I have been a commentator and fan of the adult sexual media for pretty close to 10 years now.
I’ve seen porn starlets and stars come and go; some better than others, some prettier than others; some more successful than others.
Some get in it for the quick thrill of the fast money and the easy sex; then fade out never to be heard from again. A few stick around avd become professionals, even icons, whose personas and performances become frozen into the deepest fantasies of fans forever.
A few do become victims of their successes, getting caught up in the fast life of too much money too quick, and they suffer the consequences of their excesses.
Most of them, though, generally make their money, do their damage, live out their fantasies and dreams, and then decide that they’ve done enough and move on to different phases of their lives…attempting to become just regular folk living their lives.
Of course, the stigma attached to performing active sex on stage or screen or online follows them throughout the rest of their lives. It can be anything from a positive that drives their ambitions, to an albatross that feeds popular prejudice that denies them more “legitimate” employment.
In a truly progressive and sane world, their profession wouldn’t even matter…they would be judged as any other person would ask to be judged: by their deeds and actions and their ethical treatment of people.
Unfortunately, we are far removed from that world…and even in 2011 it is still considered perfectly OK to condemn a woman or a man (mostly, the former) for having a sex life not redeemed by the usual conservative stereotypes.
Such is the case with the practice of “forced outing” a performer who would rather keep her/his private life/information out of publc view.
Forced outing is an issue that has long vexed sexual communities; with the conflict between exposing the hypocrisy of those who publically condemn and seek to repress nonviolent, consensual sexual behavior or media depictions thereof while privately partaking in the same behavior they would condemn in others; and respecting the fundamental right of privacy. It can be a tool of forceful social change when done properly; but it can also be, when taken out of control, a tool of social destruction.
In the case of Pornwikileaks.com, it’s definitely the latter, in my view.
The prototype, naturally, is the highly controversial and successful Wikileaks site that has been both praised and derided for revealing corporate and governmental crimes and misdemeanors.
The Pornwilileaks version, however, has a much darker and more sinister motive….laced with liberal amounts of racism, misogyny, utter hatred of performers…and especially deep, entrenched homophobia. Their “About” page practically leaps out the page with gay hatred; stating that their primary objective is
“To get the gays out of straight porn and illegal gay pimps that have ruined porn and shut it down making condoms mandatory by the government now. The fag loving has got to stop. California is full of gay Mexicans and now they can even marry which is so wrong.”
Now, all of you know my opposition to the condom mandate as proposed by groups like the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and backed by people such as Michael Weinstein and Shelley Lubben. My opposition is based on respect for the performers’ right of free choice and the fact that the existing system of testing and prevention mostly designed and run by AIM has done as effective a job that can be done under the circumstances. I didn’t say that the policy was perfect, only that it was effective, and that forcing condoms down performer’s throats would be not only counterproductive, but also highly ineffective.
Yet, for all their professing of wanting to “save” porn, they really have a strange way of showing their it.
Their site claims to have the relevant information of over 14,000 performers, including their real names, current residential addresses, phone numbers, and even medical information. They boast that they would acquire and reveal information on performers’ medical condition, including highly illegally obtained information on a performer’s STI status.
The site also boasts of a section called “Category High Risk HIV”, in which they place people which they describe as “either gay or [you] fuck fags”.
And how ironic that they attempt to perceive themselves as opposing the condom mandate, when their actual acts in developing their “database” depends almost entirely on destroying the one organization standing in the way of imposing that mandate…namely, AIM.
You see, the reason Pornwikileaks has such a vast database of illegally pilfered information is because one of their agents were able to somehow break into AIM’s database of confidential medical information…thusly making that info available for public posting everywhere.
And then there is the case of a man named Donny Long, whom has been rumored to be the front man behind Pornwikileaks. Long was a former porn performer who broke from the industry about two years ago, but not before launching everything from a website to a message board casting all kinds of fury against nearly everyone. He has developed a reputation as a misantrope and a troll who basically uses every means necessary to out performers he doesn’t like, and he has often used Twitter as his chosen weapon until he got banned due to complaints of stalking from those performers targetted. The language of PW is pretty much a mirror of some of the smack that Long has spread in the past in other venues. (For the record, Long has denied that he is the creator of Pornwikileaks, though he does defend its overall mission.) Opponents and victims of Long’s wrath have formed their own website, DonnyLongIsAConvictedFelon.com, to counter his claims and correct the reacod.
