Mike Kulich — the 2004 Staples High School graduate who became an adult entertainment industry leader, founding 3 film companies and one of the world’s most 100 visited websites, plus a very successful PR firm — died suddenly yesterday.
Mike was proud of what he’d accomplished. In a story 4 years ago, I wrote:
After graduating from Staples in 2004, Mike spent a semester at John Jay, studying criminal justice. But the lure of his youth was strong. He soon headed west, got an apartment in Marina del Ray, and knocked on the door of industry kingpin Howard Levine.
“I was 18 or 19, a cocky kid,” Mike says. “He told me to get out.”
Today, Levine is Mike’s distributor.
The dogged Mike landed a job with International Video Distributors. He made cold calls, selling videos to adult stores, liquor stores — and, memorably, Westport’s Merritt Country Store.
As the growth of internet porn slowed sales of videos, Mike started a company that printed and replicated videos for big studios. After a big payout, last year he began producing his own films….
Mike is happy to explain that his success is a result of hard work.
“I knew from high school on that this is what I wanted,” he says. “I researched the industry, went with reputable companies, reached out, and built my reputation.”
Many people have misperceptions about the adult entertainment industry, he adds. “They think porn stars are hookers. But people here are really monogamous. Being on set is like another day at the office. People work, then they go home to their significant other. It’s just one niche in the entertainment world.”…
“I’m a studio owner at 25,” he says proudly. “For me to get to this position in banking or marketing would have taken most of my career.”
Mike was a watchdog for his industry. When a Michigan man lost his entire porn collection in a robbery, Mike replaced it with every title his company ever produced. At one point, that was 40 a month.
In April — when North Carolina passed what became known as the anti-transgender “bathroom bill” — Mike programmed his XHamster website so that it did not serve any computer with a North Carolina IP address. He said the blank screens would stay in place until the state repealed the bill.