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Two More Women Join Stoya in Accusing Porn Star James Deen of Sexual Assault

[brief pic description][Trigger warning: descriptions of sexual assault and responses from less-than-sensitive people on Twitter]

It all started with a brave tweet from Stoya – popular porn star, writer, sex worker advocate, and co-proprietress of “curated smut” site, – alleging that her ex-boyfriend, fellow porn star, James Deen, had raped her.

As much support as she received for coming forward there was, of course, the inevitable misogynistic rape-apologist backlash that proceeded to tell her what she “should have” done “if” this was indeed true:


Never mind that there’s a statute of limitations on when someone can be charged/convicted of rape depending on the state.  and that everyone deals with trauma differently. To tell the victim of a crime what they “should’ve done” in response to being violated is disrespectful and harmful to other survivors. Even more infuriating than responses like this, however, were the folks who seem to think that Stoya couldn’t have been raped because of her chosen profession.

Never mind that Deen himself is in that profession. It seems that there’s a double-standard for women everywhere. People generally don’t comment on men in the porn industry, but women? They “get what they deserve.” Which is apparently different than what men “deserve.”  *sigh* It’s understandable that it was difficult for Stoya to come forward at all. In addition to dealing with her own emotional well-being, Deen was a darling in the porn industry, and one of the adult film industry’s most mainstream stars. When she and Deen were together, they were considered a “power couple,” and from a professional perspective, it must have been difficult for Stoya to navigate the fact that she’d need to make these allegations against such a bankable (and therefore, protected) male star. But she did. And her bravery has inspired others Deen has assaulted to come forward. In an essay for The Daily Beast, porn star, Tori Lux, comes forward about her experience with Deen back in 2011. She writes:

While James wasn’t performing with me that day, he was present on set—and almost immediately after I’d finished my scene he began to antagonize me. I hadn’t even had time to dress myself when he said, with a smirk on his face, “Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” “Nope,” I replied in a neutral tone. “I’ll repeat myself: Tori Lux, would you like to sniff my testicles?” he asked, more aggressively this time. I replied with a firm “No,” in order to establish my boundary—which James then disregarded by grabbing me by the throat and shoving me down onto a mattress on the floor. He proceeded to straddle my chest, pinning down my arms with his knees. Then, he raised his hand high above his head, swinging it down and hitting me in the face and head with an open palm. He did this five or six times—hard—before finally getting off of me.

She then talks about how women in the porn industry are encouraged to stay silent about experiences like this, and how the stigma against sex workers is to blame. Meanwhile, in an interview for a separate story for The Daily Beast, porn star Ashley Fires recounts her own experience with Deen:

The reason I put him on my ‘no list’ was because he almost raped me. The only time I’d ever seen this guy, he walked into the green room at Kink [studios], picks up Jessie Cox like a caveman, grabs her by the hair, and takes her off somewhere… and I can only imagine. …Later on that night, I was getting out of the shower of the communal bathroom at Kink, I reach for my towel to dry off, and he comes up from behind me and pushes himself and his erection into my butt. He pushes me against the sink and starts grabbing on me and I was like, ‘No, no, no James, no,’ and he released me from his grasp, and says, ‘You know, later if you want to fuck around I’m in room whatever-it-was. I was like, ‘Fuck you.’ I didn’t even know this guy, he was so out of line and entitled with my body.

Over at The Frisky, Amelia McDonnell-Perry decided to end their popular What Would James Deen Do? sex advice column in light of the allegations, and a formal decision will be reached by End of Day today as to how The Frisky will handle the already-existing columns, which McDonnell-Perry clearly wants to pull altogether. Many of Deen’s former fans, myself included, are both angry and disappointed, because he was supposed to be “one of the good ones.” He talked a big feminist game, but apparently his penchant for sexual assault was an open secret in the porn industry. He’s basically the Bill Cosby of porn.

So what does Deen have to say about all this?

Except that it isn’t just Stoya anymore. Hopefully it won’t take countless other women coming forward before the porn industry takes action against one of its biggest stars. Porn stars choose to make a living by having sex on camera for the viewing pleasure of others. This does not mean that it is okay for their workplaces to be unsafe. The porn industry is already rigorous as far as their STI testing protocols. Here’s hoping they become equally rigorous in their protection of their employees from predators in their ranks.

(Featured image via Michael Dorausch on Flickr)

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