Over the past several weeks, several adult film performers have joined the #metoo campaign, drawing attention to sexual harassment and assault. Their experiences — of physical assault, non-consent and sexual pressure — have upset and angered us as members of the community.
Stigma, doubt, and shame keep those who endure assault and harassment from first coming forward with their stories, and then again from being believed. In a society that routinely disregards the voices and experiences of sex workers, stories told by adult performers face added hurdles.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, for those in the bleachers: Just because an adult performer makes a living with their body, does not mean that anyone — not a co-star, not a colleague, not a lover, not a fan, not a director, not an agent, not a doctor — has any right to it that the performer doesn’t grant freely and enthusiastically. Sex work is real work, and as an industry, there can be no tolerance or shelter for those who would harass, pressure, coerce, touch or otherwise assault an adult worker. No one waives their right to consent just because they’ve worked in adult film, or have appeared naked, or are eager to book a shoot, or have contracted to do a film, or had sex with someone previously, or work in a sex-related industry. To assume otherwise is not only wrong, it’s criminal.
Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, we’ve heard the same excuses surface, from both predators and enablers: “I was just having a little fun,” “She wanted it,” “She didn’t say no,” “It’s part of the job,” “I remember it differently,” “We’d already had sex,” “It wasn’t a big deal.”
There can be no blurred lines in our industry when it comes to consent, and there can be no grey zones. Because of the uniqueness of our workplace, we need to work doubly hard to secure consent, and to never assume anything. Just as acts are negotiated and consented to prior to a scene, so should anything that happens off-set, whether at a party or after shooting, at an audition, a meet-and-greet or a convention, in a hotel room or on a date.
FSC has long supported the Bill of Rights put forth by APAC, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, which states in part “I have the right not to be pressured to perform sexual acts off camera at any time before, after or during a shoot.”
The safety and well-being of adult film performers is of the utmost importance, which is why informed consent, respect of choice and control, and the protection of privacy and identity are non-negotiable tenets of our industry.
Because of the social stigma associated with sex work, it’s even more important for us to listen to those who do come forward, risking ridicule and reputation. We have to support those who speak out, and be willing to take action to stop it from happening again. We have fought countless battles to ensure that our performers are able to work legally, safely, openly and ethically. This is even more important.
Those who continue to work with those who harass or assault performers are complicit in their actions. Those who turn a blind eye, or rationalize non-consensual behavior enable those assaults. Those who disagree are not welcome in our industry.