Screenshot from "Night Out with Kinsley Karter​" ​
Screenshot from "Night Out with Kinsley Karter
pornography

A New Wave of Reckoning Is Sweeping the Porn Industry

Dozens of women came forward in the last week about abuse on porn sets, and performers say it's just the beginning.
15 June 2020, 4:16am

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

A new wave of sexual misconduct accusations is sweeping across the porn industry this week, as women started coming forward about abuse they've experienced on multiple porn sets.

One of these dozens of accusations comes from performer Lulu Chu, who said porn producer Kelly Madison drove her to Madison's home, where her husband, Ryan Madison, was waiting to shoot a scene. Kelly dropped Chu off and left, and the two were alone in the house when filming began, according to Chu.

"He asked me if I was okay with choking, which I said yes to," Chu told me in a Twitter message. "I honestly do enjoy it, and I figured he would just do a casual choke, not anything too serious. But he pressed DOWN pretty hard, on to my windpipe. Not grabbing the sides like most people do, which is safer. I started to lose focus, the room swam around me."

Then he slapped her, she said—hard enough that the sting shocked her back into consciousness. She recalled tears streaming down her face.

"I thought that since I didn’t tell him slapping is one of my hard limits, it was my fault that he slapped me and we had to stop," she said. She finished the scene, and hasn't spoken publicly about that day since—until now.

One of the first women to come forward with allegations against Madison is performer Annabel Redd. On June 5—which she says was the day after her scene with Madison came out—she tweeted about her experience, asking people not to watch it. This encouraged dozens more women to come forward with similar stories about Porn Fidelity and Teen Fidelity, for whom Madison directs and shoots with his wife, Kelly Madison.

Redd told Motherboard that prior to shooting she made it clear to Madison that her "don'ts" included creampie, anal, and deepthroat. During the scene, she said, he violated several of these limits, in addition to being extremely rough.

"He forced me to deepthroat several times until I puked all over him," Redd told me. "When I told him that I wanted that cut, he told me that his fans loved that stuff and then proceeded to rub my spitup and vomit on my breasts and vagina."

Like each of the women I talked to for this story, she says was also alone in the house with him and feared for her safety. They each also mentioned choking to a point where they were unable to communicate.

"I was alone with this man so far from where I was staying, I thought that my best chances for surviving my experience with as little harm to myself as possible," Redd said.

Kelly Madison Media, which owns Porn Fidelity and Teen Fidelity, did not respond multiple requests for comment on the allegations brought forward in this story, but a Kelly Madison Media company representative told XBIZ that “Our company takes any allegation of physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse against any female talent seriously.” But in the same statement, Kelly Madison Media called the allegations from performer Annabel Reed false.

"2020 is fucking kicking people's ass and it's time to get some things straight and fixed."

Ryan Madison, whose Pornhub channel videos alone have more than 46 million views and has acted and directed in hundreds of videos and won multiple Adult Video Network awards, is one of several male performers and directors who have been publicly accused of misconduct on social media in recent weeks. In the past week alone, people within the industry have come out with allegations against several directors and male performers, including but not limited to:

  • Performer Aria Lee said that award-winning director Craven Moorehead assaulted her twice last year, once while shooting a scene for Pure Taboo, owned by a Gamma Films Group and again on another occasion off-set. On June 6, Gamma responded with a statement saying that an investigation showed "it has been impossible to validate the veracity of the allegations in question," and suggested anyone with allegations of abuse to call the police. But on Tuesday, Karl Bernard, president of Gamma Films Group, said in a statement to Motherboard that he decided on Monday to "sever ties with Black Wings Media and its director Craven Moorehead.”
  • Performer Maya Kendrick alleged on Twitter that talent agency Motley Models president and CEO Dave Rock used his position to coerce a model into having sex with him multiple times. Rock released a statement on industry news sites XBIZ and AVN (which Motley Models also provided to Motherboard directly) claiming he "engaged in consensual sex based on what I believed at the time to be mutual attraction... I take full responsibility for using bad judgment and assuming that there was a mutual connection. I was foolish…but to allege that these encounters were forced or that she was pressured in any way is categorically false and only serves to undermine the legitimate claims of abuse and assault, which still happen all too frequently in our industry."

The combination of the Black Lives Matter protest movement, which has led to more people to stand up for justice across many industries and the moving of porn creators to independent and creator-owned platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic has empowered some women to speak up about abuse in the industry, sources I spoke to said.

Several performers and directors I talked to this week say that the industry is experiencing a moment of reckoning—and according to them, it's only getting started.

***

Adult performer Kinsley Karter was flattered when Porn Fidelity, one of the top 30 channels on Pornhub, invited her to do a shoot with Ryan Madison in 2018.

She said her excitement turned to dread when, she says, Madison kissed her suddenly and hard during the pre-scene photo shoot. She also realized the makeup artist and the person who arranged the shoot—both women—had left the house without saying goodbye. She was alone with Madison, who would act, direct, and operate the camera.

Karter said the shoot increasingly pushed and crossed her boundaries. Madison kissed her roughly, she said, then went down on her and used his teeth. She said they moved on to shoot a blowjob, which was so rough she vomited.

"While rinsing off in the shower I started to cry quietly. I didn’t want him to hear me sobbing," she said. "I couldn’t believe how rough he was with me. I thought this was a vanilla [boy/girl] scene, not a kink scene. This kind of rough act I have to mentally prepare for."

She knew something wasn't right, but was afraid to end the scene.

Mid-scene, she says he asked her if he could cum inside of her. This is something that's typically negotiated and agreed upon before a shoot begins—as are limits for things like choking, slapping, and other BDSM acts—and not in the middle of a shoot. In the moment, Karter told Madison yes. "I could not wait for him to stop fucking me. I wanted this to be over already."

