Tag Archives: Mike Kulich

Mike Kulich Funeral Service Set

Former classmates, friends and neighbors of Mike Kulich — and countless business associates and customers — were devastated by news of his sudden death last week. The 29-year-old Staples High School Class of 2004 graduate was an adult entertainment industry leader.

He was preparing for his wedding. Instead, he will be buried next to his father.

Mike’s funeral is set for Thursday, October 6 (1:30 p.m., Curlew Hills Funeral Home, Palm Harbor, Florida). A reception follows at Mike’s mother Sophia’s home, 4172 Ridgemoor Drive North, Palm Harbor 34685.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to that address, made out to the Tyler Kulich Trust Fund. He is 5 years old, and recently recovered from leukemia.

Condolences can be emailed to sophia@sophiastravel.com.

Mike Kulich

Mike Kulich

Remembering Mike Kulich

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.

Mike Kulich Pulls His Plug

At the risk of over-exposing Mike Kulich — the 2004 Staples High School graduate who runs one of the world’s 100 most visited websites — here we come.

Kulich’s site refuses to serve any computer with a North Carolina IP address. He says those blank screens will stay in place until the Tar Heel State repeals a bill that is takes away rights for the LGBT community.

Mike Kulich said his website believes in equality for everyone.

XHamster's new pro-LGBT rights logo.

XHamster’s new pro-LGBT rights logo.

That website is XHamster. The list of options proves Kulich is right. There is something for everyone.

Everyone searching for porn, that is.

The Staples grad is not the first person refusing to do business in North Carolina. Bruce Springsteen canceled last Sunday’s concert in Greensboro, to protest the law.

That got a lot of publicity. But nothing has changed.

Kulich thinks his move can help.

“Porn has the power to do what Bruce Springsteen can’t,” he says.

(I’m not the only media outlet covering this story. It was #1 on Reddit this morning. To read the Washington Post‘s take, click here. Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

Westport’s Porn King Defends America’s Loathsome Drug Baron

“06880” is fascinated by Mike Kulich.

The Staples Class of 2004 graduate is the owner and CEO of one of the nation’s leading distributors of adult DVDs (aka “porn”). He’s also a 15-time nominee for industry awards. (Just like journalists, physicists and dentists, adult entertainment honors its own.)

Mike Kulich

Mike Kulich

Kulich has been mentioned on this blog several times. Most recently, it was when his company went the extra mile, sending 1 copy of every title his company ever released — they do more than 40 a month — to a man who’d lost his entire porn collection in a home robbery.

Now, Mike’s in the news again.

In an exclusive interview with Inc., he told how he reached out to Martin Shkreli.

That name may be vaguely familiar. Shkreli is probably the most hated man in America. (Except for the entire U.S. Congress.) Shkreli is the smirking, arrogant twerp who bought a drug company, then instantly jacked up the price of a malaria drug by 5000%.

According to Inc., Kulich offered public relations advice to the drug baron. The King of Porn told the Face of Everything Wrong with US Healthcare that Kulich could make him continually famous. “Like the Kardashians,” he said.

Kulich has “plenty of experience representing folks with unsavory reputations,” Inc. explained.

Martin Shkreli's 5th Amendment-invoking testimony at a Congressional hearing repulsed many Americans.

Martin Shkreli’s 5th Amendment-invoking testimony at a Congressional hearing repulsed many Americans.

The pair Skyped for a while. Kulich was drawn to the “villainized, Lex Luthor sort of celebrity.” He wanted to find out why Shkreli had done what he did.

According to Kulich, there was another side to the story. Shkreli said he was billing insurance companies $750 per pill — but giving away 60 percent of the drugs, if insurers refused to pay.

Supposedly too, the drug baron is reinvesting his sky-high profits in R&D, trying to discover new drugs.

“After getting to know Martin, I kind of see him as, you know, like the Steve Jobs of the Millennials,” Kulich said.

At first, the PR/porn guy told Shkreli: “Don’t kind of go nuts and go cowboy” with his tweets. But then his client started livestreaming his rants.

“That was kind of out the window,” Kulich told Inc.

Kulich organized a written interview — and 16-minute video — on Vice. He also shifted the national conversation from drug pricing to Shkreli’s purchase of Wu Tang’s purchase of the single copy of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” for $2 million. In response, group member Ghostface Killah called Shkreli a “shithead.”

Shkreli also rode a hoverboard, holding a $15,000 bottle of wine. That too did not go over well with a lot of folks.

“He loves his hoverboard,” Kulich said in the Inc. interview. “I can’t tell him to get off.”

Shkreli’s PR rep has no formal training in the field, he admitted. But, he said, “if you can do porn PR, then you can do anything.” He enjoyed his foray into mainstream marketing.

Kulich is no longer working with Shkreli. He’s looking for new clients.

