That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks. – Stoya
It’s easy for those of us who live in, frequent or even occasionally visit the demimonde to forget that well-known names and “front-page” news in our circles may barely even register on the radar of society at large. Because of that, and the fact that I get a lot of “crossover” traffic, I think it’s important that I report stories of that sort even when I’m behind the curve by days; one good aspect of the lag time is that it allows me to pick up on details, developments and nuances before actually committing myself to an opinion in writing.
With all that in mind, here are a few facts of which most of you probably know some, and some of you probably know all, and a few of you may know none: James Deen is a porn star who has for some time now been very popular with women for his boyish good looks and charming manner. Though he’s done many movies featuring rough sex, BDSM and rape, he was a favorite of many sex-positive feminists for his public statements about consent and other feminist issues, and though he has not publicly identified as a “feminist” many others have certainly applied the label to him. Then last Saturday, his ex-girlfriend, the porn actress Stoya, accused him of having raped her; another ex-girlfriend, Joanna Angel, supported Stoya, tweeting that Deen was “dead on the inside” and “literally the worst person I’ve ever met” (though she declined to say more until Wednesday). By Monday two other actresses had revealed similar incidents (one sexual assault and one attempted rape), and by Wednesday two more came forward to explain that on-camera rough sex scenes with Deen were actually rape. In the meantime, many sex workers had expressed solidarity with Stoya, and some had sided with Deen against his accusers (weirdly expressing sanctimonious bullshit about the law, as though US law ever treats sex workers fairly or reasonably); several video companies and websites severed ties with him, and he resigned from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee.
Naturally, neofeminist vultures like Meghan Murphy descended with lightning speed to blame porn for Deen’s actions, or even worse to claim that there’s no moral difference between rape and consensual sex work…eerily echoing the misogynistic “defense” offered by the vile Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver. Those of you who wonder why none of Deen’s victims ever came forward before Stoya did should consider these anti-whore obscenities before verbalizing your doubts; if you think they’re lying or exaggerating simply because they never said anything before, then you had better be ready to tar me with the same brush because I never reported any of my rapes or attempted rapes, either. Sex workers (or even those merely accused of being sex workers, as was my case the first time) who admit to having been raped must not only endure the typical gauntlet of accusations, shaming and victim-blaming all rape victims must run; in addition, we are subjected to extra tortures from moralists claiming that we “invite” rape or “place ourselves in harm’s way” or “deserve” it, or neofeminists saying that there’s no difference between our normal work and rape anyhow, or even claiming that our work contributes to the supposed “rape culture” that they blame for the actions of individuals. Moral retards like the aforementioned Murphy are only too happy to use our personal tragedies as ammunition in their assault on our livelihoods; is it any wonder we stay quiet? Would you report a workplace injury or even an attack by a co-worker if you knew lunatics would use it in an attempt to shut down your entire profession, an attempt which might result in your arrest and prosecution for felonies? Yeah, I didn’t think so. I didn’t even say anything to the others in the same hotel suite for fear of ruining my sisters’ chance to make a lot of money; I would imagine some of Deen’s victims had similar thoughts when they decided not to say anything about one of the most popular male performers in porn.
I’m fully aware that I’m biased in favor of other women, especially other whores, when I hear about a reported rape or assault; when Crystal Mangum accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in ’06, I instantly believed her and, had I been writing this blog then, would almost certainly have said so in print. It’s because of the Duke case and others like it that I am a little warier than I used to be, and obviously I would never support state violence or prosecutorial railroading (a la Mike Nifong) of Deen. But when five of my whore sisters all risk censure, shaming, and potential career damage to expose a malefactor, you bet I’m going to side with them. And if after reading this column you still can’t understand that, I suggest you do sex work for a few years and then get back to me about it.