I first published this interview of Bonnie Rotten in 2013 while she was on tour of the sex clubs in and around the Philadelphia region. At the time, she was dating Jack Spade, a friend of mine who modeled for me during the Penthouse days. Jack and I have kept in touch over the years so he called to let me know they were in town. He asked that I meet Bonnie and arrange a photo shoot and interview for this blog. Over the past eight years hence, Bonnie has attracted a large group of fans in the adult entertainment industry and currently has two million followers on Instagram: @officialbonnierotten.
Because of her rising popularity over the past 8 years I decided to repost the very informative and insightful interview I conducted during the time she modeled for me at the beginning of her career.
The Interview was conducted on July 27th, 2013:
BONNIE ROTTEN: INTERVIEW
TW: I’ve reviewed several of your scenes, obviously you are not bashful or shy. At the age of 19, you immersed yourself in the adult industry. Did you make the right choice?
BR: Honestly yes I do. In my hometown I didn’t quite fit in and always felt like and outcaste because of my promiscuity with the boys and girls in my school and what not. The adult industry gives me a place where I feel accepted and loved for what I do. I am passionate about my films and scenes and feel its important to make each and every one EPIC.
TW: What have you learned about the industry thus far that you would like to share with your fans?
BR: That it’s not just showing up to set and spreading your legs. I make an effort To go out of my way to make each scene better than the last, thats how you get remembered, and to be accessible to your fans and never forget they are the ones who decide how long you are going to be around and in demand.
TW: You appear to be very engaged with social media with 100,000 followers on Twitter. What do you like to tweet about?
BR: I am! I love social media and talking to my fans. I tweet about upcoming projects, movie releases, what I’m doing all day. As well as cute funny candid photos and funny videos of my daily life.
TW: When you are asked to perform a scene in a movie, are there any limitations as to what type of scene you will perform?
BR: I am pretty crazy and love to push my limits, there isn’t much I won’t do, but there are a few things I haven’t done yet! Such as double this and double that, lol
TW: Do you select your lover or lovers for the each scene? Or is the casting the directors choice?
BR: I have my preferences because I want the viewer to see the passion and connection with me and my partner. I also try to pick them most of the time and have creative influence on the nature of the scene.
TW: What inspired you to adorn your body with tattoo’s? Which one is your favorite?
BR: I would have to say that my stomach is my favorite!!!!!! He was my first tattoo and he is a zombie from a comic book “night of the living dead: the beginning” issue number 1! I named him Henry 🙂
TW: What is the funniest think you can recall happening during the making of and adult film? What was the saddest?
BR: Lol…well this is a story many know. I was shooting an anal scene with a guy and another girl and we decided to make it romantic.. So I suggest we bring out the whipped cream and strawberries. Well we shoved whole strawberries and injected whip cream up my bum so I could cover the other gals face and make her my strawberry shortcake. The guy started fucking my ass and a strawberry got stuck :(!!! I was upset and a little paranoid.. But it came out a few days later lol.
TW: What advice would you give any male or female 20 year old that is considering to enter the adult industry?
BR: My advice to them would be: never do anything you don’t want to do. That’s a serious thing, this business Is big and people can influence you. But always do what you feel is right for you or else you may not be happy with the results. I also suggest making everything epic and special… You never know what how it could benefit or who will see your performance.
TW: Where would you like to be on your 21st birthday?
BR: I’m not sure! Maybe Vegas 😉 I would love to pursue my DJ Rotten career in the next year and pump up the stage in LV on my 21st!!!! I gotta get to work 😉
TW: How did you decide on your stage name?
BR: Bonnie Rotten is a Pin up zombie alter ego I came up with and tattooed on my leg. I started pin up modeling and needed a fun name so I chose Bonnie Rotten and it just stayed with me , it’s also VERY appropriate 😉
TW: When did you first realize your vocation would be to become a photojournalist? Who or what influences in your life early on led you down this path?
LS:The weekly arrival of LIFE magazine, in those days a respected and worldly periodical showed me the world. I saved up to buy a 1958 book on LIFE’s photo staff and was fascinated by the adventures the men and women who worked for LIFE were.
Politics and world events were part of my blood; my father, a Swedish engineer, had worked for a time in Germany. He was in Prussia as Hitler tried his Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. After he returned to Sweden, he was consumed by news about the Finish-Soviet Winter War of 1939, and my father, who had worked in the US, decided his family was best raised there. Three months after the German invasion of Poland, he packed us up, and we emigrated to the US, so current events were subject to daily analysis.
