The estate of Jimi Hendrix says it questions the authenticity of a sex tape released this week allegedly starring the deceased musician.
"We strongly dispute the claimed authenticity and affirmatively state that Experience Hendrix is neither involved in, nor have we authorized the distribution of this film," Experience Hendrix, the company that controls the rights to Hendrix's music and likeness, said in a statement released Thursday.
Experience Hendrix called the distribution of the tape a "callous attempt to trade on the image and reputation of a deceased artist who is unable to defend himself against such an outrageous and baseless assertion. We are highly offended by the disgraceful portrayal."
In response, Vivid Entertainment co-chairman Steven Hirsch released a statement saying Experience Hendrix's statement "is not in any way a refutation of the authenticity of 'Jimi Hendrix the Sex Tape.' Vivid took considerable time and spent a substantial sum of money to authenticate the footage and we are very comfortable that this is the real thing."
The 11 minutes of footage, reportedly shot in a hotel room about 40 years ago, features a man who appears to be Hendrix engaged in various sexual acts with two women. Vivid released the footage online and on a 45-minute DVD, which also features interviews with women who claimed to personally know Hendrix.
Charles R. Cross, author of the Hendrix biography "Room Full of Mirrors," previously said he had seen the film and doubted the man is Hendrix. Cross said the face and nostrils of the man depicted in the video don't match the guitarist, and the man in the tape is wearing more rings that Hendrix was known to wear.
Hirsch said in his statement that "it's worth noting that the primary nay-sayer about the tape is so-called expert Charlie Cross. How can Charlie say it 'doesn't add up?' I'd like to know what he means by that since he told me personally that he only saw about 30 seconds at the beginning of the footage when Jimi was lying down with his face distorted."
When reached for comment about Hirsch's statement, Cross confirmed he had a conversation with Hirsch when he learned that Vivid Entertainment would release the footage. Cross said he told Hirsch that Hendrix owned a video camera, but he did not think it was Hendrix in the footage.
"It's a question of opinion," Cross told The Associated Press on Friday. "Is it him or not? You could look at it for 30 seconds. You could look at it for an hour. You could look at for 11 minutes. It's either him or it's not him. In my opinion, it's not him."