Ben Dover

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Ben Dover
BornSimon James Honey[1]
(1956-05-23) 23 May 1956 (age 57)
Sittingbourne, Kent, England
Other namesSteve Perry, Lindsay Honey
EthnicityEnglish
Website
ben-dover.com
 
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Ben Dover
BornSimon James Honey[1]
(1956-05-23) 23 May 1956 (age 57)
Sittingbourne, Kent, England
Other namesSteve Perry, Lindsay Honey
EthnicityEnglish
Website
ben-dover.com

Simon James Honey (born 23 May 1956 in Sittingbourne, Kent), better known as Ben Dover, is an English pornographic actor, director and producer. He has also worked under several other pseudonyms including Steve Perry as producer and Lyndsay Honey as an actor and musician.

Honey was included in Larry Flynt's Hustler's Top 50 Most Influential People In Porn list, printed in the January 1999 issue and in 2011, he was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame.[2]

Honey has also won a host of awards for the Ben Dover series including the Breakthrough Award at the AVN awards in 1997,[3] AVN's Best Gonzo Award twice, in 2000 for Ben Dover's End Games and in 2002 for Ben Dover's The Booty Bandit and in 2006, won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Adult Film Awards,[4] which he co-presented with Kristyn Halborg, Kelly Stafford and co-star Pascal White.

In 2012, Honey was nominated by the Internet Service Providers Association as an Internet Villain for his involvement with his company Golden Eye (International) in speculative invoicing.[5]

Biography[edit source | edit]

Early days in the music industry[edit source | edit]

Honey attended Borden Grammar School in his hometown of Sittingbourne in Kent.[6] Following expulsion from school in 1973, he moved to Newquay where he worked as a children's entertainer called "Uncle Simon" and drummed in a cabaret band for the summer season.[7][8]

Working under the pseudonym Lindsay Honey as he "didn't think Simon fitted the bill somehow" (the name Lindsay being based on famous Scottish pornographer John Lindsay's surname that also sounds similar to his girlfriend, porn star Linzi Drew's Christian name), began playing with artists such as Edison Lighthouse, White Plains and Artful Dodger as a session drummer,.[9] Honey joined The Ian Mitchell Band (formed by Mitchell who had previously joined Bay City Rollers on bass for seven months in 1976) in May 1979, who whilst not finding success in the UK or US, released three studio albums and regularly toured across Europe and Japan. The band changed their name to La Rox and reinvented themselves as a glam band with Honey dropping sticks and becoming the groups keyboard player, however despite a minor UK hit with "Small Ads" released anonymously in April 1981 under the name "The Small Ads", the band split up in 1982.[10] Honey also briefly worked as a cabaret singer under the pseudonym "Steve Jackson"[8] and reunited with Mitchell to form "Bachelor Of Hearts" who released one album in 1983 to little fanfare, whose track "Girls In Jeans" was later covered and used as the outro music on Ben Dover films.

Early adult film work[edit source | edit]

In 1978, broke from his now fading career as a musician and working as a male stripper using the stage name, "Hot Rod" (due to his reported likeness to Rod Stewart at the time), Honey responded to an advertisement for models in The Stage newspaper and met agent Kent Bolton, a college lecturer and former Labour Party MP on the Isle of Wight who entered the porn business late in life and was renowned for organising "spanking parties".[11][12] Being paid £100 a shoot, Honey started working for David Sullivan's Private Magazine[7] and other European hardcore porn magazines such as Rodox/Color Climax, a Danish company that in addition to more "standard" hardcore material also produced bestiality and child pornography (legal in Denmark between 1969 and 1979).[13][14] His first shoot was with a then 17-year-old Eileen Daly, who had gone to see the same agent above a strip club in Soho with her mother.[15] Honey was introduced by Bolton to the likes of photographer Lexington Steel and director Mike Freeman.[12]