Why is that interesting?? Because it wasn’t the last time that AIM had their database hacked into and information released to the public.
Remember the case of Desi and Elli Foxx?? They were the mother/daughter performer/sex worker team which filed a public lawsuit against AIM claiming that the latter didn’t do enough to protect their private info from being released to a previous forum which predicated Pornwilileaks. (Their case was settled out of court.) It was only a coincidence that the group most aggressively pushing the lawsuit just so happened to be the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who aggessively favors the condom mandate and who would benefit the most from getting AIM out of the business of testing performers. Right…only a coincidence.
Another “coincidence” to ponder?? When gay/bi performer Cameron Reid (aka Derrick Burts) revealed himself to be “Patient Zeta”, the performer who tested positive for HIV in the scare last year, it was that very same Donny Long forum who, claiming to refute his charges that he contracted HIV on the set of a mainstream video, (allegedly) put out a YouTube video of Burts with fellow gay performer James Jameson, as proof positive that Burts contracted HIV directly from “those fags”. Jameson, for his part, flatly denies that, even going as far as stating that he is HIV-negative and has been his entire life. Interestingly enough, Burts/Reid found his way to the reach of AHF via some contracts, and now he is their biggest booster, as well as pushing the condom mandate while soundly criticizing AIM for not doing enough to help him during his time of need.
Once again, this may be pure coincidence, or it may be just a sign that Donny Long and Pornwikileaks might be in cahoots with AHF, Shelley Lubben, and certain other antiporn groups out to basically dissect the industry for its own ends..even if unwitting allies. I wouldn’t put it against the latter scenario..though it’s probably more the former.
The obvious issues arisen from this is whether or not AIM is a victim of a malicious racist hack bent on their destruction, or a serial bungler who doesn’t know how to handle sensitive information (as former porn director/agent Mike South has written in his analysis), or perhaps even a secret participant in the whole chirade to silence those like AHF who want to overthrow them and impose the condom mandate (as some commentators over at the LukeIsBack porn gossip blog have suggested).
But, while that question fleshes itself out, there is a much bigger issue of how those who perform in porn and sex work are seen by the world as large. Unfortunately, in some mainstream venues, the idea that porn stars and prostitutes and even women who gambol in sex for personal pleasure can be seen as fully normal and human seems to be a very foreign principle.
Which brings me to the “slut shaming” portion of this blog entry..and the single, cold-hearted brain cell that is Chris Malyszczyk of Cnet.com, who wrote what he considered to be an analysis of the whole PornWikileaks saga.
Apparently, Christopher isn’t a fan of porn, and that’s his right and his perogatime…but what he says about porn performers being outed against their permission speaks volumes about his disrespect and utter loathing for them….even while he probably jerks off watching them.
For some reason, I am reminded of Eric Schmidt’s dictum.
You know, the one that went something like: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
It comes to mind because someone whose motivations seem slightly troubling has taken it upon himself to be the Julian Assange of porn.
For there now exists a site called PornWikiLeaks, on which, as you might be able to imagine, certain intimate details of porn stars are displayed for all to see.
The site doesn’t display diplomatic messages from one porn star to another. Instead, it attempts to offer a comprehensive revelation of who these stars really are.
Riiight. Because we all know that women who do porn are really diseased sluts and nuts who fall to their knees at the first sight of hard cock, right Christopher?? So, we have every right to know every nook and cranny of what they do, who they do, where they do it, and what disease they catch while they do it. After all, we can’t have them damn fags and them “jigaboos” out there polluting normal people with AIDS and other diseases..’ya know, Verne???
And…it’s only “slightly troubling” but otherwise totally acceptable for a rogue agent like Donny Long to basically harrass, stalk, and potentially abuse women and men who perform in porn merely because he has a racist/sexist/homophobic fetish, and because he sucked so bad as an aspiring agent?? All because…well, they’re evil slutty porn girls?? How touching.
However, many of those who earn an often meager income from their carnal knowledge don’t really want their neighbors to know what they do to pay the rent. Moreover, some have left the industry in order to become elementary school teachers or accountants.