My interest in world events and politics was consuming, and photojournalism combined all of this with art. It was the ultimate answer for me.
TW: What impact did studying with Alex Brodovitch have on your approach to photography and photojournalism in particular?
LS: I’m not sure I fully understood Brodovitch at first. He said to the twenty-plus students who met in Richard Avedon’s studio, he would only talk about photographs that were new to him; or were so terrible as to raise his anger. He ignored the mediocre. And most of my work was mediocre. It led to a healthy self-criticism. There is a push to go beyond, even in the most ordinary projects. And that is an invaluable lesson!
TW: As I reviewed the breadth of your work for this interview, it became readily apparent that the themes you addressed in your visual reporting from 40 years ago are very relevant to the types of demonstrations, marches and protests we see currently on the American streets and throughout the world. What are your thoughts about the Trump administration and the propaganda the white house espouses these days?
LS: I photographed Donal Trump once, at first as other journalists have written about, he pretended to be his own press agent under another name. I arrived at his Atlantic City casino and asked for the press agent by name, John Miller. A tall blond haired man came down the stairs and I said,”Hi John, good to meet you”. The man scowled and said, “I’m Donald Trump.” We didn’t get along well since I didn’t really know who Donald Trump was. An ego jolt?
More eloquent folks have analyzed The Trump White House. It is clear it sucks. And it is incredibly sad that the current demonstrations must go on to force more change. I’m sorry that my current situation won’t allow me to be out there still.
TW: What was the most exciting assignment you worked on where you believe your photographs may have influenced public opinion for the good of mankind?
LS:I’m not sure my photographs influenced people; I know I tried in my book, “The Most Natural Thing in the World,” done a long time ago. I tried to show the situation there, and the poor folks caught in the middle of a bitter war. Recently a journalist said that the essay in the book, text by friends John and Lenore Cooney, was the most accurate depiction” of “The Troubles” he’d ever seen.
Just two years ago, I had an appointment with a doctor who had emigrated from Bosnia. When I told her of my time there, she was effusive in thanking me. She said that it was the journalists who covered that terrible war, influencing the US and NATO to come in and enforce a Peace. It made me realize how important the work we do is, helping end a war with the highest mass killings of civilians in Europe since WW2 .
TW:You have spent a significant amount of your time working with the DART Society and the effects of war and its aftermath. How has seeing so much death and destruction impacted your life and well being?
LS: One of the most severe problems facing any journalist covering current events; from a war zone or a local car crash is Post Traumatic Stress. Estimates range from 15 to 30 percent of photographers who face horrific situations will have to deal with these issues. If not treated, the photographer may experience a lifetime of problems.
I suffered from a severe attack years after covering the irregular war, known as “The Troubles,” in Northern Ireland. Fortunately, I’d also attended a workshop on Post Traumatic Stress given by the Dart Center and found treatment.
I’ve volunteered with this and other groups to raise funds for groups helping journalists both to understand PTSD or receive counseling.
TW:What advice can you offer the young photojournalist who has the compassion to document tragedy?
LS:I would advise any young photojournalist always to be prepared to offer compassion or help when covering traumatic events. Often, just letting a subject you know the pain they may be suffering will help. And never be afraid to ask for help yourself.
TW: If you were to start your career over again, what would you do differently if anything?
LS: If I was starting my career over, what fun would that be! I’d wish for the opportunity for an excellent liberal arts education and add another language and some decent art courses. Drawing is a fast way to learn about two-dimensional work, and that’s what a photograph is all about.
TW:Now that you are retired from the grind of day to day photojournalism, what is a typical day like for you since you had the recent health challenge?
LS: Unfortunately, I’ve suffered some health challenges, not to mention the infuriating limitations of advancing age. But I try to spend as much time going over my archive in anticipation of placing it with the University of Texas. I love finding a beautiful photo I’d overlooked in the past, something that surprises me. I also realize that my work covers history and I’m proud to have worked during the “golden age of journalism.”
TW:Who is your favorite photographer and why?
LS: Too many, I fear. Among them, Cartier-Bresson for his “Decisive Moment,” Gene Smith for his passion, and Jacques Henri Lartigue for his sense of humor. Ed van der Elsken also influenced me, perhaps with the romanticism of his book “Love on the Left Bank.” I still have the first edition of that work from 1954.
