Read the full article by Tina Horn at RollingStone.com   Jon Ronson’s new podcast delves into the 2017 death of August Ames, which sent shockwaves through the adult industry At the end of 2017, adult film actress August Ames had just been nominated for the third year in a row for Female Performer of the Year at the Adult Video News Awards. She had achieved a level of fame and longevity that is increasingly rare for porn performers in a constantly changing industry. On December 4th, after making some controversial statements on Twitter regarding her choice not to work with “crossover talent” — male performers who had previously appeared in gay porn — Ames experienced intense online backlash. Suddenly, she was at the center of heated debates with no simple answers, with the rights of women’s bodily autonomy positioned against the rights of the LGBT community to speak out about HIV discrimination.

On December 5th, 2017, Ames took her own life. Her shocking death galvanized months of mainstream media discussions on homophobia, online call-out culture, and sex workers’ access to mental health care. Was Ames perpetuating harmful stereotypes about the “risks” of sex with men who had sex with men? Did the porn community go too far in piling on her for a few off-the-cuff remarks? Did cyberbullying drive her to suicide?

A year later, journalist Jon Ronson — whose work has previously investigated both social media mob mentality and the nuances of modern life working in porn — is attempting to resolve some of these questions with a new Audible exclusive podcast, The Last Days of August. Working closely with producer Lina Misitzis, he explores the circumstances contributing to Ames’ tragic death at the age of 23. The Last Days of August works as a hybrid of Ronson’s first longform audio piece about the adult industry, The Butterfly Effect, and You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, his popular book about online social punishment. It unfolds with the tense narrative of a true-crime podcast, with Ronson and Misitzis’ anxieties about the project’s sensitive nature as a meta-emotional thread. They speak extensively with Ames’ husband Kevin Moore, her brother James and members of her community, including Wicked Pictures contract star Jessica Drake, whose tweets about the crossover controversy also made her the subject of much online vitriol this past year. One advantage of longform audio nonfiction about pornographers is that it allows an often misrepresented and misunderstood group to truly speak in their own voices. As a result, they come across as utterly human, with their own hypocrisies, moral convictions and regrets. This narrative of the life and death of a complicated young woman from Nova Scotia is most gut-wrenching in the places where the stories of her colleagues and loved ones don’t quite add up.