Advertisement
This story is over 5 years old
Stuff

An Open Letter to Porn Star Christy Mack

Following news of the horrifying assault of adult film star Christy Mack, a young journalist looks back on her first meeting with the 23-year-old actress.

by Kristy Hoffman
Aug 12 2014, 6:50pm

Photo via Marcos Rivera



Photo via Marcos Rivera.

Christy Mack was my first.

I moved to Toronto, a city where I knew no one, to intern at VICE Canada, and within the first week my editor asked me to interview a porn star. She was becoming big in the business, and we shared the same name.

The morning of the interview, I woke up, lit a cigarette, and quietly reviewed my notes at the kitchen table of what I called the Bug Sanctuary, a filthy house I was staying in until I found my own apartment. As I sat there, I contemplated whether and how I would ask Christy about the time her then boyfriend, an MMA fighter named War Machine, tweeted that he had raped her.

Although a report from Statistics Canada concludes that there were 102,500 victims of intimate-partner violence in 2010; although my own mother was once victimized by a similar figure; although I am a journalist and, as such, possess a license of sorts to ask the “tough questions,” I could not ask Christy about that. 

I was nervous and self-conscious before I met her in Toronto's Liberty Village. I wore a lamb fur coat and wandered in a sort of daze past the people and places on my way.

When I arrived, I sat on the arm of a couch in a room with a pool table. MMA fighting posters plastered the walls of the office we were in, and I mentally reviewed my questions for Christy. I hoped they would not offend her. I hoped they would be different, somehow, than the ones she had been asked before.

She arrived with another person and, as if by instinct, walked past a group of people playing pool and introduced herself to me.

“Hi, I’m Christy,” she said, extending a delicate, small hand. “I’m Kristy too,” I said, and we both smiled. We were escorted into a room, and before I could begin, she told me how much she loved my coat. “It’s so beautiful,” she said in her sweet voice, petting it (as noted in my original article, not a euphemism). Throughout the interview she acted like a friend and encouraged me to believe I possessed the right skills and deserved the chance I had as a journalist in Toronto. 

Thanks to my job I get to meet interesting people on a regular basis. Usually we talk, I write an article, and then I pretty much forget about them. Occasionally, however, I meet someone whom I think about for months and even years after an interview. Christy—thanks to her gentle nature, kindness, and sincerity—is one of those people, and it is for that reason that I am heartbroken over the events that transpired on Friday, August 8.

Christy has alleged that her former boyfriend, Jon Koppenhaver, who legally changed his name to War Machine in 2008, showed up to the Las Vegas home the couple lived in before he left Christy last May and moved to San Diego. Christy was with a friend at the time, whom War Machine attacked and then kicked out of the house before forcing Christy to shower in front of him. Christy alleges War Machine dragged her out of the shower, beat her face, and used a dull knife to cut off most of her hair.

“I believed I was going to die,” Christy wrote. “He told me he was going to rape me, but was disappointed in himself when he could not get hard.”

The knife War Machine was using on Christy broke. She reports that he went into the kitchen and suspects he was there to look for a sharper knife. Christy says she took that opportunity to run out the back door, naked. She hopped the fence and knocked on multiple neighbors' doors until one finally answered and brought her to the hospital. This week, she’s being treated for 18 broken bones around her eyes. Her nose is broken in two places. She has missing and broken teeth, a fractured rib, a ruptured liver, and a face so swollen she can’t chew or talk.

“He has beaten me many times before, but never this badly,” she wrote.

The photographs included in her statement (which you can see here, if you can stomach it) show her face and body so badly beaten, broken, and bruised that she is nearly unrecognizable. Bellator, an MMA promotion company, has since cut ties with War Machine. Other than a series of horrifying tweets professing his love for Christy, War Machine has not been heard from, and the Las Vegas police's manhunt for him continues.

Christy, this morning I read the transcript from our interview. It saddens and infuriates me that when we spoke, months before you sustained the injuries you must now endure, you proudly told me that you play strong characters and, for that reason, porn can be empowering.

“I’m never degraded, never hit, never choked out, nothing like that,” you said.

“I don’t shoot nearly as much as I used to,” you told me. “Partly because I’m with Jon. Going out and filming, it just doesn’t feel natural anymore, even though I do love it. It doesn’t feel right when you have somebody you love at home.”

I am profoundly sad that this nightmare has happened to you. You were my first assignment for VICE and the first person in Toronto who, by being compelling and smart, adorable and interesting, reminded me why, as a journalist, I gave up my old life to be here.



@kristy__hoffman