributing. Of course. Kanye is a huge star. For the most part, celebrity sex tapes with women sell much better. But Kanye is different. He's a huge worldwide rock star. Which is why millions of people would be interested in seeing a tape with him in it.

How much money is this potentially worth for the person who's trying to sell it? 

It could be worth up to a couple million dollars. It could be worth a lot of money. It depends on ... how good is the tape? How good is the quality? How good is the sex? What does the girl look like? There are a lot of pieces that go into it. But the fact that he's the star would definitely pique people's interest.

If Vivid were to buy it for, say $2 million, what sort of profits would you expect to make from it?

At least $2 million! [Laughs] Actually, at least $2 million and one! [Laughs] You really don't know. These things have a way of taking on a life of their own. I don't think there's been a sex tape from a star of the magnitude of Kanye West, so it'd be interesting to see. I mean, he's a world wide huge star, so people would definitely be into watching it all over the world. 

What does this mean for Kanye as an artist? Does this change fans' perception of him?

No, not at all. People have heard about Kanye West for many, many years. They think that the guy is cool. I don't think that they're shocked at all that this tape may in fact exist. So I don't think it changes their perceptions at all. It piques people's interest. But I don't think it's a huge scandal, in terms of people not believing that it's actually out there in the world. 

With both Kanye and Kim possibly both having sex tapes in public, who would you bet on to sell more?

[Laughs] Oh no, I'm definitely not answering that! [Laughs] I don't know. It depends on what this actually looks like. Sex tapes with women typically sell better than with men, but, again, Kanye is a big international star.

How much money do celebrity sex tapes generate annually, in total? 

The majority of sales come within the first year. It's really based on how many tapes are released every year. But in the last year there haven't been any big sex tapes to come out. So I don't think there's really a number... but I can tell you that when celebrity sex tapes do come out, they are the best selling tapes and footage available. People clamor all over the internet to see it. People feel close to stars. They follow them on Twitter and Facebook, and seeing them in the bedroom is an extension of being a fan.

Is there anything Kanye can do legally at this point to prevent its release?

I'm sure he has a huge group of attorneys that would be on it, if he decided to go that route. But sometimes what happens is that these things leak on the internet, and if that's the case then there's not a whole lot he can do about it. But in terms of it being distributed, certainly he can have his attorneys take a look at that.

What I find interesting about this story is that, according to RadarOnline, Kanye was the one operating the filming device. How do these videos typically leak?

In the case of that tape, I don't know how it happened. But they come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes the celebrity themselves approaches us, and that happened with Montana Fishburne and that's happened a couple other times. Sometimes it's an ex girlfriend or boyfriend. Sometimes it's a third party that somehow, some way got a hold of the tape. 

Does the fact that Kanye is reportedly with a Kim Kardashian lookalike potentially help boost sales? 

We would have to take a look and see what she really looks like. One thing that is obvious is that she's not a star, so she doesn't really bring anything to it. But what was interesting about the Kim Kardashian tape was that it wasn't only Kim, but also Ray J, so there were two people that were stars. Women were interested in seeing Ray J, as well as guys to see Kim, so that really helped sales. Same with Pam [Anderson] and Tommy [Lee]; they were both big stars. In this case, there's only one star, but there's one gigantic, huge star.

Well, hopefully for him he's actually gigantic and huge (cough, cough). That's what's piquing people's interest now, huh?

[Cackles wildly] Probably!!! Probably!!!