Next-Gen Porn Money: Living Large In The UK

LONDON – Many of those working in the modern porn industry probably aren’t familiar with the name David Sullivan, much less the adult entertainment empire on which Sullivan built his fortune.

The days of that empire – which at one time included approximately half of the domestic adult magazine market and upwards of 80% of the adult mail-order business in the UK – are long gone. Sullivan’s riches, on the other hand, have not receded into history, as a recent Daily Mail profile about his son, Dave Jr., ably demonstrates.

Dave Jr. lives in an extravagant, lavishly appointed central London building, one his father purchased following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Purchased for £11 million, Dave Sr. estimates the building is now worth £40 million – making it yet another a high-return investment for the former porn mogul.

While it’s natural for someone in Dave Jr’s position to be the object of envy (and resentment) over his good luck to be born into such a fortune, the younger Sullivan wants the world to know he’s not just sitting on a throne collecting checks.

“People will always have a go, saying I’ve been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I work harder than just about anyone I know,” Dave Jr. said, going on to compare himself to someone whose name is doubtlessly more familiar to many in the adult business. “When my mates ask me what my job is I tell them I basically do the job Hugh Hefner did at Playboy.”

Of course, it’s also important for people to understand the elder Sullivan didn’t luck into his riches in the first place, nor did he acquire them without encountering some bumps in the road along the way.

“My dad came from a council house – he had nothing – and he built up a billion-pound empire,” Dave Jr notes. “Well if he can do that then I want to leave my own kids £5 billion, and the only way to do that is by hard work and imagination.”

Even after he’d built up serious holdings, Dave Sr. wasn’t immune to the sort of troubles which often haunt those who ply their trade in the adult entertainment business. In 1982, he was found guilty of living off “immoral earnings,” and wound up serving 71 days in jail before successfully appealing his sentence.

The elder Sullivan has always been appropriately unapologetic about the nature of his rise to wealth and fame, shrugging off the disapproval of others with confident defiance.

“I do not feel embarrassed,” Dave Sr. told the Weekly Standard back in 2010. “I’ve made a lot of people happy. If I was an arms manufacturer or a cigarette manufacturer, and my products killed millions of my clients, I’d have a bit of doubt about the whole thing. I was a freedom fighter. I believe in the right of adults to make their own decisions.”

Gilded dining rooms, luxurious wet bars and an enormous sum of money aren’t the only things Dave Sr. will pass on to his son. Dave Jr. sounds just as motivated and energetic as his father, exhibiting an interest in and engagement with the world which defies the picture of a spoiled millennial some might assume he represents.

“There are so many things I want to do, and my life now is about learning the business,” Dave Jr. said. “I’m learning every day, seven days a week. Compared to my mates who are at university I work so much harder – and I love it.”

This is not to say Dave Jr. isn’t an incredibly fortunate fellow, a fact of which he’s well aware.

“I know I’m lucky that this has been home since I was a teenager,” Dave Jr. said of his posh apartment. “It’s a great place to live and I’ve had a lot of fun here.”

 

Suitcase image © Mike Johnson

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