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After Rape Accusations, Female Porn Stars Stand in Solidarity Against James Deen

After Stoya accused fellow porn star James Deen of raping her, other women in the industry are no longer staying silent about his alleged abuses.
November 30, 2015, 10:05pm
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Update: December 2, 2015: Two more women have accused James Deen of violating their boundaries on set. Porn star Amber Rayne told the Daily Beast that, while filming an anal scene, she was "punched in the face" by Deen. By her account, Deen's behavior was "extreme." After hitting her, Rayne says, "He just starts shoving things in to the point where he ripped it and I bled everywhere. There was so much blood I couldn't finish the scene." Her injuries required stitches.

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_Another performer, _Kora Peters, also told the publication about a non-consensual encounter she had with Deen during a shoot in which she explicitly expressed that she would not have anal sex: "James [Deen] kept trying to get inside my ass but I kept pushing him away, so he choked me then he slammed my face down into the couch and forced himself in my ass anyway," Peters said. "The crew all high-fived him and told him what a great job he did getting an anal scene for the price of a boy/girl scene." Peters said that when she tried to tell her agent about the alleged assault he said that she "should feel honored that James wanted me so badly because he was one of the best male performers."

Since November 28th—when adult performer Stoya alleged, in a tweet, that James Deen raped her—two more women have come forward with accusations against her fellow porn star and ex-boyfriend.

"James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can't nod and smile when people bring him up anymore," Stoya tweeted. Soon after, Joanna Angel, another performer who also dated Deen, took to the social media platform to denounce him: "He's dead on the inside and dead to me. He's literally the worst person I've ever met. That's all I'll say for now #solidaritywithstoya."

Two days later, performer Tori Lux published an essay on the Daily Beast about a violent encounter she had with Deen. After firmly telling Deen no when he asked her to "sniff his testicles," Lux alleged that Deen assaulted her. "He proceeded to straddle my chest, pinning down my arms with his knees," she recalled. "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." And another performer, Ashley Fires, told the Daily Beast that she refuses to work with Deen because "he almost raped me."

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Deen, a self-styled "male feminist" who has even been interviewed in this publication, has denied these claims. Calling the accusations against him "false" and "defamatory," he also tweeted, "I respect women and I know and respect limits both professionally and privately."

That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks.
— Stoya (@stoya) November 28, 2015

But the women of the porn industry resoundingly disagree. Porn Star Kayden Kross came out in support of Stoya and obliquely criticized Deen's defensive tweets, and performer Sydney Leathers says that when she was first starting out in porn she was warned about the way Deen interacts with women on set.

"I met Joanna Angel at an EXXXOTICA Expo. She started giving me advice about the industry because I honestly knew nothing—I didn't know the business side of it and I didn't know the people," Leathers said over the phone. "I don't remember if I asked her specifically who I shouldn't work with, or if she gave this advice freely, but I just remember she said that James Deen likes to break women. She said he'll push you to your limits intentionally and break certain boundaries intentionally. Basically, I came away from the conversation thinking that James Deen was someone that I shouldn't be around."

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Indeed, she stayed away from him, and she says that she has never had a negative encounter on set. "I've only done ten scenes, but I have had really good experiences. I haven't had anyone do anything that we haven't discussed prior to shooting. I've even been given checklists to indicate what I will and won't do. I've never had any scary experiences, and I've always been afraid to work with James for that reason," she said.

While Stoya did not immediately respond to Broadly's request for comment, one thing is certain: she is amongst several women who are no longer willing to stay silent about Deen, a towering figure in the industry. Hopefully this outpouring of solidarity also indicates that the widely-held belief that sex workers are somehow complicit in their assault is waning.

As Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, sociologist and author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment, told Broadly, "Powerful women who command public support such as Stoya and Christy Mack destabilize the existing power structure that shames and silences other less high-profile sex workers. Hopefully, this destabilization will eventually result in greater support for sex workers in general."