Meet the Wholesome Couple Who Ran L.A.’s Secret Gay Porn Empire

Karen and Barry Mason for many years ran West Hollywood’s Circle of Books, once the reigning and largest gay porn shop in Los Angles.

The couple who worked various jobs in Hollywood including for Gene Roddenberry on Star Trek: The Original Series, found success working in distribution for Larry Flynt and his Hustler publishing empire.

According to the BBC: “They turned out to be good businesspeople. Within the first few weeks, and with very little effort, Karen and Barry received 5,000 orders, driving all over LA by car to deliver them. Though Hustler was a straight porn magazine, Flynt soon took over some failing gay porn publications and these too became part of the Masons’ portfolio. A few years later, when the owner of LA’s most famous gay porn bookshop, Book Circus in West Hollywood, got into financial trouble, they were in a position to take it over. It was 1982 and the shop, which Barry and Karen renamed Circus of Books, was more than just a hardcore porn store, it was a refuge and a meeting place for LA’s gay community. The children, Micah, Rachel and Josh, were given strict instructions, when they visited the shop, never to look at or touch any of the products. They also had it drummed into them never to tell their friends the shop’s name.”

Read the full story here. 

 

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