Honey starting working as an actor for Mike Freeman's Videx Limited in 1979, a production company based in Wimbledon.[16] Freeman had previously produced softcore porn in the 1960s before being jailed in 1969 for the murder of a well known Soho gangster who had allegedly been contracted to kill Freeman[17] and had threatened to kill his wife and children,.[18] Upon release from prison in 1979, Freeman exploited the Obscene Publications Act which didn't cover video and started producing hardcore pornography.[19] Whilst working at Videx, Honey starred in his first film as an actor in "Truth Or Dare"[20] with actress Paula Meadows.[21] However, the law was soon changed to bring video under the Obscene Publications Act and Freeman's home was raided in 1981 by the OPS (Obscene Publications Squad), with all the Videx video equipment confiscated in the process. It was alleged that the raid was engineered by porn shop chain owner and publisher David Sullivan, whom Freeman had previously refused to deal with to stock Videx titles in his shops and was angered by articles in The Star that unfavourably compared his productions with those of Videx.[22] Sullivan allegedly paid someone to act as a member of the public to make a complaint in relation to the Videx film "Sex Slave", to claim they had been shocked and appalled by what they had seen.[23]

Although video had been brought under the Obscene Publications Act, Freeman continued openly producing hardcore videos including two gay porn films. He was informed by his solicitor that if he withdrew the gay porn material the Home Office would drop their case, but refused to. The Videx offices were raided again in 1983 and Freeman was arrested in relation to the film "The Videx Video Show" under Obscene Publications Act and Perverting the course of justice (he was accused of destroying evidence with the motivation of denying producing the film after erasing the contents of one VHS copy of each film, despite never denying his involvement and his name being heavily featured in the credits of each film). By this time Honey was working as photographer and sales manager for the company - but managed to recover incriminating evidence from his car during the raid (and would later claim in court that he didn't work for the company).[24]

Freeman was sentenced to 15 months in the case relating to the first raid in 1981 involving the two gay films. Freeman has been persuaded to put the company into voluntary liquidation to avoid a potential four year prison sentence. Whilst Freeman was incarcerated, Honey took over Videx and produced and directed his first film "Rock 'n' Roll Ransom".[25][26] After serving 10 months, Freeman was released from prison and set about preparing for the second case relating to the second raid, in which he represented himself in order to be able to call famous witness, which his QC had refused to allow.[23] Freeman was being charged under Obscene Publications Act and Protection of Children Act, as images of children taken at a naturist park were featured (although in a separate scene to any pornographic content). In case documents, whilst admitting to starring in the film "The Videx Video Show", Honey refused to comment on or confirm his involvement in Videx[27] and retained the services of Sullivan's solicitor, whom Sullivan paid for.[28] Having successfully demonstrated that the film was not obscene and called film critic Derek Malcolm as a witness who classed the film as "harmless erotica", both Freeman and Honey along with Freeman's girlfriend Sara Bhaskaran and silent business partner John Currey were found not guilty under the Obscene Publications Act.[28] However, Freeman was found guilty of Perverting the course of justice (despite having already been acquitted of the offence relating to the video) and sentenced to a further 15 months, and also recalled by the Parole Board for his previous life sentence for murder under the false charge of crime of violence while on parole which took 2 years to prove. After starting a case at the European Court of Human Rights, Freeman was released on parole in 1986 after being informed that if he dropped his case against the government he would be released.[29]

With the aid of his girlfriend Linzi Drew, Honey took the Videx equipment (state of the art U-matic High Band equipment, which Freeman had purchased to replace the original confiscated equipment) and mailing list to set up his mail order business, Stephanie Perry. Honey also worked as photographer for Escort Magazine throughout the 80's shooting Drew who regularly appeared in the magazine, under the pseudonym "Brian Wilson" (after The Beach Boys singer). The pair were later jailed in 1992 for "publishing obscene material for gain" and "being in possession of obscene material" following a sting operation in which an undercover police officer joined the companies mailing list and over a period of more than a year regularly bought videos to prove that the operation was "an on-going tax free profitable business". Drew was sentenced to four months, which she served at Holloway Prison and Drake Hall, Staffordshire before being released after serving two months, whilst Honey was sentenced to nine months, which he served at Brixton Prison before being transferred after five weeks to Send Open Prison, Surrey.[30] In December 1993 Honey filed for bankruptcy[31]

