entertainment

Exclusive | Jonathan Agassi: 'The porn industry didn't offer me any help during my drug addiction'

The porn star is the subject of a new documentary 'Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life'

2019-03-21

Words: Steve Brown

Jonathan Agassi is a name that is well-known in the gay community.

The Israeli became an international porn star within just a few months and was living the high-life, shooting scenes for Lucas Entertainment at least once a week and earning a considerable amount of money.

But in a new documentary, Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life – which will be screened at BFI Flare: London LGBTQ Film Festival 2019 on March 22 and 23 – we see the downfall of one of the most celebrated men in the gay porn industry.

Watch the trailer below: 

Directed by Tomer Heymann, the documentary shows Agassi’s when he was at the very top of the world when he was a very successful porn star and one of a kind in Israel.

However, in an exclusive interview with Attitude, Agassi says stories from his past started to re-emerge including getting ‘beaten up every day at school’ and things that led to him to become a different entity – the ‘Jonathan Agassi image’.

Drugs started and he got addicted to GHB and crystal meth and his contract with Lucas Entertainment had a strict ‘no drugs’ policy and they terminated his contract within a second.

“I lost my porn career because I was high, because I came to a shoot one time and I was fucked up and I couldn’t get it hard and I couldn’t function and everything and that’s why I lost my contract with Lucas Entertainment,” he says.

Although he says the porn industry did not go hand-in-hand with his drug addiction, he, just like many porn stars, are forced into escorting to bring in more income and he says, ‘most of the time the client wants to do drugs with you’.

Although Agassi, who was addicted to drugs for five to six years, is now clean, he is still ‘fighting those drugs like crazy’ and was forced to return to Tel Aviv, where crystal meth hadn’t arrived, to kick his addiction.

Despite knowing what happens in the documentary, he says it was an eye-opener to watch it back sober as most of the time he was high and says that even today, he cannot watch a part of the movie without crying.

What can people expect from the new documentary?

I think that people think they are going to see this story about a porn star who has this ‘glowy’ life and everything but then they get into this crazy, very deep story with a very complicated history and then what I know people get from it, many people see eye to eye with the film.

Anybody can find something they can relate with but it’s a difficult story. It’s an important film and one thing that Tomer said and, now I am connecting to it on another level, is that in every film you see drugs, you always see it in a sexy way.

You will always see it in a club, and everybody is sweaty and kissing but nobody shows the problems when you collapse on the floor, twisted up and you’re screaming. Nobody shows those moments.

Tomer is not a person who does drugs, so you see it from a different point of view, and I think it is important. Many people also think this film is about family.

About a loving mum who is always there for her child no matter what, if he is gay, if he is pansexual, if he wants to be a porn star. My mum is always there and has always been.

The documentary shines a light on both you and the porn industry. It shows the side of porn that people don’t really see.

It’s funny because me and Tomer were saying that if I was still a porn star, I would never let this movie come out. I would never agree to it but since I’m not in the business anymore… [laughs].

It shows a side that people do not see or think that it exists. They think that the 20 minutes that they watch on the screen is what is going on behind the scenes and it’s not really like it.

There’s a lot of extras, not always good ones [laughs] so I think the film really shows it because it’s still a documentary. Nothing is staged.

So, it does shed a light on how it really goes and how it really works. And it’s not always pleasant for the eye.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

זהו נשבע.. זאת האחרונה 😉 תאמת? חשבתי שאיבדתי את זה אבל בינינו? I still got it babe 💪

A post shared by Jonathan Agassi (@jonathanagassi4ever) on

Was it cathartic for you when you watched it back?

When I watched it for the first time, I watched it with an audience. I knew more or less what was going to happen, but I didn’t remember it in that way.

Most of the time, I was never sober and watching it suddenly when you are sober and can see the things as they are and how you fantasised that they were, it’s pretty rough.

There is part of the movie, still today, I cannot watch and that I start to cry when I see them or start to cry when I speak about them. It definitely gave me a perspective of how things really happened because I used to live in a fantasy land.

