LOS ANGELES — The Free Speech Coalition, the national trade organization for the adult industry, is asking adult performers to be extremely wary about working with Netflix, or affiliated programs, including the Hot Girls Wanted docuseries produced by Rashida Jones, Ronna Gradus, and Jill Bauer of Herzog & Company.
“We have received nearly a dozen reports of adult performers who say they were manipulated, coerced or lied to during the production of Netflix’s Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On,” says Siouxsie Q James, Director of Policy and Industry Relations for FSC. “Despite repeated attempts to engage with the producers and Netflix about the performer experiences, we’ve only received terse legal justifications for the unethical and exploitative practices reported by performers. We cannot in good conscience recommend that any adult performer or director work with this program, or any program associated with Netflix.”
Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, a serial follow-up to Jones’s controversial 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted, debuted on Netflix in April 2017. Several performers reported that their images had been used without their consent, effectively outing them as sex workers. Another performer’s real name and identifying information was used in the series, despite assurances from producers that they would not. She and members of her family were subsequently harassed. Others reported being pressured to discuss or do things they were uncomfortable with, or had been assured they would not be asked to do.
The original Hot Girls Wanted documentary was poorly received by adult performers, many of whom felt it was misrepresentative, exploitative and demeaning. Some performers involved in the subsequent production say they were lied to or offered misrepresentative answers by producers about the nature of the program, and if it was related to Hot Girls Wanted. In response to the complaints, series producers suggested the performers were lying in order to get attention.
FSC has released two videos that have received over 50k views, one featuring adult film performer Annika Albrite and one featuring counter-human trafficking advocate Jamie Walton, explaining why sex workers and their allies are so upset with the Netflix series. Hundreds of performers, academics and documentarians signed a public letter condemning the series and the unethical practices of the show.
FSC is working on guidelines for documentary filmmakers about the ethical issues related to coverage of sex work, as well as building resources for performers who might be approached to participate in a documentary.
“Netflix has refused to even meet with performers, or to discuss with them how the series might avoid such problems in the future,” says James. “As a result, we’re warning those in our community about working with the series or the network.”
Any performer who is approached by a producer, or has questions about their rights in regards to a documentary contract, is encouraged to contact Free Speech Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.