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The Whore Next Door: A Porn Star Sex Scandal - By - December 9, 2015 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

The Whore Next Door: A Porn Star Sex Scandal

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the porn industry was rocked with — of all things — a sex scandal. Writer-performer Stoya came forward with allegations that James Deen, porn's prolific boy-next-door (as well as Stoya's) ex-boyfriend, assaulted her.

“James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, and used my safe word. I just can't nod and smile when people bring him up anymore,” Stoya tweeted on Nov. 28, prompting eight women (and counting) to come forward about surviving assaults from Deen.

Ten thousand retweets and one viral hashtag later, Deen is facing some serious consequences. Formerly referred to as both the Ryan Gosling and the Bob Dylan of porn, Deen may now be a contender for — at best — the title of “Bill Cosby of adult entertainment.” So speculated Daily Beast writer and former Deen co-star Aurora Snow, anyway.

“The only thing that surprises me about the situation is that it took this long for one of his many victims to go public with their story,” said San Francisco porn star Daisy Ducati. “The list of performers who will privately name Deen as their abuser is endless.”

Ducati added, “Stoya is incredibly brave for doing what she did.”

Lusted after and beloved by an army of female fans, Deen garnered tremendous crossover appeal and heartthrob status, even shooting a mainstream film with Lindsay Lohan, The Canyons, in 2013. In 2012, The Observer wrote, “Onscreen he seems to exhibit savant-level responsiveness to his partner's cues, anticipating (correctly, by the sounds of it) when she'd like to be kissed and when she'd like to be slapped.”

The glowing praise Deen once received, specifically from feminist sex writers, now appears haunting in light of so many victims coming forward. The clues were there, but no one wanted to believe that the charmer with the good looks might be using them to prey on women, as Deen allegedly has been doing for years. Some people regarded him as a feminist and consent advocate, although he did say on record last year that he didn't care about feminism, describing “Yes Means Yes” consent laws as the “dumbest fucking law I've ever heard of.”

Local BDSM porn studio kink.com, where one of the attacks is said to have occurred, announced on Nov. 30 that it would “cease all ties with James Deen as both a performer and producer.” Known for his work depicting rough, aggressive sex, director John Stagliano of Evil Angel — where Deen shot more than 100 scenes —announced that his company, too, would sever ties with the star. Additionally, Deen's advice column and advertising relationship with The Frisky was swiftly terminated, he stepped down from his role as chairman of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, and the dildo replicating Deen's penis was pulled from the market.

“The porn industry turned its back on a famous, high-earning rapist aeons faster than Hollywood or fashion ever would,” artist Molly Crabapple tweeted, echoing San Francisco comedienne (and former sex worker) Margaret Cho. “Porn seems to deal with sexual abuse allegations faster than all industries, religious institutions, and governments combined,” Cho tweeted.

Though porn isn't the NFL and James Deen isn't Ray Rice, there was a lot of money tied up in this, which makes his swift dismissal so surprising. Cade Metz of Wired recently reported that porn is no longer the industry of high profit margins that it once was, as the big players in the world of online platforms are intent on keeping porn out, reducing the industry's stature. But the rape scandal may reveal an industry culture that is more close-knit than cutthroat, despite the dwindling profits. There may not be much money in porn these days, but it seems that there is something our industry has figured out that professional sports, comedy, religion, and politics are all still grappling with. Since the allegations have surfaced, there has been very little foot-dragging, excuse-making, or writing the incident off as a he-said, she-said.

Although there is never any good news when it comes to rape allegations, it's refreshing to see an industry respond with solidarity for those brave enough to speak up.