The following letter was sent to Rashida Jones, Netflix and the producers behind Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On. Since the series debuted, numerous adult performers have raised issues about how they were treated by the producers of the series.
As the trade association of the adult industry, we take issues of privacy violations and exploited labor seriously.
Several workers involved in the making of the Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On report having their images used without their knowledge or consent, as well as having their legal names revealed against their will. Another has alleged that her image was used despite direct assurances from the producers that this would not happen.
It is ironic — and disturbing — that a mainstream series which purports to address workplace ethics among adult film performers and focus on issues of empowerment appears to exploit them for its own gain. If the allegations against this project are substantiated, the producers may be perpetuating unfair labor practices against adult performers on their own production.
For over twenty-five years, our organization has fought, and won, seemingly impossible legal and political battles protecting the privacy and freedoms of those who work in the adult entertainment industry, as our community is under constant scrutiny — even from those who may have the best intentions.
Privacy is a huge issue for performers, and in direct correlation to their personal and physical safety. Many performers face daily threats of harassment and violence from over-zealous fans and stalkers, and many are stigmatized for the work they do by families and communities. Paradoxically, this series may have made the lives of the workers featured in it substantially less safe by increasing the visibility and accessibility of their private information, such as birth names, and by broadcasting images without consent, and without regard to how that might affect these performers. The dismissal of such concerns with a reference to “fair use” speaks volumes, as do Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus’ remarks discrediting and dismissing the claims and experiences of the workers affected by the series.
Yes, the use of a publically available live web show may technically fall within legal guidelines of “fair use,” but it is unethical and dangerous for producers who claim to be on the side of the performers to then take those images, and use them to “out” vulnerable workers. While there is no established code of ethics for documentary filmmaking, Dr Jerry Mosher of the Department of Film and Electronic Arts California State University, Long Beach outlined in a presentation from 2011 the two universally adopted standards: “Do no harm” and “Protect the vulnerable”, as well as the importance of informed consent. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On fails on all three.
Some in our community are fortunate enough to afford to be open about their connection to the adult entertainment industry, but many more are not. Each of us, then, is entitled to make our own decision about how we identify ourselves to the world — how much of our identities and what details of our lives other people can access. Revealing private information about those who work in the adult entertainment industry — information which an individual has chosen to keep private — may result in consequences more serious than we know or care to imagine. In a world which can still be viciously hostile towards our community, we must do all we can to ensure that every individual’s choice in regards to revealing their legal names and private information is respected and protected. Sometimes media makers forget the need for that respect, and it is no compromise with free speech to criticize them for that, because free speech truly does have consequences. Use it, but use it wisely.
The rights of adult performers should not, and will not be ignored. We ask Netflix and the producers of Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On to immediately pause the distribution of this series before more damage is done. If your intentions are honorable, performers featured should be able to consent to having their image used, or legal names exposed. There are simple ways to accommodate their needs without violating their rights and protections. As the trade association of this industry, we are happy to serve as a resource moving forward, to prevent future missteps and violations.
The FSC Board of Directors adopted a privacy statement in 2016, a relevant portion of which we quote here:
“Revealing private information … may risk consequences more serious than we know or care to imagine. In a world which is still — at some times and in some places—viciously hostile to us, we all need to respect every individual’s choice to participate without revealing our legal names or other private matters about our lives.”
We hope that you will consider the above and respect every individual’s right to privacy.
This post was updated on May 1, 2017HotGirlsWantedTurnedOn