Following release from prison Honey, along with Bill Wright (AKA Frank Thring), was commissioned to work on the first feature length videos for Berth Milton, Sr.'s Private Media Group who had previously only produced magazines. Honey directed their first seven films initially with Wright[32] and took on the new pseudonym Steve Perry.[4][8]

Ben Dover series[edit source | edit]

Honey started production of a new gonzo style series in summer 1994 using the stage name, Ben Dover (a name which was influenced by a title from John Stagliano's "Buttman" pornography video series "Bendover Babes"). He directed, produced, and starred (although didn't actively perform in as with previous Videx material) in the series between 1995 and 2002 along with actors including Marino Franchi and Pascal White. In 1995, Drew fell pregnant with their son Tyger Drew-Honey and left the pornography industry.

Upon release in the United States, the Ben Dover films were edited by VCA Pictures to censor the more graphic contents of the original productions. In 2002, Honey was dropped by VCA, who had been taken over by Hustler, and opted to concentrate on the market in England instead.[33] It wasn't until 2004 that he again attempted to obtain US distribution for his films and signed a deal with Kick Ass Pictures and resurrected the Ben Dover brand. He began producing the Ben Dover's Kick Ass Anal Adventures series, of which there were five installments.

In 2000 it was reported that Tina Louise Harvey, who featured in "Ben Dover's Housewives Fantasies" failed to win a nomination to stand for the Liberal Democrats in Northampton after her involvement in the porn industry was exposed and faced being evicted from her council home "if housing officers from Northampton Borough Council find she has broken her tenancy agreement which forbids residents from using their property for "immoral purposes".[34] Harvey went on to stand as a candidate for the Liberated Party in 2001,[35] before revealing in 2003 that she had escaped from convicted serial killer Anthony Hardy who had reportedly attacked her in her home, which she worked from as a masseuse.[36][37] In 2005 Harvey was selected to appear on Big Brother due to her past as a porn star, but was dropped when she refused to have sex on TV.[38] Honey revealed that despite his willingness to do so, he couldn't "get on any of the chatshows, gameshows, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity, even though in reality I'm much more well known than some of the Z listers on there".[39]

Honey also has a line of adult toys bearing his performer name: The Ben Dover Signature line, which produces, among other products, The Ben Dover Realistic Penis and The Ben Dover Anal Kit. In 2008, Honey attended the UK Adult Film Awards once more, representing Television X and Red Hot TV along with Linsey Dawn Mckenzie and other British adult film stars. Television X has shown some of his most recent projects such as St Teenycums which won Best Script at the UK Adult Film Awards 2008.

Later work[edit source | edit]

In addition to his pornographic work, in 2000 Honey featured in the feature film Last Resort (2000), in which he played a low budget pornography producer.

In 2001, despite admitting to having failed voted in the previous year election, Honey revealed that he was considering standing as an independent candidate in the next general election as an "Independent Libertarian" and would advocate the dismantling of the Royal Family, branding them an "outdated, irrelevant and frankly dangerous institution", removing any power from the church and reforing the National Health Service and would "make patients at A&E departments who are there as a result of pub fights etc, be made to pay a serious levy for the expense of treating them".[40] In 2009 Honey resurrected his plans to enter politics, with his own party "New Democrats".[41] Honey had previously been shortlisted as a potential candidate for General Secretary of the Labour Party.[42]

In September 2009, Honey featured on the BBC Four programme Rich Man Poor Man: Ben Dover Straightens, where he attempted to search for personal fulfillment in his life and be taken seriously by making a break in mainstream acting, he also performed his one-man show Innocent 'Til Proven Filthy at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Following the BBC documentary, Honey was offered a role in the British comedy film On the Ropes. The director (Mark Noyce) was reported to be impressed with Honey's acting skills and professionalism and would consider casting Lindsay for future projects.[43]

In 2012, Honey joined Guns N' Roses tribute band, Guns 2 Roses, as a special guest drummer and tours with them on select dates[44] and released the mockumentary "The Only Way Is Dover" on YouTube, claiming "It's a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm. It's not about porn, it's about what we do when we're not doing porn."[45]