"Porn is supposed to be a fun time," she said. "I haven’t encountered the dark side of the porn industry until this day."

Chu and Karter's claims about Madison are being echoed across social media this week by other women who worked with him who described similar excessive and unexpected roughness and improper and dangerous choking.

So many women came forward about Madison's misconduct that performer Ginger Banks started a Change.org petition demanding several Mindgeek-owned sites—specifically, Pornhub, Redtube, and YouPorn—remove the Porn Fidelity videos from their platforms.

"It is completely unethical to allow the videos of his abuse to remain up on Pornhub, and to allow this man to continue profiting off of his victims," the petition states. "We immediately demand that Pornhub, and all of the Mindgeek sister sites, remove every video featuring Ryan Madison, and every video made under the Porn Fidelity website."

The Teen Fidelity and Porn Fidelity channels, which were ranked as the 55th and 30th most popular on Pornhub in May and have hundreds of millions of views, have been removed from Pornhub. Banks told me that Pornhub didn't communicate with her about their removal. Pornhub acknowledged Motherboard's request for comment but did not say if it removed the pages, when, and why.

Teen Fidelity and Porn Fidelity videos are still easy to find on Mindgeek sites and other porn sites. As Motherboard previously reported, the process for reporting abusive videos and preventing them from being reuploaded is severely flawed.

There remain several videos featuring him shooting scenes with his accusers, including Chu, on xHamster, another top porn site. I asked Alex Hawkins, a spokesperson for xHamster, if the company planned to remove any of those videos. He said that he hadn't seen the petition, and had not received any direct requests for the videos to be removed.

"However, I've now looked on Twitter and read some of the allegations... They are very disturbing," Hawkins said. "In the past, we've used either criminal complaints, for example, with Girls Do Porn, or complaints from people who are recorded without their consent, as the basis for removing videos. This has been the industry standard, but as an industry and a company, it seems like we may need a new standard. I've asked our legal team and others at the company to try and determine how we move forward ... with these scenes and also with other complaints that surface."

Do you have experiences to share about how the porn industry handles abuse allegations? We'd love to hear from you. Contact Samantha Cole securely on the messaging app Signal at +6469261726, direct message on Twitter, or by email: samantha.cole@vice.com

Regardless of the reason Pornhub removed the Porn Fidelity and Teen Fidelity channels, people in the industry are using this moment to push for greater control over the content that ends up on tube sites. Another petition from the same group is demanding that Mindgeek sites only allow uploads from verified accounts, to prevent abusive content and theft. That petition has more than 1,500 signatures as of publication.

"I think people outside the industry use our abuse stories as clickbait," adult performer Allie Eve Knox told me in a Twitter message. "They sensationalize the abuse, victim blame, etc but this time, I think they will see that we are holding the industry accountable—from the producers to the companies to the performers to the agents to the mother fucking industry media. Everyone is having a reckoning. 2020 is fucking kicking people's ass and it's time to get some things straight and fixed."

***

Knox said that while this isn't the first time the industry has seen allegations of abuse, it's a unique moment that's been a long time coming.

"Performers have put up with this shit for years. Decades," she said. "And I think the MeToo movement really inspired women (specifically women) to come forward WHEN OTHER women come forward. It's a solidarity. A sisterhood. Something safer about when women do it in numbers."

In addition to #MeToo, Knox attributes the recent outpouring of stories to a combination of factors: First is the industry's pandemic response, which called for a production hold to avoid spreading coronavirus. The whole studio ecosystem was forced to adapt, either by supporting performers with special at-home content, or by getting on platforms like OnlyFans that sell content directly to consumers, cutting out the production middle men and studio contracts altogether. Being blacklisted or denied bookings because you set your own boundaries and stuck to them is no longer the career-ending decision it used to be for performers, when they can create, own, and promote their own content on fan platforms.

Second, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in the last several weeks has fueled a general sense of power coming back to the people, Knox said. Going forward, she and others are planning to hold producers, agents, directors, and industry media accountable, she said—with plans to start formulating guidelines for performers to advocate for their own rights, education around how contracts work, and shared lists of companies and performers that have a history of mistreatment.

"They must know by now what he does. They are complicit."

Poorly-written and enacted legislation has made it harder for performers to speak out about abuse they experience on set. The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2018 not only put sex workers in danger by taking away their ability to screen full-service clients, but made it more difficult for studio performers and anyone in the industry to speak up about issues in their trade.

"100% FOSTA made it harder to speak out," Banks told me. "People tell you that if you speak up about any abuses you see like this that it will be used against the industry. And they are not wrong." She told me she's concerned that anti-porn organizations will use abuses against the industry to argue for abolition, or for the full shut down of sites like Pornhub—which most performers don't actually want. They just want platforms to host their content responsibly.

Redd said that agents who repeatedly book performers with known abusers or questionable reputations need to be held accountable. "[Madison] has a reputation for taking advantage of young women who are new in the industry and agencies are still somehow booking with them," she said. "They must know by now what he does. They are complicit."

She also said that she'd like to see more sets employ talent advocates, "someone to make sure that women are being treated fairly and respected on set so that these things don’t happen... I hope that moving forward, the industry learns from this. That we are better vigilant of the ways that women can be taken advantage of."

In a moment when it can seem like every powerful person in an industry is suspect, it's important to acknowledge that abuses like Chu and Karter and the dozens more women coming out about their experiences still aren't the norm.

"Consent is important everywhere, especially in porn," Chu said. "I hope that this situation with everyone coming out not only opens a dialogue of proper boundaries on and off set, but changes the power dynamic completely." Performers are realizing they have the power, Chu said—not producers or studios executives.