TW:How would you like to be remembered?
As one of the hardest working photojournalists!
About The Photographer: Leif Skoogfors (born 1940 in Wilmington, Delaware) is a documentary photographer and educator. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, one month after his family, including brothers Olaf and Eric, fled Sweden as World War II broke out. His family crossed the North Atlantic in December 1939 on a neutral Norwegian ship.
Editor’s Note: Licensing of photographs available through Getty Images. Leif Skoogfors, Copyright 2020.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to meet Charles Gatewood in person. I was familiar with his subcultural work from his books, magazine assignments, and exhibitions. I admired his anthropologic curiosity and his significant contributions to the medium of photography and its history. We got to know each other on social media and began corresponding via email until his untimely death on April 29, 2016, a result of a fall from his third floor apartment in San Francisco. He left several suicide notes. This is a repost of an interview I conducted with Mr. Gatewood in 2011. His legend continues to live on.
TW: What do you find most compelling about the medium of Photography?
CG: I’m a card-carrying voyeur, and my exotic subjects excite me. My camera is a passport to adventure and creative fun. I am my own boss. I have never had a “job.” I travel the world, do whatever I please, photograph famous people, and have kinky sex with beautiful punkettes. ‘Nuff said!
TW: You have covered a variety ofsubject areas in your involvement in Photography.Which of these subject areas to you find the most compelling andworthy of further exploration?
CG: I’ve been photographing almost fifty years, and I’ve covered lots of subjects. Most of my work is about people and behavior, and I’ve spent many years documenting alternative culture in all its ragged glory. My extended photo essays include 60s counterculture, rock and roll (I shot for Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy), the radical sex community, and tattooing, piercing and body art (I helped launch the “new tribalism” movement by sparking the RE/Search book Modern Primitives). I also did lots of traditional photojournalism in the 60s and 70s.
One of my favorite extended photo essays is Wall Street, shot between 1972-1976. This work is more formal, and more about social conditioning, societal control, corporate excess, and fascist architecture. Which subjects do I find most compelling today? Barely-legal girls, ha ha.
TW: How do you think the medium of photography has impacted popular culture at large?
Are you serious?
CG: What was it like to encounter WilliamS. Burroughs as a subject in your work?
In January, 1972, Rolling Stone sent me and writer Bob Palmer to London to do a feature article on William Burroughs. Talk about a dream assignment. We spent a week with Burroughs, smoked hash, stared into the Dream Machine, played with the E-meter, and dug all Burroughs’ best rants and stories. Rolling Stone liked the story so much they asked me to be their New York photographer.
I shot Burroughs again in NYC, 1975, for Crawdaddy. He and musician Jimmy Page met for tea and chat before a Led Zeppelin concert. I got great shots from that shoot too.
TW: Are you equally compelled to photograph men and women.If not,which gender do you prefer to photograph and why?
CG: For most of my career, I’ve photographed everyone. Today, I mostly photograph gorgeous women. Wouldn’t you?
TW: How has photography broadened or defined your view of today’s world?
TW: If you could turn back the hands of time, would you have chosen another profession?
No, no, no. I do enjoy creative writing, but at heart I’m a picture guy.
TW: Describe the feeling of taking a great picture?What happens at that moment?
CG: Well, for me the creative act is a wonderful high, especially if the subject is exotic or sexy. I go into what I call “magic space.” Psychologists call it “flow.” Athletes call it “being in the zone.” It’s an exhilarating feeling. Time stands still, there is total communion with the subject, and the creative process (right framing, angle, moment) is like a beautiful zen dance. I work it, work it, work it—and suddenly there it is, my shot!
TW: How do you define Photography as Art?
CG: Andy Warhol said, “Art is anything you can get away with.” I agree!
Derek Bailey Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019
Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019
Derek and I came across each other on Instagram. After seeing what he was doing I immediately asked to interview him. He welcomed any positive press and agreed. I had the Opportunity to sit down with Derek after the interview as well.
I was able to learn a little more about his company, but more importantly what kind of person he is. The questionnaire part of interview was completed a few months ago. Derek’s car just recently arrived in the United States a few weeks back. I went to Hatfield, Pa to check it out in person last weekend. Also, I was able to meet part of his growing sales team; leads coming from the top Volkswagen and Lexus dealerships in the area. They just like Derek were very welcoming, informative, and excited about what was happening there.
