Can Porn Stars Be Raped?

decriminalize sex work

Can Porn Stars Be Raped?

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She could have stopped the scene at any point. She just wants attention. She should get another job.

Scrolling through the responses to adult film actress Nikki Benz’s tweet about being raped on set of a porn film quickly reveals public opinion surrounding the topic of consent: porn stars cannot be raped, and neither can anyone in the adult entertainment industry.

Like Hollywood blockbusters, pornographic films are carefully scripted role-plays acted out by willing participants. While pornographic scenes might not be rehearsed or shot over long periods of time, all parties involved must agree on what goes into a scene before the scene is shot. In this way, actors are prepared for anything that might happen and have consented to participate in the sexual acts outlined to them before the start of a scene in a process known as informed consent. Unfortunately, the industry often abuses the idea of legally informed consent by assuming that people who have agreed to participate in a pornographic film have, in fact, agreed to engage in any form of sexual activity. This idea of blanket consent is synonymous with public opinion regarding members of the adult film or entertainment industry, as the commonly held belief is that anyone who has agreed to perform certain sexual activities must have agreed to perform any sexual activity and thus cannot complain when things do not go as they expected.

 

can porn stars be raped

The behind-the-scenes reality of porn is far less glamorous and sexy than the finished product would have us believe. Source https://goo.gl/l7IGSj

 

This type of victim blaming is very common within the porn industry, and consequently many actors and specifically actresses do not speak out about assault on set. Thankfully, Nikki Benz is a large enough name in the industry that Brazzers, one of the biggest online porn companies to date, issued a formal apology and terminated their relationship with the producer who assaulted Benz. While this may seem like a step towards protecting victims of assault within the industry, one only has to look at James Deen’s illustrious career as an award winning porn star and alleged sexual predator to see that this is not the case. After being accused of sexual assault by 13 women Deen went on to be nominated for 20 adult film industry awards in 2016 and continues to produce and star in content that is, to date, still being published on sites like Brazzers. Despite being labelled the Bill Cosby of porn, Deen, like many other male celebrities accused of rape, has not faced any legal consequences for his actions and continues to reap the rewards of his sex-life.

 

rape and porn stars

“I am not politically correct nor do I particularly care if people disagree with me.” Source https://goo.gl/Zb8HDN

 

Unlike Deen, many participants in the porn industry struggle to make ends meet. Adult film stars are paid a one-time fee upon the completion of a shoot or scene, and have very little control over the monetisation of their work. Many are, essentially, freelancers working from job to job without any form of set income to rely on, which in turn can make saying no to a paid job slightly more complicated. If a performer does ultimately turn down a job or end a scene halfway through for whatever reasons, they lose any money they would have made, so there is financial pressure to just get on with it in order to receive a pay check. Connor Habib, vice president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (a position previously held by James Deen) believes this mentality of excluding porn stars from the financial success of their films is exploitative and serves to muddy the waters of informed consent. While this may be the view held by Habib and the APAC, little has been done to provide adult film stars with adequate job security, and thus unreported abuse continues to occur within the industry.

nikki benz rape

Can someone really consent if they believe saying no to something will prevent them from securing a job?

 

So, with all things considered the question remains: can porn stars be raped on set? The answer is a resounding yes.

 

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