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Real Porn Performers Share What the Industry is Really Like

“The director himself put his hands on me and was choking me. Never in a million years did I think [they] would allow it.”

By December 20, 2021No Comments

Trigger warning: This post contains the names of porn performers and descriptions of abuse that may be triggering for some. Reader discretion is encouraged.

We talk a lot about the exploitation, abuse, and trafficking that happen in the porn industry. Yet too many people assume those examples are rare.

The reality is that exploitation is common in the industry—even with popular porn performers and even when production companies and porn site profiles are “verified.”

Here’s what popular former and current porn performers have to say about the industry.

Nikki Benz, Hall of Fame porn performer

“The director himself put his hands on me and was choking me. Never in a million years did I think [they] would allow it.”

“Did you see the part where I said ‘cut,’ where I said I’m not OK with this?”

Related: Alia’s Story: How I Was Sex Trafficked As A Popular Mainstream Porn Performer

“Why am I fighting this hard to prove that I was physically/sexually abused when it’s on film?”Fight the New Drug. (2018). This Buzzfeed news piece about exploitation and abuse in the porn industry is eye-opening. Retrieved from https://fightthenewdrug.org/investigative-piece-about-the-exploitation-and-abuse-in-the-industry/COPY 

Rocco Reed, 2012 Male Performer of the Year

“I felt trapped. I believed that I couldn’t do anything else and depression set in. I truly believed that I had ruined my life to the point of no return. So, I continued to say yes to the need to be accepted… This went on for about six months, and then one day, I found myself wishing I would die.”Broome, J. (2021). Joshua’s story: Why I left the porn industry after winning awards and performing in over 1,000 films. Retrieved from https://fightthenewdrug.org/joshuas-story-why-i-left-the-porn-industry/COPY 

Linda Lovelace, star of one of the most popular porn films of all time

“My initiation…was a gang rape by five men… He threatened to shoot me with the pistol if I didn’t go through with it… I have never been so frightened and disgraced and humiliated in my life. I felt like garbage. I engaged in sex acts for pornography against my will to avoid being killed. The lives of my family were threatened.”MacKinnon, C. A. (2007). Are women human? And other international dialogues (pp. 19). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.COPY 

Lisa Ann, Hall of Fame porn performer

“There were times on set with people where I was like, ‘This is not a good situation. This is not safe… Everyone’s a ticking time bomb, and a lot of it is linked to the drugs. A lot of this new pain comes from these new girls who have to do these abusive scenes, because that does break you down as a woman.”Saul, H. (2016). Lisa Ann discusses how the demand for extreme porn can damage new performers: ‘That does break you down as a woman’. Independent Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/lisa-ann-how-demand-extreme-porn-damaging-new-performers-does-break-you-down-woman-a6838751.htmlCOPY 

Related: How Porn Can Fuel Sex Trafficking

August Ames, who died by suicide soon after these quotes

“The guy was way too rough with me. He was dragging me around and choked me with my panties, slamming my head down on the table and was just WAY too rough and the scene didn’t even call for it… I was literally in panic mode so I froze and didn’t say no or stop. I just wanted it to be over.”

“It felt like rape.”Clark-Flory, T. (2019). 'It felt like rape': Porn performer August Ames's on-set allegations emerge a year after her death. Jezebel. Retrieved from https://jezebel.com/it-felt-like-rape-porn-performer-august-amess-on-set-a-1831562916COPY 

BHW - General

Mia Khalifa, one of the most-searched porn performers of all time

“I was approached at a very vulnerable point in my life. I went back and shot a scene, and it was terrifying and temporarily validating, but afterwards I felt a little empty.”

“[Porn] corporations prey on callow young women and trap them legally into contracts when they’re vulnerable.”Fight the New Drug. (2021). Mia Khalifa’s story is proof of the porn Industry’s predatory business practices. Retrieved from https://fightthenewdrug.org/mia-khalifas-porn-experience-is-further-proof/COPY 

“Even if I fail fighting for my life back, I’m not stopping until I can protect every young girl from getting taken advantage of by these predatory contracts.”vt. (2020). Mia Khalifa thanks fans after 550,000 people sign petition to have her movies removed from the internet. Retrieved from https://vt.co/entertainment/celebrity/mia-khalifa-thanks-fans-after-550000-people-sign-petition-to-have-her-movies-removed-from-the-internetCOPY 

Trafficking in the industry

Any time a porn performer is tricked, coerced, or forced into doing something sexual they’re not comfortable with, that is—by legal definition—sex trafficking. Even if they’ve been performing in porn for years, and even if they go home with a paycheck and sleep in their own bed.

Related: How the Porn Industry Profits From Nonconsensual Content and Abuse

Unfortunately, trafficking cases like these are rarely prosecuted, largely because performers are stigmatized and because abuse is often an accepted part of the porn industry. We’re not saying that all porn contains abuse, but it’s also important to recognize that it’s virtually impossible to guarantee that any given pornographic content is completely consensual or abuse-free.

The exploitation of vulnerable people is tied to a high, insatiable demand for pornography, especially more extreme content. It’s time to get educated about porn’s harms and stop the demand.

 

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