A tangled Web for virgins site

A tangled Web for virgins site: By Greg Lindsay. New details cast doubt on the "Our First Time" story.

By Greg Lindsay
Published July 17, 1998 7:00PM (EDT)

More information has surfaced that suggests the Our First Time Web site -- on which a pseudonymous couple of 18-year-olds have announced their intention to lose their virginity live on the Net in three weeks -- is not what it claims to be.

The phone number provided by site creator Oscar Wells to the Internic database, which catalogs all domain name registrations, is identical to the phone number provided to Internic from an actor and aspiring filmmaker named Ken Tipton.

Besides the phone number, Tipton has other connections to Wells and the Our First Time site.

Tipton is a co-founder of M.O.V.I.E., a Web site dedicated to helping finance independent film projects, which was accessible until late Thursday afternoon. Also listed in the site's "founders" section is attorney Mark Vega of the Los Angeles firm Daniels, Baratta & Fine. Vega describes his work in his bio as "represent[ing] independent filmmakers who are pursuing their dreams. I only take the clients I like with projects I like and am 150 percent committed to the spirit of independent films." Vega is also the legal counsel for Oscar Wells and Our First Time's site host; he was quoted extensively in the Reuters story on Our First Time, but has not returned multiple phone calls from Salon. Neither has Tipton -- whom we attempted to reach at the same phone number from which Wells had previously returned our calls.

Soon after Salon left messages for Tipton, the entire M.O.V.I.E. Web site disappeared from its directory and is no longer on line.

Another connection between Wells and Tipton can be found in old Usenet postings. The domain name Tipton is registered for -- the one that shares Wells' phone number -- is moviefund.com (the site exists but has no content).

But a message posted to alt.censorship on June 17 pointed to moviefund.com as the home page for Tipton's film "Eye of the Beholder" -- which he writes is "not to be confused with the Ashley Judd/Ian Magregor [sic] movie of the same name." Tipton's movie is ostensibly about his fight against "Rev. [Donald] Wildmon's religious forces" over his decision to stock "The Last Temptation of Christ" on the shelves of his video store chain. Salon was unable to confirm whether this movie exists or whether Tipton has ever owned video stores.

Tipton paints a portrait of persecution by members of the Christian Right, and contained within his post is an allegedly intercepted e-mail message from Wildmon's American Family Association with the subject line "BOYCOTT THIS BLASPHEMOUS MOVIE!" It contains hyperbolic expressions like "That is proof of the power of the Lord !!!"

In an interview with Salon, Our First Time's Wells mentioned he had received death threats from "religious nuts" and mentioned an e-mail petition to shut down "Our First Time." This e-mail, which was sent from the faked address "stopthis1@juno.com," displayed similarities to the e-mail Tipton displayed, including the hyperbolic language (it urges readers to "'SHUT THIS OBSCENE WEBSITE DOWN' !!!").

Our First Time is registered under an address in Toluca Lake, Calif. There is no listed phone number in that area code for Wells, Tipton or Wells' production company, First Time Productions.

Salon was pointed to this information by Dutch journalist Francisco van Jole of the zine Daily Planet. He uncovered the connection between Wells and Tipton, along with Tipton's home page and his posts to Usenet, and ran his findings in his Wednesday edition (in Dutch).

The webmaster of the Entangled Web, which is hosting Our First Time, said he knew nothing about Ken Tipton, and that Wells' phone number (the one listed in Internic) was a rented voice-mail box. Laughing at the possible implications, he said, "How ironic. Here they are trying to pull this off on the Internet and it was the Internet records that bit them in the butt."

Greg Lindsay

Greg Lindsay is a frequent contributor to Salon.

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