The car industry is pretty cut throat, but I was pleasantly surprised at what gentlemen and active listeners they all were.
No pretentious bullshit in this crew; he cut right to the chase and had quite the sense of humor about him. A very family oriented man. He loves his two daughters, and speaks highly of both of them. Derek’s mother and brother all are in the area as well. They take part in many charity events giving back to the community. Being so busy he still takes the time to give back and show gratitude for all his accomplishments.
For me not knowing the first thing about cars; after talking with Derek I feel like Id be able to speak intelligently about his new innovation. One cool feature not seen on many electric cars; the Avani’s fully retractable sunroof. Most electric car dealers leave this out not wanting to waste precious battery charge. The Avani will not have that issue.
Derek broke it down in a way anyone could understand. That is what you need when trying to sway people into the clean energy movement; understanding. If we don’t educate the public, how will they make informed decisions about helping our declining environment? Tony Ward actually took the photos for this article. Derek had a drone flying the day of inspection. That was also taking place at the same time as Tony was capturing his shots. The drone capture was a pretty monumental; a famous photographer capturing a new leading green car mogul.
Derek Automotive started taking pre-orders with a $2,500 refundable deposit starting in September 2019. Deposits will also earn the first 200 buyers one thousand shares of company stock, as a founding buyer incentive.
For all the information you’d need to know about Derek’s green car, please visit his site :
D.B. I was born in New Orleans and I’m 50 years old. I studied Economic – Major & a marketing minor, at Virginia State University, and went on to study for an MBA at the University of Edinburgh, which I did complete – due mostly to the interruption of launching businesses.
K.K. Being a serial entrepreneur how many businesses have you had since the beginning of your career; were you happy with all of them?
D.B. Actually, I’ve not had a job where I received a paycheck since I was about 19. I’ve launched many businesses, with many failures, but also a few big successes.One being a Company called Popa Media which I sold for $11 million. I’ve been in the Temporary staffing business for over 35 years. It’s been the financial fuel for my other bigger endeavors like; Wolverton Bailey the company I co-founded to design and patent our new engine supercharger technology. After receiving two patents, I decided to launch Derek Automotive Technologies to commercialize our engine technology, as opposed to asking other companies to include my technology in their products.
K.K. When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the clean energy movement, and produce an electric car that has the ability to be self charging?
D.B. This whole effort has been about saving our planet, without harming our economy, as most approaches to climate change solutions seem to do. There are trade-offs to going green. When people talk about electric cars it’s as if they think the electricity comes from magic. Over 70% of the electricity produced in the world comes from burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural. If all electricity was created with nuclear energy or wind and solar, then electric cars make a lot more sense – no emission at the source of the energy, and no emissions at the vehicle – totally carbon free! What we have today is a situation where electric cars are pollution-shifting; no emissions in the car, but emissions are created far away at the electric plant. Our grid is so complex; it’s difficult to know the carbon footprint of a specific electric vehicle because we might not know where the power is coming from. I wanted to empower us to know the carbon footprint of every electric vehicle. The reason I wanted to build an electric vehicle that recharges itself is to get consumers to purchase electric cars! Electric car adoption has been slow because consumers don’t trust them and find them inconvenient (i.e., being able to recharge, the long time period required to recharge, etc.) plus they’re expensive. It’s my goal to solve these problems, and deliver an electric car that the masses will want to buy.
K.K. Can you tell me how the technology works?
D.B. We’ve created a technology we call a Proteus Supercharger. Of course Proteus is the god of nature /sea that could take any shape. The super charger is based on two patents we’ve been awarded. One patent is for a highly efficient combustion engine that burns all of its fuel (most of the pollution coming from vehicles today is unburnt fuel) so it emits 83% less carbon than today’s engines. The second patent is for a special amplifier-generator that intakes 1-volt on input end, runs it through a magnetic field and outputs 1000-volts on the other end. Our clean engine (technically, it’s called a prime-mover), which runs on a small amount of gas, turns the generator to create an abundant amount of electricity (gas-to-electric power generation) for the batteries and interior cabin in the electric car. The supercharger only creates electricity; it does not help power the car like in a typical Hybrid-car. So, effectively, we’ve put a small power plant inside the car to make it more convenient for consumers. We believe that most consumers will enjoy driving totally on electric power, but also spend only 2-minutes putting a few dollars of gas in the car, as opposed to sitting for a charge for 35-minutes up to 5-hours.