Also in 2012, Honey started production on a new online Ben Dover series "Like Father Like Son," a series based on the bizarre fantasy of a father and son wanting to have sex with a girl together. He confirmed the series didn't feature his own son,[45] whom has stated that "I’m not particularly close to my dad because my parents split up, but I’m very close to my mum."[46]

Following the demise of physical DVD sales, Honey has diversified the Ben Dover brand by launching branded clothing, sex toys, male enhancers, mugs and stickers as well as Ben Dover approved stag and hen parties.[47] Honey also hosts "Ben Dover Porn Disco"s involving wet t-shirt competitions[48] and "SwingalongaBen" swinging parties in Aston, Birmingham.[49]

Golden Eye – speculative invoicing[edit source | edit]

In 2008,[50] Honey set up the shell company Golden Eye (International) Ltd[51] with Julian Becker, commercial director of Optime Strategies Ltd[52] (who trade as Ben Dover Productions)[53] and claims to be the "holder of numerous film copyrights" including those of Ben Dover Productions films. The company was named after Honey's mansion in Hersham, Surrey[54] which was subsequently put up for sale after splitting with his wife[55] Linzi Drew, and sold in November 2011.[56]

In May 2009, Ben Dover Productions announced that it was retaining the services of the Anti Piracy Group to tackle the problem of DVD piracy. The company claimed their sales and profits had plummeted due to organised crime gangs flooding the streets with pirated DVDs of their titles.[57]

The company then engaged in a campaign of "speculative invoicing", where they sent out letters, initially through lawyers, to alleged copyright infringers demanding a payment of £700 or face potential court action - a scheme which has been described by the House of Lords as "straightforward legal blackmail" and a scam.[58] The company paid for a list of alleged BitTorrent file-sharers identities, and retained the services of Tilly Bailey & Irvine to pursue the alleged copyright infringers for compensation,[59] using what they claimed to be "bespoke technology which captures the irrefutable evidence of the perpetrators".[60] It was revealed that this technology, investigated and checked by physicist and "checked computer expert" Clement Vogler[60] of computer consultants Ad Litem Limited,[61] a company which was dissolved in 2011,[62] was targeting innocent individuals, and that the speculative invoicing relied on the embarrassment of those targeted agreeing to the fine to avoid the threatened court action, regardless of whether they were guilty or not. The data gatherer, Alireza Torabi of NG3 Systems, also gathered IP data for ACS:Law. Following adverse public and press reaction, Tilly Bailey & Irvine abandoned the practise and accepted a £2,800 fine from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Without the aid of solicitors, Golden Eye (International) Limited continued the practise of speculatively invoicing those they claim had "infringed their copyrights".[63]

In 2011, the company lost a court case against an internet user who they claimed had illegally downloaded the Ben Dover film "Fancy An Indian?", and were themselves accused of breaching the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and Civil Procedure Rules when issuing the claim.[64] Timothy Dutton QC of the Solicitors Regulation Authority noted that due to the fact that computer IP addresses can be shared, faked and hijacked, the evidence being used was of the "flimsiest" variety.[65] Golden Eye attempted to get the case tried in a county court, but when it was confirmed it would need to be tried at the London Patents County Court the company tried to pull out of the case.[66] Judge Birss QC highlighted similarities between this and a previous case involving Media CAT Limited and lawyers ACS:Law who unsuccessfully tried to sue 27 individuals for alleged copyright infringement, as Media CAT Limited were not the rights holders of the copyrighted material in question and led to ACS:Law ceasing to trade.