So one can only imagine that when PornWikiLeaks reveals not merely their real name, but also address, pictures of their family, and phone numbers, they might just be a little upset.
Oh dear…maybe becuse it’s non of those neighbor’s damn business what they do?? Or, because the stigma attached to being a porn performer or an erotic actress (unless your name happens to be Kim Kardasian or Paris Hilton or Carrie Prejean) is such that even outright repudiation of your past doesn’t prevent you from total embarrassment or even removal of your job and livelihood if your past becomes revealed?? Or, maybe, Chris believes PW to be an excellent way to score a quick and easy lay, since obviously these “sluts” are incapable of being human enough to say “No”??
And besides that, there is this assumption that most normal people are entitled to the right of privacy, of not having either the government or any business entity going into their panty drawers or bedrooms or personal information without their permission and approval But, we all know that sluts, like gays, illegals, inner city Black drug addicts, and other cancers of straight White American society, aren’t worthy of having normal people’s rights, don’t we?? We don’t want Big Government in our medicine cabinets or our uteri…but them other people?? No problem.
There is also a suggestion that it is the creator’s intention to reveal the STD status of every single porn star, although this hasn’t actually happened yet.
But where did PornWikiLeaks get this information? At least some of the leaked data may have come from a database at AIM Medical Associates, a company that routinely tests porn stars for STDs.
AIM told NBC Los Angeles that it is investigating. However, PornWikiLeaks has been going since December, so the investigation might simply be related to the sudden publicity the site is enjoying.
Still, AIM believes it has been violated just as much as the U.S. government. Its spokeswoman, Jennifer Miller, told the Beast: “I can’t stress enough, we’re victims of a crime. Just like the Pentagon and the FBI, we have been victimized and hacked. We are investigating and we will press all charges.”
Oh, but who asked them?? They’re just the enabalers of the diseased and vapid sluts who simply don’t want to be revealed to be doing their dirty deeds…and besides, who the hell are they to equate themselves to the awesome power of the Pentagon and FBI under assault by the original Wikileaks??
Now, it has been noted that PW has pilfered from a variety of sources to build their “database”, not only from AIM…even though it has been confirmed that much of the medical info and a large portion of the other personal info is straight from AIM’s database, which is indeed shared with porn studios as a means of screening out those who might by HIV+ or otherwise affected with STI’s. However, it is also a fact that by law AIM is forced to immediately turn in any information about someone testing positive for HIV to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Services…which just so happens to be one of the agencies most motiviated to oust AIM and impose their condom mandate, along with the AHF and the state offices of Cal-OSHA. Not to mention the aformentioned suit by Mimi and Desi Foxx against AIM for not protecting their medical records from being revealed; and a later suit filed by AHF and LACDPH calling for AIM to release to them records about performers possibly linked to the HIV porn scare of 2009. Maybe AIM does have serious issues with handling personal data…but that doesn’t excuse stealing their data and outing performers against their will.
It should also be noted that the 2257 laws imposed by the Federal government also require porn individuals and production companies to maintain detailed information about every performer for immediate release to government officials (the latter motivated by the myth of “underage children” getting into the industry following the Traci Lords debacle during the late 1980’s; reinforced by the latest scandal in Colombia concerning current superstar Lupe Fuentes). Given the ease to which such information can be accessed and even traded, maybe it would make it quite a bit easier for any hacker to get sensitive information and use it to his own profit against the performer’s interests??
But, again, that’s a concern for normal people who are assumed to be fully human, not porn girls, sex workers, or other dirty sluts. At least, not to Chris Malyszczyk.
The porn industry is undergoing considerable changes, especially with the huge proliferation of free online porn. Will the existence of PornWikiLeaks make some think twice about their chosen means of making money?
Or is the expectation now entirely reasonable that anything you do, anywhere, at any time could–at any moment–be revealed online for all the world to see, know, and, of course, judge?
In other words….does the Bill of Rights apply to everyone….or are porn performers exempeted merely because of their chosen profession??
In response to such claptrap, an actual sex worker who was outed by PornWikileaks named Maggie Mayhem was moved to post at her blog a thorough ass-kicking rebuke of Chris Malyszczyk and his slut shaming. The entire piece is worthy of a read, but I will give some snippage.
