As PR forays go, offering the proceeds of a porn video to the Hospital for Sick Children seems as improbable as the Hells Angels raising money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina (which they're doing). Still, that's what the president of the modelling agency that represented murdered Toronto-based porn model Natel King is up to. And the hospital, put in an awkward position by the sleazy connection, is threatening to sue. It's a strange epilogue to a shocking killing. King, aka Taylor Sumers, was found dead last March in a Pennsylvania ravine, still wearing the bondage equipment from what seems to have been a photo shoot gone wrong.
Now Stephan Sirard, president of the Toronto branch of the California-based French Connection Francaise (FCF), says he wants a video starring King to generate some positive karma.
Sirard, King's former booking agent, says he's been approached by various producers interested in his video but he'd never entertained the idea of releasing it. "I never wanted to make money from a sad thing like [her death]" - until he thought of Sick Kids, where King had once volunteered. "She liked kids," he says.
The video contains nude scenes, one in which King is pleasuring herself and another showing her in her first audition at FCF, in which she's asked questions like "What turns you on?" and "Are you an exhibitionist?" There's also a segment entitled Lesbian Lover.
It's perhaps not surprising, then, that Sick Kids declined Sirard's offer - even though the hospital's response, which came with a threat to sue should Sirard make any mention of proceeds going to Sick Kids, could be seen as being a little over the top.
"It just wasn't in keeping with our values," says Carol Duncan, a spokesperson for the Sick Kids Foundation.
Duncan says the decision, which was made by the foundation's ethics committee, wasn't simply a matter of where money from sale of the video comes from, but also took into account factors like public perception, potential harm to children and damage to the hospital's credibility.
She assures me that the legal threat contained in a sharply worded letter was not a special addition, but that all the foundation's rejection letters flex legal muscles just in case their message isn't clear enough.
But Sirard says he had hoped to use the video as a semi-educational tool on safe sex and the dangers of freelancing in the porn industry. "There would be no nudity on the front or back cover, but something very classy, very clean."
King, by most accounts, was not your stereotypical porn model. She refused to do sex scenes with men, and was in the biz to help pay for university psychology courses.
As for Sirard, disappointment and the threat of legal action may be all that remain of his planned memorial. "A year from now people will forget about Natel. I want to do something that will keep her name in people's memory."