K.K. Who did you turn to for production of this new venture?
D.B. Unlike Tesla and others, we can’t raise the hundreds of millions required to build our own plant, so we’re using the Apple model where we design and have more experienced manufacturers build for us. The Chinese are actually leaders in building electric vehicles and we’re partnered with a Chinese manufacturer to build our electric car, and we will integrate our supercharger into it here in America, to create American jobs.
K.K. Is gaining investors easy considering it’s a form of clean energy, or is it difficult being it could shut other vehicle producers down?
D.B. We’ve been powered mostly by my own capital, and capital from small investors who share our passion for workable green tech solution to carbon emission from the transportation sector. It’s unfortunate to say, but minority-entrepreneurs don’t have the same access to venture capital as others. Seeing genius from us is still a little hard for many investors, so we have to be willing to bleed-alone to get things done – but hey, that’s the American way – entrepreneurship is for the rugged. As far as shutting down other producers, our goal is to produce a great vehicle, using our technology, get it into the market, have consumers go crazy for the power of electric driving, the recharging convenience, and then license our technology to all the other car makers. Licensing is another billion dollar opportunity for us.
K.K. What are some of the road blocks you have had to overcome along the way in testing / production?
D.B. You ever hear that song “no one knows the trouble I’ve seen?”Well, our roadblocks have been plenty. No one believed we could build a better engine. Once built, no one believed we could get a patent. Now we have two. No one thought I could get a car built. Now, that I’m introducing the car, no one believes I can build a car company against the big competitors and in the current car market. At each step it’s an excuse not to invest in us. Always with the assumption that I won’t make it to the next step. Yet each time I do – and now the incredible thing is I find myself still owning 65% of the company. Now, I’m only a few steps from shocking the world. I learned a saying a few years back – “as an entrepreneur one might have to bleed and cry by him/her self, but we also get to go to the bank by Ourselves.”It’s that thought that keeps me going.
K.K. Is this more of a luxury car, or will it be something that is affordable to everyone on a scale that will stop the way we pollute the environment?
D.B. This first vehicle is an SUV; its styling is like that of a Range Rover. We needed to design something that consumers would recognize and have an idea of its value. Once we make some money with the luxury vehicle, I will build an affordable car that I already have on the drawing board and named. That is a secret for now.
K.K. How do you deal with stress of starting something so new?
D.B. That’s a great question and I’m not sure I’ve found the answer. I workout, take long drives just to play music and think. I’m not in a relationship right now, the place where one would find the best stress relief, assuming the relationship is a good one. So, I struggle a bit with managing my stress – I’ll admit I sometimes turn to Mr. Jack Daniels and a mindless TV show. The key is I’m always ready to get back on the grind every morning.
K.K. What are your hobbies?
D.B. I like to hit golf balls, play chess, ride bikes, but business is my hobby. I also love cooking and construction because I can see the results of my efforts quickly, as opposed to the years it takes to build a business.
K.K. When will your self charging electric car be released to the public?
D.B. As I said earlier, I still have a few more steps to my ultimate goal of the self-charging car. This first car I’m revealing in September 2019 is an all-electric SUV. The strategy is to sell 150 all-electric units (same as what the other automakers are selling) and plow that money back into reducing the size and completing the integration of the supercharger into the electric vehicle – it’s a lot of work, still. To answer your question, I think we will have our self-charging vehicle on the market in early 2021, maybe sooner if all the stars align.
K.K. I noticed you were granted the right to import vehicles as well. What are you planning to do with that?
D.B. That import license is important because one can’t import vehicles into the USA without approvals from the EPA and DOT. This was a stepping stone for us.
K.K. Where do you see this taking you in the next 5 years?
D.B. In 5-years Derek Automotive Technologies will be known as America’s first minority-owned car manufacturer and the leader in carbon emission reduction from the transportation sector. We’ll operate in 3 countries, have sales in excess of $600 million and valuation of more than three billion; minting me as a new American billionaire.
K.K. What are your personal, company, and environmental goals?
D.B. My personal goals are to see my two daughters finish their schooling debt free, or near debt free, find my forever girl, and leave a legacy of having had a huge impact on climate change by reducing carbon emission in the transportation sector.