Let’s clear a couple of things up, hater. First and foremost this information was obtained from private medical records. It isn’t a coincidence that one of the major ways that we protect our health and the health of our partners was sabotaged. It’s a clear message: you are not allowed to have both a non-traditional sex life and good health at the same time. This was an act of terrorism. According to your words, hater, we should just sit back and accept this as proper order of the world. We should just accept that mainstream medical care excludes us and degrades us and that if we develop a community model of care that people will do everything they can to shut it down. I guess we should have thought about that when we tried to pay our rent, have a relationship, be part of a family, or go on living our lives like anyone else. We should have just known that someone would eventually think that they were saving California from “Mexicans and gays trying to get married,” by illegally accessing our medical records and posting them on the internet with our real names and an incitement for harassment against us.
Whether or not our industry is conventional has nothing to do with what happened. For example, I think that it is unethical to set up sweatshops in developing nations to exploit the local labor force. If I hacked into the HMO database for a major corporation with factories in developing nations and published the names and private information of thousands upon thousands of low level employees who worked for that corporation at any point in time on the internet alongside calls for harassment against them I would be immediately denounced as a deranged criminal who must be stopped immediately and that would be absolutely, 100% accurate. No one w0uld be debating whether or not those employees should be ashamed of working in retail. No one would suggest that the reason why they dropped their surname or opted for nickname on their employee badge was because they were trying to hide from their occupation. No one would speak as though they should have known that sooner or later someone would inevitably hack into their medical records and post their badge name next to their full legal name alongside libelous language and calls for harassment against them. We would solely focus on the actions of the deranged criminal and discuss ways that we can prevent that kind of illegal and dangerous behavior from happening again.
Like most haters, you’re getting defensive about the fact that people are calling you out for victim blaming. The opening and closing of an essay is prime real estate in a piece of a writing. It’s what people notice first and what they walk away with at the end. This essay contained 538 words. The opening and closing (103 words) constitute just under 1/5 (just about 20%) of the total essay length and both are dedicated to questioning whether or not porn performers should feel shame about what they do for a living rather than what actually happened or any form of compelling analysis. The reason that people are receiving this as victim blaming is because you opened your essay by saying, “For some reason, I am reminded of Eric Schmidt’s dictum. You know, the one that went something like: ‘If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.’” It communicates quite a bit about your priorities that you opened and closed your writing with a sentiment of judgement and shame.
Amen and a-women on that, Maggie.
Sad to say, many performers whom I follow and respect — and some I even worship — have found themselves on that list of outed performers. In fact, anyone whom has used AIM’s services — whether they be in porn or not — have probably had their privacy breached by this hacking, and they are suspect to being violated at any tiime. (Mike South has posted at his blog some means to which performers who think they ave been violaated can act to get their names removed, or to get PW shut down, and porn legal scholar Michael Fattarousi has also acted to bring legal means against Long to end the harrassment and stalking. Efforts by Long to intimidate and expose performers on Twitter have mostly failed in the wake of strong response by the performers themselves.) The resulting tragedy and its impact on AIM and on the current regime of HIV testing remains to be resolved; whether it turns out to be the concluding act in the AHF/CalOSHA/LACDHS takeover of porn testing and the condom mandate is still well up in the air.
However the results go, though, it still reinforces what to me has been one of my fundamental objectives that has driven my support for and respect of women who take the risks and enjoy the benefits of performing in adult explicit sexual entertainment: that they are treated as nothing less than full human beings, worthy of respect, free will, and accountability for their actions.
No woman — not even Shelley Lubben or Michelle Bachmann,– or no man — not even Glenn Beck or Rush Liimbaugh, however I may loathe their political and social views — deserves to be treated as any less than fully human. Maybe some day, we will apply that standard to porn/sexwork. Some day.
[See also Violet Blue's rundown of the whole controversy at her Tiny Nibbles blog here. and also FurryGirl (of Feminisnt) with her perspective on how to protect your privacy from the 2257 laws here. Danny Wylde of Trev West Coast Fiction also has a nice smackdown of Donny Long over at his blog as well.]
[Maymay over at Maybe Maimed, But Never Harmed has a marvelous post now up on why PornWikileaks simply can't wear Wikileaks' jock strap. Check it out here.]