“Every few days there’s a new villain,” he noted. “People through social media just come at them with pitchforks. My job is to jump in front of the client and redirect the stampede. I think I could do it for just about anyone else.”

Anyone?

How about the entire U.S. Congress?

(Click here to read the entire Inc. story.)

The Real Housewives Of Westport

Mike Kulich once again nails it.

The 2004 Staples High School grad — and porn industry titan, as owner and CEO of Assence Films — is about to release a new video:

Mike Kulich video

Note the special hometown touch: the cannon.

It’s coming in February.

Mike Kulich Comes Through

Poor Earlie Johnson.

The 43-year-old Muskegon, Michigan man lost 3 flat screen TVs in a robbery Tuesday afternoon.

Plus his entire porn collection.

And not just any porn collection.

Earlie had “every African American that’s ever been in porn, from the 70s up until now,” he claimed.

His collection was “the best in Michigan.” And that just wasn’t the proud porn owner talking. “A guy in Connecticut told me that,” Earlie said.

But that’s not the “06880” tie-in. Oh, no. It goes far deeper than that.

Mike Kulich

Mike Kulich

Mike Kulich — Staples Class of 2004, now owner and CEO of Monarchy Distribution, one of the nation’s leading distributors of adult DVDs and a 15-time nominee for industry awards — rode to the rescue.

Mike offered Earlie one copy of every title Monarchy has ever released. Monarchy distributes 40 titles a month, so that’s more XXX material than even Hugh Hefner can handle.

But wait! There’s more! Monarchy also sent Earlie 2 free passes to the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo next year.

Mike Kulich to the rescue.

Mike Kulich to the rescue.

CNN, Fox, the Huffington Post and TMZ have all covered this story — Earlie’s loss, and Mike’s gift.

“We were extremely saddened to hear about Earlie’s misfortune,” Mike said.

“Our fans and customers keep us in business. DVD is tough nowadays because of the internet and tube sites, and people like Earlie are few and far between.

“We felt it was our civic responsibility to offer to help him replenish his collection.”

Just one more story of a former Westporter, lending a helping hand to a man in need.

Mike Kulich Makes His (XXX) Mark

As a Staples junior, Mike Kulich got suspended for selling Playboys out of the trunk of his car.

Recognizing all the sales Mike had made, a staff member joked, “Maybe you can make a career out of this.”

Mike did.

Today he is one of the biggest names in the porn adult entertainment industry.

Based in California, he is the owner and CEO of Assence Films. He also owns OGEE Studios. Hustler Magazine calls Mike a “veteran (who knows) how each segment of the business works and how to best apply effective strategies.”

Not bad for a 25-year-old.

Like many teenage boys, Mike was fascinated by porn. Unlike many, though, he decided to make a career of it.

“I read books about the ‘golden era’ — Marilyn Chambers (a fellow Westporter), the Mitchell Brothers,” he says. “It was an industry where I could swear on the phone, do something interesting, and still make a lot of money.”

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.

Mike Kulich

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.

What does “producing porn” mean?

“I choose the girls and the story lines. I write the scripts, and shoot them,” Mike says. “Everything is done in-house.”

Mike is happy to explain that his success — and he is huge — 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.”

His family, he says, is “very supportive.” (Well, he’s “not sure” that his grandmother knows what he does.)

“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.”

As for his Staples classmates, “the guys think this is the coolest thing in the world.”

The girls? “Not so much.”

Sasha Grey

Though adult entertainment is a multi-billion dollar industry, Mike calls it surprisingly tight-knit. “Everyone knows everyone. We see each other all the time. We pass along leads, and help each other out.”

This winter, Mike and his studio made headlines. Assence’s debut film featured Sasha Grey‘s final scenes. She had gone mainstream — including a stint on “Entourage” — but a public uproar arose last November after she read to a Los Angeles classroom.

Assence announced it would donate a portion of the film’s proceeds to the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” program. The NEA refused the gift. That caused an uproar of its own, covered by CNN, Fox News, the Huffington Post and TMZ, among others. So Mike offered the funds to a UC-Davis institute that studies and supports sexually positive media portrayals.

Mike understands he has a chosen a path that’s not for everyone — and that not everyone understands.

“A good portion of society thinks the adult industry is taboo, and/or controlled by the Mafia,” he says. “We’ll, it’s completely legal, it’s taxed — it’s just another industry.”

And, like most industries, it has its rewards. No, I’m not talking about titillatingly close encounters with very naked women.

The Xbiz Awards -- just another day at the office.

Every year, the Xbiz Awards honor the “the Oscars of porn.” There are presentations for Best Actor, Best Actress — and Best New Studio.

Mike Kulich thinks he has a shot at that last award.

If he wins it, he may even give a shout-out to the Staples staff member who, less than a decade ago, jokingly suggested he make XXX-rated movies his career.