K.K. When will the launch party be?
D.B. The launch party will now be this fall. We had a bit of a trip through The Department of Transportation and got a bit delayed.Fall is the perfect time for a launch Party, everyone is back from vacation and ready for what’s new. I’m looking at a few locations as I couldn’t book anything because I was not sure when we’d get all our approvals.
Awww the stress of it all!
I’ll put out a notice on social media and my e-mail once the date and location is decided.
Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached on Instagram @kerlupwithkate
We the people with medical marijuana cards demand the right to bear arms. Our second amendment rights are being stripped because we are legally prescribed a natural alternative to medications that otherwise cause addiction, and a plethora of other horrible side effects, and are continuing to feed our corrupt medical system in the United States. The second amendment states, “ A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. “ As pot legalization spreads across the nation, state governments have not come to a conclusive agreement in the up and down responses to a federal law that makes it illegal to possess both a federally banned substance, and a legal fire arm.
After being approved for my own medical card last year it saved my life. I had never thought about that as an answer for my PTDS, or for my CHRONIC pain (pun intended). I met Dr. Matt Roman at work. He needed some furniture for his office. I wouldn’t have even asked what he did for a living if he wasn’t playing a harmonica, had bright colored hair, and happened to be wearing a shirt promoting his medical marijuana clinic. Nature’s Way Medicine here in Philadelphia.
Part of me can see why this is becoming such an issue. Before I met Matt, I was downing whiskey like it was water. The winter was the worst. I’d rather hibernate than go out with wrist to elbow metal plates in my arm that never fully healed correctly. Causing me extreme pain once the temperature drops below 50.
I visited Matt’s office; it was a $200 visit that I had no problem paying because it was cheaper than a new patient trip to the psychiatrist, or pain management doctor. After already having gone down that road; I was prepared to be a drunk and in pain the rest of my life. Not to mention what the actual prescription would cost after the visit with no health insurance that I cannot afford. I was done with that and needed something to give.
Matt was really nice explained the whole process to me. I was approved though my medical records after coming in to talk with him. Dr. Roman showed me how to register though the state to receive my card. Ten days later it arrived in the mail.
Before using anything I made sure to do my research. Once you are approved through the state you then go to the dispensary, register with them, and they help you find what works for your issues. You receive a patient number and prescription label on medical marijuana. Just like any other medication you have. I’ve learned the hard way that the strain called Sativa, is not for my personal anxiety, and pain issues. I use a higher THC percentage (the psychoactive part of pot), or an indicia strain which is more to fight those kinds of physical/mental pains. Including RSO’s (Rick Simpson Oil; the edible highly concentrated THC oil) just like regular medications with long and short half lives; RSO oil has a very slow onset and is the only thing to deaden the pain I experienced in my arm. Micro dosing (taking one hit of my vaporizer) through the day completely calms any racing thoughts I have due to anxiety. Also enough to relax me, and sit through a movie which is something I could never do before. I am more creative and writing flows more fluidly being I am not overly critical and can be my true self.
Fast forward a year later, I had to make my renewal appointment. Just like at a regular doctor, the medical marijuana program is basically the same. They check on you, make sure you are still qualified, and re-certify you through the state. Upon arriving to the clinic I noticed Matt wasn’t the doctor who would be seeing me. After asking him why I could not fucking believe the story he told me.
I had come in to see the person who changed my life in ways he probably never realized, and to say thank you for giving me my quality of life back. No other traditional medical practitioner had been able to do that in a decade.
Only to later find out, In November Matt had filed a law suit against the Trump Administration claiming the federal government was preventing him from exercising his Second Amendment right to own a handgun. In his complaint, Dr. Roman said the law prevented him from buying a gun for his own safety. Matt previously had a license to carry before he left the country for medical school and gave it up. Becoming a medical marijuana patient himself automatically disqualified him from being approved. The gun dealer he tried to purchase from denied him because a 1968 law that forbids anyone who uses marijuana from owning a firearm.
Matt did not give up the fight though. The consequences of that led to the state government evaluating Matt with their own doctors who had not been treating him, or qualified him for the card. They said he had a medical marijuana addiction, put his medical license on probation, and he was no longer able to practice. He was subject to embarrassing slander in the news, narcotics rehabilitation, and weekly drug tests. He also had to pay for all of it out of his own pocket.
