LOS ANGELES—LA Direct Models owner Derek Hay denied he cheated clients or abused them in any way during his testimony Friday at an administrative hearing at the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.
Hay testified for the second straight day before Special Hearing Officer Patricia Salazar, who presided over the hearing at the downtown Los Angeles office of the Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for the State of California. Hay is facing multiple abuse complaints filed by adult starlets Shay Evans, Hadley Viscara, Sofi Ryan, Andi Rye and Charlotte Cross.
“We are dedicated to our clients’ success,” said Hay during nearly six hours of testimony during which he faced intense cross examination by the women’s attorney, Allan B. Gelbard, who questioned him over high kill fees and many other costs that were levied against the petitioners and taken out of their pay on several occasions.
Hay said that in one instance Cross told him she would not attend a July 2017 evening Camsoda cam session the next night that he had booked for her, and that she was obligated to pay a kill fee even though she never agreed to the booking. Such bookings, Hay maintained, are made according to a schedule of when a performer is available, and when Cross said she would not do the cam show, he was compelled to charge the kill fee.
Cross had previously testified that the shoot was at night and that she was available that day during regular business hours, according to her availability schedule, and felt it was unfair to charge her a kill fee for a shoot she never agreed to. Cross alleged Hay later produced a doctored invoice said to be from Camsoda for the kill fee, which Camsoda later denied they had sent.
LA Direct accountant Jessica Avras testified the invoice was a mistake on the part of the agency’s former accountant, Francine Amidor.
Hay also faced scrutiny over how fees were charged to Hadley Viscara, who saw her earnings completely eaten up by various deductions by LA Direct during her first two months in the industry in 2017. Hay explained that Viscara had her rent and other costs deducted from her pay as agreed upon when she moved into a room at his Los Angeles home that is also rented to other LA Direct clients who stay in separate rooms there.
Viscara, who also accused Hay of sexual assault, had previously testified that the first several shoots she did when she first began working in the industry after signing with LA Direct, earned her nearly no money since she had to repay LA Direct for various costs involving plane flights, a visit to a dermatologist, fees for professional photos, rent and more.
When asked by Gelbard whether he recommended to Viscara that she get into escorting, Hay denied doing so and also denied being involved in the escort business. “She asked me if I could help her get into escorting so I tried to help her,” Hay testified. “She was new with us and hadn’t made much money and I wanted to be helpful.”
But Gelbard later played an audio recording of Hay discussing the availability of another female performer who was sought out by a client of Hay’s who wanted to pay that performer to come to Dubai. Hay asserted he was merely passing along a message from that client to the performer and that he was not involved in that proposal or any other escorting activities.
Gelbard also took issue with Hay’s social life, which involved dating women whom he represented at LA Direct.
“With that power dynamic, do you think that’s appropriate?” he asked.
Hay responded that he dates women in the adult industry and that he sees nothing wrong with it.
Gelbard noted that three of his five clients in the case against Hay have had a sexual relationship with him and felt that he had retaliated against them when the relationship soured or when they refused his alleged advances.
Hay, however, denied any wrongdoing and questioned the motives behind the accusations.
After the hearing Hay’s attorney, Richard W. Freeman Jr., said Hay was able to refute many of the allegations against him.
“Derek testified very well in finishing his direct examination and his cross examination. There was a lack of evidence based upon Mr. Gelbard’s pleadings that just never materialized,” Freeman said. “Just these dramatic statements and allegations of ownership of various agencies and other activities that were never substantiated or never proved, so I felt that the evidence went well.”
But Gelbard said he felt Hay frequently faltered in answering questions over his treatment of his accusers.
“I think we got him to say what we needed him to say,” Gelbard said of Hay’s cross examination. “I think this is going to go pretty well for my clients. I am far prouder of them than I usually am of clients that I represent. Not that I don’t love and respect my other clients, but for women like that to stand up and say ‘I’ve fucking had it and I’m not going to put up with this shit anymore and no one else should have to either’ is a testament to their character.”
The hearing is scheduled to resume on either Nov. 20 or 21. A decision on the issue will come sometime after that.
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