I was always high, I was addicted to crystal meth and GHB for a long time. I think for four years I was on crystal meth and five or six years of GHB and these are drugs that completely change how you see sex and see your life.

The movie ends about four/five years ago, and when I watch it, I thank God for it. It opened up my eyes and gave me a mirror that nobody can buy, and no mental help can give.

Do you think your drug addiction was because you were in the porn industry? Do these two things go hand-in-hand?

That’s a question that everybody asks, and everybody thinks it goes hand-in-hand, but I used to work for Lucas Entertainment and my contract definitely didn’t allow me to do drugs or alcohol.

I was for a few years on crystal and G and somehow that goes hand-in-hand, but you do porn, so you have to do escorting because you need to make a living as well.

You don’t make a lot of money in porn. But you do make a lot of money escorting.

When you do porn, you can make a lot more money in escorting and when you make a lot more money in escorting then you have a lot of free time.

When you’re not working and when you have your own free time you want to be high because you’re already addicted.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

רפאל עשה אותי חתיך בשביל חולון/לב תל אביב/סינמטק/סלוניקי 😏

A post shared by Jonathan Agassi (@jonathanagassi4ever) on

Was that your first-time doing drugs or had you done them before?

I will be honest with you, I started porn when I was living in Israel and it was like, when you go out to parties, you do something.

You do ecstasy, you do MDMA, you do the ‘simple’ stuff. I managed to stay away from crystal meth for about three years.

I moved to Berlin and I never agreed to do crystal meth. It’s funny. I saw on Oprah on how people look before and after and what it does to you and I never agreed to do it.

I used to mainly do GHB and cocaine. Crystal meth I met in London. I met this gorgeous guy. I have never seen a guy like that in person. I never seen this kind of creature, it wasn’t human the way he was beautiful.

It was kind of the terms to be with him. He was like, ‘I do that so if you want to be with me you have to do it with me, so I don’t feel strange.’ And I thought, ‘You know, he looks so awesome, so hot, so great and has an awesome body. Oprah probably lied’[laughs].

But after three or four days that we were together, he smiled, and I saw that he had no teeth. His teeth were rotten. Oprah was telling the truth, but I was already hooked.

I came back to Berlin after about five days in London, and every guy asked me if I was doing it now, so I immediately said yes so it became a regular thing.

You mention your mother. What was her initial reaction to you being gay, then a porn star and then the drug addiction?

My sexuality was never a secret. I never had to come out. I think it was always obvious and when I did say it, it was like, ‘OK. Woop wopp’. Nobody was surprised.

When I was 18, 20, 21 I was always an exhibitionist. I was the first gay person to be shot in full nude for a full page in some gay magazine over here. I did that when I was 18.

When I decided to do porn, I was already 24. I did kind of ask for my mum’s approval, but I kind of just said, ‘This is what I’m going to do. You have to live with it’. And it was hard for her. We had a lot of fights about it.

She tried to convince me not to do it. Every single thing that she said would happen, happened. But I was very insistent about it. I knew I wanted to do it. I conquered the world very fast.

In a matter of months, I had a five- or six-year contract and I earned a lot of money and everything went great. Maybe she thought, ‘Ok, maybe I was wrong about it. Let’s go with it’.

And in the beginning, I was very serious, I didn’t do drugs and I wanted to hold my career forever and I wanted to do everything that I could to protect it.

The drugs, I was a pretty good liar. She didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t know how hard the addiction was. You’ve probably seen what happens to people who are on G when they collapse.

This is something my mum did not know. But when she saw the film and what it really looks like – the film is very graphic, it’s not an easy thing to watch, especially for your mum - she got a big smack to the face.

She blamed herself and felt really guilty. Thank God we are after that point in my life. She doesn’t have to worry about that anymore, but I think there is a little bit of anger towards me for not being truthful to her.

You became this international star in just a couple of months, but how did it affect your love life?

During the time that I did porn, I tried to have relationships, but it was always with guys from a similar background, like another escort or porn star but it was never successful because porn stars are really full of themselves and not willing to open up and be themselves.

Every relationship I had was based on ego. I was very successful, and it always bothered the other guy if he wasn’t and if I am going to productions once a week and he is going once a month and he has to work in a regular job, and I don’t have to.