When Matt started to tell me the story of what went down I immediately felt sick.
Someone who changed my life for the foreseeable future can’t chase his true passion anymore. Dr. Roman just wanted to help patients out of the traditional corrupt medical community, and turn to a more natural answer.
Dr. Roman attended medical school in Poland. Being of Polish decent he spoke the language, so it just made sense for him to go there. Not to mention medical school in Poland is $13k per year, and you get FREE HEALTH CARE. As opposed to the $ 50-70 thousand dollars it cost in the United States, on top of paying for your own health insurance as a student. Leaving you in crippling student debt.
Matt started his medical career as a hospitalist. After realizing how bankrupt people were becoming due to insanely high medical costs; he decided he wanted to do better and open his own medical marijuana clinic.
Since this was still a pretty new concept he went where it was already legal. He opened the first clinic in Delaware. It was an uphill battle that at times seemed impossible. Matt said to me, “can you imagine going to medical school, becoming a doctor, and having to apply for food stamps!?” That’s what he had to do in order to get his dream off the ground. When it didn’t quite take off as he anticipated in Delaware; Matt moved the clinic to Philly that next year.
He did much better here. He even had a YouTube channel educating people about his practice, and also vented some of his own life struggles. To me I would rather have a relatable Doctor than someone who thought they were better than me because of their profession.Every week Natures Way Medicine gave, and still gives away a $200 consultation to someone that cannot afford it.
In today’s society the only way to promote your business and have a voice for FREE is by using social media, and becoming a character. Plastic surgeons do that. They use their own products in videos demonstrating their success stories. It is also a field where people get addicted to surgery and controversial issues with over doing it. You can get mentally addicted to anything. Not only is it shameful to take away his license to certify patients for being a medical marijuana patient himself. Matt was also abused as a child and suffered from severe PTSD. Using medical marijuana that he was prescribed and licensed by the state got his dreams stolen. Why are we not taking away doctors licenses that are on heavy psychiatric medications, and pain pills that are licensed to carry as well?
While Matt is not able to certify his patient’s any more, he still runs his clinic with part time doctors that saw what happened to him. They give their time after seeing him treated like an addict, all because he fought for his right to a gun. Since being put on probation and the media slander, Matt changed his life. He started working out, became closer to his family again who did not like the idea of him running the clinic, and he hopes to open the first opiate recovery center in Philadelphia treated with medical marijuana. The traditional AA/NA court mandated religious based treatment centers are why people fail, and are horribly outdated. Understanding everyone needs something to believe in and hope; god does not have to be pushed on anyone to recover from addiction. Matt hopes to have that up and running in the next year.
Now, had I done this particular article sooner, I may have had a varying opinion on his fight against the government. I unfortunately had a home invasion while I was asleep a few weeks ago. We lived on one of the nicest blocks in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. I was supposed to be at a birthday that night, but decided to stay home just getting over a cold. The bedroom was on the third floor. I was very lucky screaming bloody murder had to have scared the people away who cut my screen, kicked in my door, and went thundering through the first floor of the townhouse.
To my dismay after running around the block the landlord did not do much about it. In fact I was told to get the fuck off her door step at 10:30 pm with two police officers behind me. They were waiting to see if our cameras were live above the door to the house. No attempt to help me or fix the broken door, or common decency for human life. For now weeks now, I have been staring at the broken door frame reliving that traumatic event daily as I walk in the house. Not much shakes me up, but that was enough to make me want to go get a gun. Now I cannot exercise my right as an AMERICAN to protect my home. All because I have a state issued medical marijuana card. I am not willing to give up the only thing that has improved my quality of life for a gun. I should not have to choose between the two in the HOME OF THE FREE. No matter what you cannot carry any kind of narcotic with you on your person at the same time as you are carrying a gun.
What happened to Matt will happen to other doctors who openly talk about their personal medical marijuana use. He advises to keep it to yourself if you are a medical practitioner. You will end up in a rehab taking drug tests weekly, made to feel like an incompetent addict, and fighting for your medical license you worked so hard for.
We are all prisoners of the U.S.A.
There is nothing free about this country.
Not the health care system.
Not the Judicial system.
Not the higher education system.
Most certainly not the right to bear arms.
If you are interested in knowing more about Dr. Matt Roman go to his web site:
Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached on Instagram @kerlupwithkate