Thursday July 30 5:19 PM EDT
Firm says it will show sex-change on Internet
By Martin Langfield
MIAMI (Reuters) - First it was childbirth, then a scandal involving faux
virgins -- now a Florida company says it plans to broadcast a sex-change
operation live on the Internet.
"This is not a hoax," Jonathan Ogden, chief technology officer of
privately-held Calypso Productions Int Inc., told Reuters in an interview
Ogden said the company's Calypso Health division planned to broadcast live
over the Internet a six-hour surgical procedure in November in which a
Florida resident would be transformed from a man into a woman.
He said Calypso Productions had "been developing pay per call and Internet
brands since 1990, including adult website brands, and this site is our
foray into the health and medicine arena ... this is the launch of Calypso
The patient had already been planning to undergo the operation before
reaching an agreement with the company to broadcast it, he added by
telephone from the company's base in Tequesta, Florida.
He declined to reveal more about the patient, who he said would be
available for interviews next week. The operation will take place in
London, England, and Calypso was not paying for it though it would provide
the people and equipment for the broadcast, he added.
"She is very interested in doing this because she will probably become the
spokesperson at least for the time being for transgender individuals, and
it is an opportunity for her to educate the public and other transgender
individuals," Ogden said.
The road has not been smooth for such Internet ventures and their
Earlier this month two alleged 18-year-olds invited the world to watch
them lose their virginity online but admitted last week that they were in
fact neither 18 nor virgins but actors seeking a break. They had no plans
to have sex together.
The company hired to provide the computers needed to make the event
happen, Internet Entertainment Group (IEG), said the plan was a hoax
dreamed up to make money. IEG said viewers would be charged $5 and then
not shown any sex.
The event, IEG President Seth Warshavsky said, was aimed at fooling more
people than Orson Welles' 1938 radio drama "War of the Worlds," which
convinced many Americans that Martians had invaded New Jersey.
The mastermind behind the affair, Ken Tipton, who used the name Oscar
Wells in promoting his scheme, called it an "Internet soap opera," denied
he had hoaxed anyone and said he planned to sue IEG.
In June this year, a Florida woman gave birth live on the Internet in an
event that attracted worldwide attention. But the publicity worked against
Elizabeth Ann Oliver, 40, was identified only as "Elizabeth" during the
broadcast. A newspaper, curious about her identity, discovered she and her
husband had lengthy criminal records on bad check charges in several
states and published the story. She surrendered to police July 1.
Ogden said his company had in fact been in touch with Tipton to discuss
providing the technology for his virgins venture but withdrew for business
reasons before becoming aware of the full nature of the project.
Tipton told Reuters by telephone Thursday that he could not rule out that
Calypso may have called him but said the company's name was not familiar
Ogden said the technologies Calypso Productions had mastered in running
adult websites, such as videostreaming, electronic commerce facilities and
bandwidth allocation, "are now going to be utilized for more mainstream
types of content."
Calypso Productions seeks to make a profit, he said, and is considering
measures such as charging those who log on to the broadcast or running
"We are not a charity," he said. He declined to give details of the
company's revenues, citing its privately-held nature.
The companies' websites -- www.calypsoproductions.com and
www.calypsohealth.com -- contained no information when inspected Thursday
beyond a corporate slogan, contact numbers, e-mail and an address in