In order for the case to progress in the Patents County Court, the actual copyright holder, Optime Strategies Limited (who trade as Ben Dover Productions), would have to have joined Golden Eye (both companies share Julian Becker as director) and "potentially put themselves at risk of becoming liable for a wasted costs claim if the case were to fail like ACS:Law's did".[66] To avoid this, in January 2012, the company instead started pursuing individuals through the HM Courts & Tribunals Money Claim Online service for claims which should only be made through the Patents County Court.[67]

On 9 March 2012, Golden Eye went to court in an attempt to obtain an Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) for the details of over 9,000 IP addresses from internet service provider O2 (UK)/Telefónica Europe (an internet provider with previous form of not contesting NPO's) in order to service further "speculative invoicing" letters to alleged copyright infringers. Golden Eye were questioned by statutory consumer organisation Consumer Focus regarding the company's ability (or lack of) to connect an IP address with the account holder, the company's role in relation to the copyrights involved and the amount being demanded, which they stated was "far and above the likely actual damages".[68][69]

On 26 March 2012,[70] the High Court ordered O2 to hand over the details of 9,124 of its customers details to Golden Eye. However, the judge deemed the proposed £700 fine to be "unsupported and unsupportable" and that the bill payer couldn't automatically be assumed to be guilty of any alleged copyright violation,[71] and therefore any claim made by Golden Eye/Ben Dover Productions/Optime Strategies Ltd couldn't move forward unless the recipient of the company's speculative invoicing letters admitted their own guilt[72] due to the fact that evidence used is unreliable. The wording of any such letters would also be severely restricted, and the "precise wording of the order and of the letter of claim" would be decided at a further hearing.[70] Consumer Focus welcomed the ruling that bill payers couldn't automatically be assumed to be guilty of any alleged copyright violation on their internet connection, commenting that "Consumers should not be subject to the type of threatening letters Golden Eye intended to send to more than 9,000 O2 customers".[73] Golden Eye's lawyer admitted that taking a test case to court would not be cost effective, and therefore the company didn't intend on taking any cases to court and that they relied on those accused paying their "fine".[69]

In July 2012, the High Court ruled that Golden Eye would only be granted access to data in relation to Ben Dover Production films, not the titles by twelve other production companies that Golden Eye were acting on behalf of (including Terry Stephen's One Eyed Jack Productions and Justin Ribeiro Dos Santos's Joybear Pictures[74]) and would take 75% of any "damages" paid, which Mr Justice Arnold stated "would be tantamount to the court sanctioning the sale of the intended defendants’ privacy and data protection rights to the highest bidder".[75] This meant that Golden Eye would only be able to target 2,845 of its original target of over 9,000 households.[76] It was revealed in December 2012 that the IP data supplied to O2 (UK)/Telefónica Europe by Golden Eye, from 2,850 alleged copyright infringements of Ben Dover Production films could only be matched to less than 1,000 individuals.[77]

In an interview with Vice, Honey claimed his income had dropped 90% in two years and admitted his reasons for his involvement in speculative invoicing was that "if I can't make money out of porn, the only way I can make money is to get to the people who are not buying it".[45]

Personal[edit source | edit]

Honey used to be married to nude model Linzi Drew and their child, Tyger Drew-Honey appears in the BBC sit-com Outnumbered.[46]

Partial filmography[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ http://www.findmypast.co.uk/search/england-and-wales/results?event=B&recordType=GRO&route=&recordCount=-1&forenames=Simon&includeForenamesVariants=true&_includeForenamesVariants=on&surname=Honey&includeSurnameVariants=true&_includeSurnameVariants=on&fromYear=1956&toYear=1956&county=78&_county=1&district=&_district=1&mothersMaidenName=&_useMothersMaidenNameAsSurname=on&sortOrder=RK%3Atrue&_performExactSearch=on
  2. ^ "AVN Announces the Winners of the 2011 AVN Awards". AVN.com. 2011-01-09. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  3. ^ "AVN AWARDS PAST WINNERS". AVN. Archived from the original on 3 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
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  74. ^ http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/judgments/2012/golden-eye-telefonica-judgment-26032012
  75. ^ http://www.erotictradeonly.com/o2-to-name-names-in-golden-eye-legal-case/
  76. ^ http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/news/golden-eye-copyright-claim-letters-set-to-hit-almost-3000-consumers-doormats
  77. ^ http://www.zdnet.com/uk/o2-hands-over-customer-details-in-porn-copyright-case-7000008270/

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