Jealousy comes along even though we are in the same business so I kind of gave up on that. For five years I didn’t even try to have a relationship and all my friends in Tel Aviv disconnected from me.

It was like I did something terrible by going into porn. It didn’t matter how successful or famous I was, I didn’t have many friends and I can even say that I didn’t have friends at all. It’s a very sad thing to say.

It was always friendship based on anything else but friendship. It was either based on drugs or there were a few times where I would meet an escort and we’d meet a client together and then he was sure that I would give him a lot of work like meeting clients together.

My escorting part became an escorting couple. And that was never my goal in relationships.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

שבוע חדש לוק חדש 💪🏽 נפטרתי מהזקן (זמנית) 😉 שבוע טוב ❤️

A post shared by Jonathan Agassi (@jonathanagassi4ever) on

You have retired from porn now, so are you still single?

I have retired completely. Three and a half years ago is when I last did a sex show and I had this name.

My name was walking before me, I was still had the name Jonathan Agassi, the big porn star, and I used to only do sex shows and escorting.

I met this guy who is still the love of my life and we were together for two and half years, but we broke up almost a year ago.

But he really got me on track in terms of a normal life. When I met him, it was within a week that I deleted my escorting profiles and didn’t do any more shows and looked for a regular job.

But when it ended, I was already living an ordinary and simple life. Because of him, I was able to say, ‘Stop’. I am totally clean from GHB for more than three years.

Having this name overshadowing you, is it hard to find someone who doesn’t want to meet porn star Jonathan Agassi?

It’s very hard. Still today, some people think I am still in the industry and that I am a porn actor, and nobody tries to give me a chance to show that I am not.

Just a few days ago, I got this message on Instagram from this guy that says, ‘I’m probably not your type, but I saw your film and I really wanted to meet you’. And I wrote back, ‘I never said you weren’t my type’ and he said, ‘Oh great, let’s have fun. I really want to eat your ass’.

I stopped replying. It’s either let’s do chem sex together or sex. Nobody ever really tries to hook up with me in a serious way. I now have no way to meet up with guys because it always goes in this direction.

And I’m not there anymore. One day the real man will come along without the drugs and the parties.

When you were addicted, Lucas Entertainment terminated your contract. Did they provide any help for you?

No never! Normally I don’t talk shit about the porn industry because I cannot be ungrateful about it, but I can say they kicked me out in a split second without ever asking how I am doing. I have done more than 60 films in less than five years.

I was their main star in everything, and I know I made millions for them, but they never once asked me how I was doing and if I was OK or needed help.

They just said, ‘No you’re fucked up on drugs. We will not work with people on drugs.’ And that’s how it ended, and it also ended when I didn’t get paid for a scene that I did.

I didn’t get paid and was never offered any help, never. Everything that I have done and achievements in terms of leaving drugs all came from the help of my mum and Tomer. Never from the porn industry. I’m not the first one.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

בוקר טוב וסופש הכי נעים בעולם ❤️

A post shared by Jonathan Agassi (@jonathanagassi4ever) on

One time I had a scene with this guy, and we had to learn a script. This guy was supposed to come from Germany, but they found out he had Hep C. So, they just cancelled him and never worked with him again.

I know he was really offended by it and it’s like, I don’t want to talk too much shit about it, but before I started being famous, the conversation was always upfront that, ‘OK, you’re going to be a porn star. You’re going to have an apartment in New York and you’re going to have to escort and charge $1,000 and this is what you’re going to live off’.

So, the production company say, ‘Come and work for us and then go and become a prostitute. We are giving you the platform to become a high-end prostitute’.

But if something happened with the client and they would abuse you or give you Hep C or HIV, they would say they won’t work with you anymore.

This is something I’m not ashamed to say, this is how things work. In my case, ‘Yeah OK you’re doing drugs, we will replace you’. Everybody can be replaced. There’s a lot of hot men in the world.

Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life will be screened on March 22 and March 23 during BFI Flare: London LGBTQ Film Festival 2019. Buy your tickets here.