The US navy is investigating a decorated Seal who moonlights as an actor in pornographic films.
The Naval Special Warfare Command wants to know whether chief special warfare officer Joseph Schmidt III properly obtained permission from his commanders for outside work and whether they condoned his acting career, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Friday.
“There are very clear regulations which govern outside employment … as well as prohibitions on behavior that is discrediting to the service,” said captain Jason Salata, a Navy Seals spokesman.
Schmidt, 42, has spent 23 years in the military and holds numerous medals, including a citation of valor for combat overseas. He has appeared in recruiting campaigns and served as the face of the Seal program on its website, the Union-Tribune said.
He has also appeared under the name Jay Voom in at least 29 films over seven years with titles such as Apple Smashing Lap Dance and Strippers Come Home Horny from the Club, the paper said. Many feature Schmidt’s wife, porn star Jewels Jade.
Schmidt declined to comment to the newspaper, but his wife said many of his fellow Seals at the Coronado base in southern California watched the videos online.
“They knew about it at work,” Jade said. “He got called in and they said, ‘Look, keep it on the low, don’t mention the Seal name and blah, blah, blah.’
“He was always pretty open about it with the command. I mean, honestly, all of his buddies knew about it. Everybody knew about it.”
Jade first appeared in porn films in 2001 but left the industry by 2003 to become a wife and mother and help run a real estate firm the couple founded in 2005 while Schmidt was assigned to Virginia. The business foundered and the couple filed for bankruptcy after running up nearly $2m in debt, the Union-Tribune said.
As business losses deepened, Jade turned to stripping to make ends meet and then returned to making porn films.
“It’s helped our family,” Jade said. “It got us out of a lot of financial issues we were going through. I could take care of the child. I could try to get us out of financial debt.”
Jade said she has tried to obtain other work. But her fame, with millions of fans worldwide, made it difficult. She said she sought a management job at a San Diego luxury hotel last year but was recognized before she finished her interview.
“Once you’re recognized and you build a brand and you’ve got your fans who know who you are, when you go to try to find a job, you can’t get another job,” she said.
Schmidt was transferred to Coronado in 2009. Jade said she recruited her husband as an unpaid performer to cut the costs of making films for her website and film-distribution service.
The military has taken a dim view of its members engaging in racy pursuits. Air force staff sergeant Michelle Manhart, a training instructor, was reprimanded and demoted after she posed nude for Playboy in 2007. The navy discharged or otherwise disciplined about a dozen servicemen and servicewomen in 1980, for posing in Playboy or Playgirl.